7900 Forsyth Boulevard, B021
Main Office: 314-615-4272
Guidelines - Opening a Security Agency
If you are interested in hiring off-duty police officers for security at an event or business, please contact the Human Resource Division at 444-5615.
Basic Licensing Requirements
Watchman – A person employed without police powers and without authorization to carry weapons or protective devices. A watchman performs the tasks of observation and reporting on or in a designated area and may include patrolling a public street. A watchman has no powers of arrest, search or detention and must wear an approved uniform.
Courier – A person employed to carry out the assignment of protecting/transporting property from one designated area to another. A courier must wear an approved military style uniform. A courier has no powers of arrest, search or detention. If qualified, a courier may carry a firearm.
Security Officer – A person employed with certain police powers to protect life or property on or in designated premises. A security officer’s powers exist only within the established property owned or leased by the contracting employer and to incidents occurring on the premises. If qualified, a security officer may carry a firearm and certain protective devices.
Corporate Security Advisor - A person employed to provide all services rendered by a private security officer, as well as other specialized corporate security services related to the protection of his/her employer’s resources and personnel. A corporate security advisor has the same arrest powers as a private security officer while on his employer’s property, however those powers are not restricted to that property but shall be co-extensive with the geographic limits of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County while actively engaged in the employer’s business.
What must I bring with me when I come to the Private Security Section to apply for a license?
What type of background check is conducted when I apply for a license?
Must I carry a security identification card while working?
As a security officer, may I make an arrest?
Do all security officers wear a uniform?
How many licenses may one person hold?
How long is a license valid?
May I work on an expired license?
What are the requirements if I want to open my own contract security business?
1. The Board of Police Commissioners limits new agencies to persons who have served two (2) years in the security field, either as a private security officer or police officer, or in some other appropriate professional business or government field. Agency owner qualifications should be provided to the Private Security Section in the form of a letter. The letter should also indicate the intent to have uniformed or uniform exempt officers and armed or unarmed officers.
2. The firm should be registered with the Office of Secretary of State. Offices are located in the Wainwright Building in St. Louis. A copy of the papers issued by the Office of Secretary of State shall be made available for the files of the Private Security Section. These papers should include a listing of names of corporate officers to include their current mailing addresses. Each person listed as a corporate officer must submit to a fingerprint check conducted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
3. Persons seeking to operate a security agency who are unknown to members of the Private Security Section may be required to provide identification, to include names, pedigrees, social security numbers, proof of honorable military service, etc. Fingerprint checks will be conducted on all officers of the company listed on the Missouri Secretary of State registration form. A fingerprinting fee of $44.00 will be collected from each person requesting a fingerprint check. This fee may be paid in cash or by money order.
4. New agency operators shall have an indication from the owners of three (3) legitimate businesses, on the firms’ letterheads, that if granted a license to operate in the City of St. Louis, the respective firms will consider hiring the agency to provide security on their premises. Each company letterhead should include the address and telephone number of the respective business. Firms that presently are operational in other areas of the state, or in other states, to provide security service, shall provide a request on company letterhead to the Private Security Section before being granted a letter for presentation to the License Collector’s Office.
5. New agency operators, when applying for a license, shall present a color photo of the uniform to be used by the security agency and a company shoulder patch, subject to approval by the Private Security Section. A company shoulder patch will be mandatory on all shirts, coats and jackets worn by on-duty security personnel. Current rules prohibit the use of the word “POLICE” on patches or uniforms.
6. Those applying to operate a security agency will furnish their federal and state employer identification numbers to the Private Security Section.
7. Once this information has been compiled, it may be sent/delivered to the Private Security Section where it will be reviewed in a timely manner. After reviewing this material and after the fingerprint inquiries have been returned and reviewed, the Private Security Section will notify the owner/agent of the company of the outcome of the investigation and provide any additional instructions as necessary.
8. Individuals who meet these criteria will be provided a letter of introduction from the Private Security Section to the License Collector’s Office, Room 104, City Hall. This letter will authorize the company to obtain a St. Louis business license, which allows the firm to hire private security officers, couriers and private watchmen.
9. Once a business license has been issued by the License Collector’s Office, a copy of the license will be forwarded to the Private Security Section for its files and at that time the company will be placed on active status.
Private SecurityThe Private Security Section is responsible for the processing, training, and licensing of all applicants for security licenses in the City of St. Louis. With the exception of St. Louis Police Officers, all persons performing a security function in the City of St. Louis must be licensed to do so through the Private Security Section. This includes police officers from other jurisdictions who are working in the City of St. Louis.