Measure seeks to help hiring, retention of guards

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are trying to make it easier to hire and retain security guards.

“The companies need to get employees, whether it’s at Kukui Grove, the airport, or a small condo on Kauai, to protect the people in and around the building,” said Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, D-15.

In 2013, the state passed Act 208, which requires that anyone applying “to act in a guard capacity” in Hawaii has to complete a list of requirements before they are hired.

Acting in a guard capacity is defined as an employee who performs “safekeeping, observation and reporting functions” like retail security guards, parking lot and box office attendants, lifeguards and property managers.

Requirements lined out in Act 208 include attending a training course, completing a FBI background check and getting fingerprinted.

“Before anyone can talk to me, or for me to entertain anyone for joining my company, the person has to have a guard card,” said Charlie Iona, Kauai manager for Oahu-based Star Protection Agency, a company that hires and contracts security guards.

“They have to go through eight hours of training with a licensed instructor approved by state. From there, take fingerprints, which are taken online. Once that is done, they have to send forms to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. “

Applicants are required to turn in copies of their birth certificate, high school diploma and the guard training certificate, Iona said.

In sum, the entire process costs about $300, and applicants have to pay that out of pocket.

“There’s no guarantees they’re even going to get hired,” Iona said.

The price tag, coupled with the large amounts of red tape, are deterring people from continuing the application process, he said.

“The person who is looking for a job has to come up close to $300 just to get a license, yet they’re looking for a job,” Iona said. “I never get a call back from people after I tell people everything they need to get done and how much it costs.”

In an effort to make the process easier for both parties, the state Senate introduced SB 1264, which seeks to amend the process for registration, license renewal, instruction and training for security guards.

The measure was unanimously passed on March 7 and sent to the House of Representatives.

The House Committee on Intrastate Commerce passed SB 1264 on March 15, and it will be discussed by the House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee this week.

“It takes too long to hire people,” said Tokioka, who sits on the IAC committee. “We need to do something to streamline that portion to governance.”

The measure proposes giving newly hired guards 30 days after being hired to complete the fingerprinting and background check process.

However, the bill still requires the applicants to complete eight hours of classroom instruction before they are hired.

Iona said he supports the measure.

“It gives us reprieve to at least get a body in there,” he said.


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