California Homeland Security Efforts to Get Boost from Security Guards

Law Enforcement and Private Security (LEAPS) Conference LOS ANGELES -- A new tool in the war on terror has been unveiled by the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

Effective immediately, private security guards licensed by DCA will undergo four hours of terrorism awareness training as part of the 40 hours training required to receive their licenses.

"This training offers a great opportunity to add up to 400,000 sets of eyes and ears to assist California's 90,000 law enforcement officers in their efforts to prevent terrorist attacks," said DCA Director Charlene Zettel.

The training curriculum, entitled "Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism Awareness for Security Professionals," was unveiled Thursday during Director Zettel's appearance at the Law Enforcement and Private Security (LEAPS) Conference in Los Angeles.

The four-hour course is designed to teach security officers, through words and pictures, the rudiments of identifying and dealing with potential terrorist threats. It will be given to all new registered security guards in California as part of the State's increased training requirements for guards that went into effect last year. The federal Office of Homeland Security is expected to make the California training curriculum its model and to make it available throughout the country.

Funded through a $125,000 federal grant, the training manual and DVD are the result of a collaboration between DCA's Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS); the Governor's Office of Homeland Security; the Distance Learning Center of the University of California, Irvine; the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST); the California Military Department; representatives of private security and other businesses; and law enforcement agencies.

The Bureau's training material will be distributed to more than 2,000 California businesses, training facilities and colleges and could eventually reach as many as 400,000 private security guards.