Security officer training may soon become an online process under a bill passed Thursday in the Senate.
State law currently requires aspiring security officers — armed and unarmed — to undergo an in-person training course. The proposal (SB 1474), however, would shift unarmed training online.
Armed courses, meanwhile, may feature 21 hours at most of online instruction. The rest of the training would remain in-person, including the firearm portion.
Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley of Orange Park is the bill sponsor. The Senate passed the measure unanimously without questions or debate.
Proponents note the bill would modernize the state’s certification process. California and Georgia are among several states that permit online training for unarmed security officers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Brevard County Republican Rep. Randy Fine is the companion bill sponsor (HB 1233). In a February committee, he noted Florida allowed a digital alternative amid the height of the pandemic.
“It worked quite well,” Fine told committee members. “This would simply allow us to continue with what we saw work during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) oversees state licensing and compliance standards. It offers more than 22 types of licenses including security permits, concealed weapons licenses and private investigator certifications.
Under the measure, FDACS must ensure security schools maintain a physical location and verify an applicant completed the training. Security schools also must hold a minimum $1 million insurance policy.
“As of Dec. 31, 2021, the Division had issued a total of 169,758 private investigative, private security, and recovery services licenses and 2,459,530 concealed weapon permits, to qualified applicants,” a staff analysis noted.
The bill now awaits House consideration. If signed into law, the bill would take effect July 1.