Always Be Wary.
This is a cautionary tale. It isn't meant to amuse or make you laugh. If anything, I hope it helps you. If this post can save even one reader from a world of hurt, then the effort was worth it.
Part I: The Clubs
Prior to getting my current position with a local police department, I spent about 6 years doing private security for a lot of different companies, always on the hunt for bigger and better positions, chasing that elusive raise. It was during those pursuits for a better job that I had two close calls.
When I initially got into security, my first few gigs were all in the nightlife industry. There was a local company that did almost all the clubs and lounges in not just my city, but pretty much the entire region surrounding it. We'll call them "Club Security Inc."
I tried in vain to get in with this company, interviewing multiple times over the course of about six months for various positions. They never picked me up; they never told me why. In hindsight, I think it was because they sensed I was too "square" to fit in.
A couple years later, I left the nightlife industry and took an in-house graveyard position at a site across the street from one of the lounges that contracted with Club Security Inc.
Invariably, it became my routine every Friday and Saturday night to go outside to the corner and light up a cigarette (or two or six) with my partner and enjoy the chaos, watching the bouncers pummel their way through fights, hip tossing people into the street and smashing car windows.
And then one day… they got shut down. I can't say how I found out without compromising opsec, but not only did a majority of their personnel have zero security licensing required by my state, Club Security Inc. didn't even legally exist, let alone have any state licensing to provide training or security services.
Club Security Inc. was shut down and fined into bankruptcy, to the tune of $1,500 per guard per day the company operated with no licensing. The unlicensed guards all met various fates, everything from arrests for false imprisonment to ADW to similarly harsh fines for working security without a license.
Now mind you, this wasn't some fly-by-night security company. We're talking about a company with an established name in the local market, one of the "big fish," so to speak. It opened my eyes and made me much more cautious about job hunting.
Part II: The Guns
A couple years after Club Security Inc. was shut down, I met Ronald Jackson.
Jackson seemed squared away, working an armed security post down the block near a restaurant I'd pick up chow from sometimes. Each time I'd run into him, he'd greet me jovially and we'd chop it up, trading stories over cigarettes.
One day, Jackson hands me his business card and tells me that the post he's working is contracted to his own security company– he worked the post for himself basically.
Jackson explains that he needs squared-away guys like myself and offers me (at the time) a dream gig, the kind we all lust after. Great money, great hours, fully armed, the whole nine.
I was reasonably cautious.
A quick search on google revealed that Jackson's company was unlicensed (and therefore also uninsured). I called up the state security licensing bureau and learned that Jackson, whom I saw each time with a Glock on his hip, had no security licensing himself, let alone a firearms permit.
I never saw Jackson again after that day, but rumors among the guys were that he got picked up by the Sheriff's Department on outstanding warrants.
As you settle into the new year and continue to better yourselves, I hope you take the time to research any company you wish to work for. Do your homework, take your time.
You probably hear people hoping you'll stay safe, and I'm no exception. However, it's important to know what dangers are out there in order to do so. Sometimes, they're right next to you wearing a suit or a uniform.