House approves greater security guard and private detective regulations
SAN JUAN – With barely five abstentions and 46 votes in favor, the House of Representatives approved Monday several amendments to the law regulating private detectives and security guards in Puerto Rico to extend their license renewal period and require more transparency to the license expedition process.
According to its exposition of motives, House Bill 258 (H.B. 258), presented to the entity’s Public Safety Commission by New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló, also aims to ensure greater protection for the public.
“During the runs one does as a representative, I have encountered people’s complaints related to the security industry, who have several concerns; among them, having to pay an annual quota. Not for the price, but for how tedious and complex the process is, which must be repeated annually in order to have their licenses up-to-date. They have even said they don’t care if the quota is increased, as long as the renewal process is done every two to three years,” Rodríguez Aguiló saide.
The bill proposes a quota increase to pay or renew a security agent license request from $10 to $20, while renewing a private detective license would increase from $25 to $50.
In addition, the bill states that, although renewal would take place every two years, all private detectives and security officers will have to present a Police Department-issued certificate of good conduct annually to maintain constant supervision over these professionals. Rodríguez Aguiló also proposed to create a database or registry to keep tabs on every individual working as a security officer or private detective.
“The public registry would inform employers or people who want to hire those services if the security guard or the detective has had problems with their license or if they have a criminal record. Sometimes we forget that these companies intervene with citizens, we need to strengthen their training as to civil rights,” he added while suggesting that continued education courses could be taught in the Puerto Rico Police Academy, which would be beneficial for all members of the public security agency.
“Another important thing that surfaced during this bill’s discussion is that there are several companies in Puerto Rico, not all, who found it quite easy to have a private company. That is, four to five people gather and they can create one and be wild around the entire island, often breaking the law. These companies give their employees contracts that aren’t career contracts, without the need to pay for sick leave, vacations and other fringe benefits. With this bill we are forcing all companies to be registered and comply with the law, not to be unsupervised, as is happening in many cases,” he added.
The representative assured the bill won’t have any fiscal impact on the government and instead would generate more revenue from the quota increase and training for continued education.