Los Santos Police Department

Firearms Licensing Division

Guard Card Manual


  1. Section I - The Roles and Responsibilities
    1. Security Guards and Peace Officers
    2. Security Guard's Roles and Responsibilities
    3. Security Guard's Duty Performance
  2. Section II: Relations with Local Peace Officers or Law Enforcement
    1. Impersonating Peace Officers
    2. Emergencies
  3. Section III: Observation and Report Writing
    1. Observation
    2. Facts and Conclusions
  4. Section IV: Authority to Question and Basis for Making Decisions
    1. Authority to Question and Interfere
    2. Property Owner's Rights
    3. Basis for Making Decisions
  5. Section V: Inspections
    1. Inspections
  6. Section VI: Legal Responsibilities and Liabilities
    1. Liabilities
    2. Criminal Liabilities
    3. Civil Liabilities
  7. Section VII: Infractions, Misdemeanors and Felonies
    1. Crime Categories
    2. Infractions
    3. Misdemeanors
    4. Felonies
  8. Section VIII: Making an Arrest
    1. Arrest Powers
    2. Arrest Process and Force
    3. Detainment and Arrest
    4. Search
    5. Post-Arrest Process
  9. Section IX: Professional Conduct of a Security Guard
    1. Professional Conduct
  10. Section X: Usage of Firearm
    1. Security Guard's Responsibility
    2. Requirements for Usage of Firearms

Section I - The Roles and Responsibilities

1.1 Security Guards and Peace Officers
A security guard is not a peace officer, as they do not have the same duties, training, or powers as a peace officer. A security guard who pretends or implies that they are a peace officer violates the San Andreas Penal Code, Title I; PC 115. A person who is found guilty of impersonating a peace officer will be punished by the aforementioned misdemeanor crime, and face revocation of status.

1.2 Security Guard's Roles and Responsibilities
A security guard's role is to protect people and property for their employer. A security guard's responsibility before an incident or offense takes place should be prevention. A security guard's responsibility during or after an incident or offense has occurred should be to observe and report.

1.3 Security Guard's Duty Performance
The major responsibility of a security guard should be prevention before an incident or offense occurs. Thus, a security guard should be highly visible. By being seen, the security guard may discourage anyone who considers theft, damage, personal injury, or any other crime. A security guard's job focus should be prevention. To that end, a security guard must:
  • Be alert
  • Listen
  • Watch
The decision on how the security guard should react to any given situation is at the discretion of the security guard's employer, as long as it complies with the law. If an incident or offense occurs, a security guard should not immediately intervene. Instead, the security guard should:
  • Stay calm
  • Observe and remember events
  • Report to the police/or the security guard's supervisor (follow the employer policy).

Section II: Relations with Local Peace Officers or Law Enforcement

2.1 Impersonating Peace Officers
A security guard must not impersonate peace officers or attempt to act as one at any time. This can range from explicitly stating that they are a peace officer, or simply implying that they are one. Impersonating a peace officer can cause local law enforcement to take action and will more than likely damage the security guard's employer relations with local law enforcement.

A security guard must make every effort to avoid being falsely recognized as a peace officer. Due to the security guard's uniform, badge, hat, or any other similar gear, members of the public may believe that they are a peace officer. The security guard must not encourage this false idea. When suitable, the security guard should attempt to inform the public that they are not a peace officer, but a security guard.

2.2 Emergencies
During an emergency, a security guard may not interfere with peace officers who may be on the scene. Regardless of whether they are on the private property of the security guard's employer or client. The security guard must cooperate, to the fullest extent possible, with peace officers.

Section III: Observation and Report Writing

3.1 Observation
In a sense, security guards are paid observers. The security guard's role should be prevention. When an offense has been committed, the security guard's responsibility is to observe and report. The principle is: Stop! Look! Listen!

The security guard may be required to:
  • Report to the police
  • Write a report for their employer
  • Testify as to what they saw, heard, and did

3.2 Facts and Conclusions
A security guard must be able to recognize the difference between a fact and a conclusion. A fact is what actually happened, or is known to be true. A conclusion is a judgment or opinion formed as a result of the facts. Peace officers and employees are only concerned with the facts. With proper facts, they are able to make their own conclusions. An example of a fact would be: "As I came around the corner, I saw two men kneeling at the door. One was holding a crowbar. The door had markings around the lock". A conclusion based on that fact would be: "The men are burglars".

When a security guard writes a report or makes a statement to a peace officer, they must include the following six facts:
  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • How
  • Names of witnesses

Section IV: Authority to Question and Basis for Making Decisions

4.1 Authority to Question and Interfere
A security guard is an employee of the owner of the private property and, in this role, can exercise the owner's right to ask people on the owner's property questions such as, why they are present on the property, who they are, and such. If they refuse to answer the questions or if their answers are not satisfactory, the security guard may ask them to leave. If they do not leave, the security guard should alert local law enforcement without unreasonable delay.

A security guard's authority to question people on private property, however, is no greater than that of any private person's. The only difference is that if the person refuses to answer questions, the security guard may ask them to leave the property under the owner's right.

A security guard may physically prevent a person from entering an area within their employer's private property if requested to do by the owner of the property but must only utilize physical contact as a last resort.

4.2 Property Owner's Rights
The owner of the property has the right to establish certain rules on their property that may not be a part of the Penal Code. For instance, if an employee reports to work whilst drunk, they may be violating an employer's rule. The employer may fire the employee or demote them. The way such situation is handled is between the employer and the employee, and does not relate to the penal code nor does it require police interference.

4.3 Basis for Making Decisions
The nature of security work requires security personnel to be constantly aware of their surroundings, the law, and the mission of private security. Three factors must be taken into consideration when a security guard is making a timely and reasonable decision:
  • Facts:
    • Consider the facts involved in the incident. The facts of any incident can be learned by answering the following questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? and possibly Why?
  • Law:
    • Consider the laws that may apply to the incident. Were any laws violated?
  • Policy:
    • Consider any policy that may apply to the incident. What is the policy of the employer regarding this incident?

Section V: Inspections

5.1 Inspections
The employer of a security guard may request their assistance in conducting inspections of employees. The employer is required to notify the employees of the inspection beforehand, and the security guard should make every effort to ensure that was done.

Such inspections are often conducted at the end of the workday by looking into employees' cars, lunch pails, purses, or tote bags to ensure that unauthorized items are not being taken off the premises. An inspection is always conducted with the employees' cooperation. For example, when a security guard decides to look inside a lunch pail, purse, or tote bag, they must ask the employee to open it for them to look inside. If the security guard cannot see the contents, they may ask the employee to remove any items that are obstructing their visual. If an employee attempts to hand the item to the security guard, the security guard must politely refuse.

The security guard must not, at any point, touch or handle the employee's property as this permits the employee to accuse the security guard of theft, planting evidence, or such. If an employee refuses to cooperate with an inspection, the security guard should obtain their details and file a report to the employer. No further actions should be taken by the security guard.

Section VI: Legal Responsibilities and Liabilities

6.1 Liabilities
Actions based on poor judgment can lead to legal problems for the security guard and their employer. The security guard must, by law, avoid certain actions. Legal responsibilities and liabilities that affect security guards are presented in this section.

6.2 Criminal Liabilities
Crimes are detailed within the San Andreas Penal Code. Any person who violates these laws is subject to a range of penalties, ranging from fines to prison sentences. The potential for punishment as a result of violating these laws is known as criminal liability. Acts that can possibly make security guards criminally liable include, but are not limited to:
  • Intimidation
    • Threatening physical harm or frightening a person when they do not cooperate or confess to a crime.
  • Excessive Physical Force
    • Where an arrest is made, the law only allows the use of physical force that is reasonable or necessary to restrain the suspect if they are resisting. When more force is used than what is allowed by law, the arresting party may be criminally and civilly liable for excessive force. An example of excessive force would be shooting a suspect in order to protect personal property. By law, lethal force may only be used to protect lives.
  • Use of Unauthorized Weapons
    • Security guards may carry an exposed handgun in their holster, along with a baton. Any other weapons, such as knives, shotguns or brass knuckles cannot be carried by security guards. Security guards may carry a concealed firearm whilst operating as a security guard so long as they have a Conceal Carry a Weapon License (CCW).

6.3 Civil Liabilities
The responsibility for the actions a person makes or fails to make, with the possibility of being sued by another is called Civil Liability. The legal term "party" refers to a person, company, or organization. When one party believes that they were injured, damaged, or wronged by another party, they may make a lawful claim for damages. The claim, termed "lawsuit", is presented to a civil court where both parties may explain their views to a judge or jury. After a trial, the judge or jury will decide if the plaintiff was wronged by the defendant, and if so, what type of compensation the defendant must provide to the plaintiff.

Since a security guard is a representative of their employer, a lawsuit can be filed against an employer based on the actions of their employee.

Section VII: Infractions, Misdemeanors and Felonies

7.1 Crime Categories
A security guard must understand that crimes in the State of San Andreas fall under three categories. Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. These crime categories are explained in this section. All the crimes within the State of San Andreas can be viewed here.

7.2 Infractions
Infractions are minor offenses of the penal code that only warrant a fine to be issued against the violator. The fine is usually issued on the scene of the infraction, similar to a traffic stop.

7.3 Misdemeanors
Misdemeanors are offenses of the penal code that usually warrant a fine or a sentence in the county jail.

7.4 Felonies
Felonies are offenses of the penal code that warrant a prison sentence and possibly a fine.

Section VIII: Making an Arrest

8.1 Arrest Powers
Although the main responsibilities of a security guard include the prevention of problems and observation of details after an offense, there may be rare occasions when a security guard considers it necessary to perform an arrest. A security guard's legal powers to arrest are no greater than those of any other private citizen. An arrest made by such a private party is known as a "citizen's arrest". Private persons and security guards are not legally required to perform a citizen's arrest. In order to arrest a person, the security guard must determine whether the offense the person is committing is a felony or a misdemeanor. A private person may only arrest another person for felony charges.

In order to perform an arrest for a felony:
  • The crime must have been attempted or committed in the security guard's presence,
  • The security guard effects the arrest out of fear for their own safety or the safety of their close friends or relatives.

8.2 Arrest Process and Force
If a security guard becomes involved in a situation where a citizen arrest is required, they should inform the person that they are under citizen's arrest and what the charges for said arrest are, and the security guard's authority to make the citizen's arrest. Once the security guard says, for example, "You are under arrest for [felony charge]" the person may or may not cooperate. If the person resists and tries to escape, the security guard must then decide whether or not to use reasonable force. The security guard may ask as many persons as they believe necessary to help them in making the arrest.

If a suspect resists arrest, the security guard is allowed to use reasonable force to subdue the suspect. Reasonable force is that degree of force that is not excessive and is appropriate in protecting oneself or one's property. If the suspect submits willingly, no force is necessary. If a suspect resists arrest, the only force allowed is that which is reasonable and necessary to overcome the resistance.

A security guard must not use excessive force when performing an arrest. Examples of excessive force include beating an unarmed suspect unconscious when they are only attempting to leave the scene. Security guards may utilize handcuffs on suspects who have resisted or on suspects they believe may be trying to resist or escape.

8.3 Detainment and Arrest
A person who voluntarily responds to questioning and is not restrained (meaning that they are free to go at any time) is not detained. A person may be detained by the police for further questioning in an investigation, and that person is not necessarily under arrest. The police have the authority to detain a person against their will and still not arrest that person. Security guards do not have the authority to detain a person against their will.

It should be clear to the suspect that they are under arrest after the security guard informed them of their intention, cause and authority to arrest them.

8.4 Search
A security guard is not allowed to search a person in order to find evidence for making a citizen's arrest. If the security guard has reasonable cause to believe they are in physical danger by detaining the suspect, they may search the suspect for weapons. The security guard may only search for weapons by performing a frisk.

A frisk is an only quick check to assess if a suspect has a concealed weapon. This should occur after the suspect is arrested. To frisk a suspect, a security guard should follow these steps:
  • Stand behind the suspect
  • Run their hands over the outside of their clothing
  • Pat those areas where a weapon might be concealed
  • Remove any item that feels similar to a weapon
  • The security guard must not remove any items that do not feel like a weapon.

8.5 Post-Arrest Process
Following a citizen's arrest, the security guard must immediately turn the suspect over to law enforcement without delay. If the security guard delays in informing the police, they may be criminally or civilly liable, regardless of the reason behind the delay. When peace officers arrive on a scene, they will evaluate the elements of the crime, detention, and arrest. They will then make the determination as to whether they will take custody of the suspect from the security guard, based on whether or not the citizen's arrest was lawful.

Section IX: Professional Conduct of a Security Guard

9.1 Professional Conduct
The ability of the security guard to fulfill their duties is dependent upon securing and maintaining public respect and approval, which includes obtaining the public's willingness to cooperate in the task of preventing crime. The extent to which the community's respect and trust can be secured is diminished when a security guard acts in an unprofessional or unlawful manner. The personal conduct of a security guard is always observed closely. The security guard must be constantly mindful of their obligations to serve their employer efficiently and effectively. The degree to which the community will cooperate with a security guard is dependent upon its respect for, and confidence in them.

Section X: Usage of Firearm

10.1 Security Guard's Responsibility
A firearm is a deadly weapon and a security guard may use a firearm while on duty only for defensive purposes. This means a security guard may use a firearm only if there is an imminent threat to the security guard's life or to another person's life. This is the condition and responsibility a security guard accepts if they carry and use a firearm on duty.

A guard may be held responsible, criminally prosecuted and sentenced to prison for using a firearm on duty if there was not a clear and immediate threat to the guard's life or to another person's life.

10.2 Requirements for Usage of Firearms
A firearm may be used only when:
  • There is a clear and present danger to life.
  • Other defensive methods are inappropriate or have failed.
A firearm must never be used:
  • To apprehend a fleeing suspect.
  • To demonstrate authority.
  • To psychologically "impress" others.
  • As an aggressive or offensive weapon.
A security guard must not:
  • Handle a firearm recklessly.
  • Draw a firearm to frighten a person.
  • Fire a warning shot.
  • Fire at suspicious objects (such as movement in a brush or in the direction of a strange noise).
  • Fail to thoroughly examine the physical condition of all firearm parts, including ammunition.
A firearm may be used only if there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to the guard or to another person and there is no other option available to avoid or neutralize the danger.

Section XI: Usage of the Baton

11.1 Security Guard's Responsibility
The baton is considered a less-than-lethal tool and should only be used as such. It should be used in cases of physical altercation or self protection where other lower methods of use of force have failed and a quick reaction is necessary and the use of a firearm would be deemed unlawful and unnecessary.

A guard may be held responsible and criminally prosecuted for striking or severely injuring a person with the baton on duty if there is no reasonable reason for it to be used.

11.2 Requirements for Baton usage
The baton may be used only when:
  • Physical intervention is necessary to control a situation.
  • Other defensive methods are inappropriate or have failed.
The baton must never be used:
  • To strike a fleeing suspect.
  • To demonstrate authority.
  • To psychologically "impress" others.
A security guard must not:
  • Use the baton recklessly.
  • Pull the baton to threaten someone.
  • Use the baton to damage property.

11.3 Baton striking area chart
Below you can see a chart for the baton usage:

If the baton is used, guards should focus on the Green areas as depicted in the picture above in order to restrain an aggressive individual.

The Yellow marked areas are ONLY to be used in cases where the other striked areas failed in order to restrain an individual, but should be avoided if possible.

Areas marked Red should be avoided. They can ONLY be used if a guard is in imminent danger of death or serous bodily injury where the possibility of drawing a firearm is not viable to stop the threat.