Police look to restrict security officer uniforms, badges and cars www.privateofficer.com
Security guards who want to work in Hemet are going to have to avoid looking like cops in their dress and vehicles under an ordinance approved last week.
Police Chief Richard Dana asked for an update of the city’s 1984 law covering private security companies after his department experienced problems resulting from confusion over whether an officer was a cop or a security guard.
“We have received complaints from citizens about the actions of police officers which, in fact, turned out to be employees of private security companies that were mistakenly identified as law enforcement,” Dana said in a staff report presented to the City Council.
“We have several companies working in the Valley that look a lot like our officers,” Dana told the council.
“The existing ordinance was written in 1984. By updating the ordinance the citizens would have the ability to easily distinguish the difference between a sworn police officer and private patrol employee,” Dana said in his staff report.
Not only do the security guard uniforms look like police uniforms, but motorcycle security guard helmets look like police helmets, the motorcycles look a lot like police motorcycles, and cars look like police cars, he said.
In the ordinance revision prepared by City Attorney Eric Vail, the city will now require that security guard uniforms and vehicles look nothing like police.
“The color and design of uniforms, insignia, shields, and badges of each private patrolman shall be clearly distinguishable from the uniforms, insignia, shields, and badges of officers,” according to the revised law.
And the differences must distinguish them not only from local officers, but from employees of federal and state law officers as well.
Under the new regulations, the police chief must approve the insignia used on uniforms and vehicles and all markings must include the word “private” in capital letters not less than 4 inches high.
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