Understanding the Legal Aspects of Hiring Security Services in Chicago

Security Services
March 27, 2024 ( PR Submission Site )

If you own or operate a business, hospital, office building, or other facility in Chicago and are considering hiring a security company to provide security services, it’s important to understand the relevant laws and regulations. Knowing the legal requirements, contracting terms, liability issues, and licenses for private security services in Chicago can prevent issues down the road.

Licensing Requirements

To legally operate in the city, any security company must hold both state and city licenses. This includes meeting the requirements laid out by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and undergoing review by the Chicago Private Security Contractor license board.

Individual security guards must obtain a guard card as well, which involves passing a criminal background check and training requirements on security laws, emergency response, access control, ethics, safety, and written and verbal communication. Ensure any security company you contract with complies with the necessary licensing.

Allowed Security Activities

While licensed security providers in Chicago can offer services like access control, crowd management, intrusion detection, workplace violence de-escalation, and patrolling for burglaries, there are legal limitations around making arrests and using force.

Unlike police officers, security guards in Illinois have “citizen’s arrest” powers only when they directly witness a felony crime take place. And they can legally only use reasonable force for self-defense or defending others from bodily harm. If a security company unlawfully detains someone without witnessing a crime or uses excessive force, you as the client can also be held responsible through negligence and “vicarious liability” laws.

Contract Terms

When contracting with a Chicago security services provider, important details around duties, uniforms, surveillance usage, means of force, insurance coverage, and more should all be spelled out in the written agreement. These specifications impact the legality of the security company’s activities.

Consult an attorney when drafting a contract to ensure relevant regulations are covered properly. Ambiguous or missing terms can negatively impact liability. For example, if you want guards armed with firearms, this typically requires stipulating firearm usage policies and increased insurance minimums. Clearly define expectations in the contract.

Insurance Requirements

Private security companies are required by Illinois law to hold a minimum level of general liability insurance coverage, but this may not be adequate for higher-risk sites. As the client, you should verify that the policy meets your needs and covers important areas like personal injury, property damage, theft, negligent hiring, contractual liability, and errors and omissions. Based on risk levels, you may want to mandate increased policy minimums or additional insured status. Ensure the certificate of insurance outlines sufficient coverage.

Legal Obligations

Beyond contractual obligations spelled out in the services agreement, private security firms and their clients have certain legal obligations under state laws and regulations. This includes upholding civil rights, such as detained individuals’ reasonable expectation of privacy. Recording on certain private premises may require consent. Unlawful discrimination, searches, or use of force can violate a person’s rights. Ensure your security provider trains its guards in appropriate legal practices. Clients can be named in lawsuits over rights violations by contracted security staff.

Ongoing Communication

While the contract agreement should outline post orders, uniforms, duties, reports, and other expectations, clear ongoing communication further reduces liability risks. Check-in routinely with your security provider to give site updates, request post changes, ask for incident reports, monitor equipment, and reinforce training on relevant regulations. Document instruction and feedback. This due diligence helps mitigate negligence claims.

By understanding the legal considerations around hiring and working with security services in Chicago, you can better vet providers, ensure compliance, outline duties, limit liability risks, and protect your interests. Consult legal counsel when needed to navigate contracts, insurance, licenses, use of force policies, detentions, discrimination laws, recordings, privacy rights, negligence claims, and training. Taking these steps allows you to secure your facility while also securing your legal standing. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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