Implementation of the Security Guard Act (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
September 29, 2023
State, Department of


To assess the extent of implementation of the four recommendations included in our initial audit report, Implementation of the Security Guard Act (2019-S-42).

About the Program

The Department of State (Department), through its Division of Licensing Services (Division), oversees the licensure, registration, and regulation of 36 occupations throughout New York State. The Division licenses more than 800,000 individuals and businesses and uses its licensing and business filing capacities to promote business growth while protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers.

Article 7-A of the General Business Law, also known as the Security Guard Act (Act), requires that individuals working as security guards have a valid registration card, and entrusts the Department with issuing registration cards for all security guard applicants who meet the requirements and are able to perform security guard functions. The Act also requires guards to complete pre-assignment and annual training and renew their registration every 2 years. Further, the Act requires the Department to collect information and maintain a computerized registry of all registered security guards and registration card applicants in New York State.

Between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022, the Division received a total of 189,978 security guard applications. The Division approved 87% of all applications (165,910), including 67,308 original applications and 98,602 renewal applications. According to the Division, there were a total of 172,831 registered security guards as of December 31, 2022.

The objective of our initial audit, issued in July 2021, was to determine whether the Department was adequately monitoring and enforcing the requirements for security guards under the Act. The audit identified areas for improvement. The audit found 26 security guards classified as police/peace officers did not fulfill their training requirements, including 20 armed guards who did not complete the required firearms training. Additionally, the Department lacked specific written policies and procedures for reviewing and processing arrest notifications and notifying the Division of Criminal Justice Services of inactive guards, which resulted in 14 arrest notifications where security guards were no longer active. Lastly, 24 renewal applications had not been received within the defined timeline (6 months from date of expiration) and were inappropriately approved.

Key Finding

The Department made significant progress in addressing the problems identified in our initial audit report. Of the initial report’s four audit recommendations, three were fully implemented and one was partially implemented.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up to provide information on any actions that are planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this report.

Nadine Morrell

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director
: Nadine Morrell
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236