2020 Georgia Code
Title 43 - Professions and Businesses
Chapter 38 - Operators of Private Detective Businesses and Private Security Businesses
§ 43-38-7. Licensing of Armed Employees; Qualifications; Continuing Education; Fingerprints; License Card; Suspension

Universal Citation: GA Code § 43-38-7 (2020)
  1. Any employer may employ as many agents, guards, watchmen, or patrolmen as he or she deems necessary for the conduct of his or her business, provided that such employees meet the requirements and qualifications for licensure under this chapter.
    1. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, within 180 days of completing board mandated prelicensure training, potential licensees shall make application to be licensed with the board.
    2. Any guard, watchman, or patrolman who will be unarmed and who will be employed in the private security business shall not be required to be licensed by the board but shall be governed by Code Section 43-38-7.1.
    1. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of this Code section, upon being satisfied of the applicant's character, competency, and eligibility for licensure, the board may license such applicant if he or she:
      1. Is at least 18 years of age;
      2. Is a citizen of the United States or a registered resident alien;
      3. Is of good moral character;
      4. Has not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving the illegal use, carrying, or possession of a dangerous weapon or any crime involving moral turpitude; provided, however, that, if the applicant has been convicted of such crime, or has entered a plea of nolo contendere to such crime, or has entered a plea pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or otherwise been granted first offender treatment, the board may inquire into the nature of the crime, the date of conviction or plea, and other underlying facts and circumstances surrounding such criminal proceedings and, in its discretion, may allow the applicant to be licensed;
      5. Has not committed an act constituting dishonesty or fraud; and
      6. Meets such other qualifications as the board may prescribe by rule.
    2. The board shall be authorized to require continuing education as a condition of renewal for all persons required to be licensed or registered with the board under this chapter. The board shall be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations addressing the requirement for continuing education and circumstances for which a waiver of this requirement may be granted.
  2. The license application shall be made under oath and on a form to be furnished by the division director. The application shall state the applicant's full name, age, and date and place of birth; residences and employment within the past five years; experience in the position applied for or held; the date and place of conviction or arrest for any crime, including the entry of a plea of nolo contendere or the entry of a plea entered pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or other first offender treatment; and such other information as the board may require. The license application shall be accompanied by two sets of fingerprints of the applicant and one photograph of the applicant, two inches wide by three inches high, full face, and taken within six months prior to the application. The board shall have discretion to deny a license to any individual when the information and supporting documentation required by this subsection are not provided.
  3. Upon granting a license pursuant to this Code section, the board shall so notify the licensee. An employer shall notify the board within 30 days of the hiring or termination of employment of any employee licensed under this Code section.
  4. Upon receipt of a license card issued by the board pursuant to this chapter, the licensee shall maintain said card on his person at all times while on his post or at his place of employment and at all times when the licensee wears a uniform in the course of his employment in the private detective or private security business.
  5. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Code section, any person who is to be licensed under this Code section shall agree that if such person makes a false statement in the application or if such person is found to have been convicted of a felony and has not had all his or her civil rights restored pursuant to law, then the board shall be authorized to suspend any license granted to such person without a prior hearing as required in Code Section 43-38-11. Upon request, any such person shall be entitled to a hearing on such matter subsequent to the suspension.

(Ga. L. 1973, p. 40, § 8; Ga. L. 1981, p. 1828, § 6; Ga. L. 1987, p. 1400, § 6; Ga. L. 1988, p. 13, § 43; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1161, § 4; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1706, § 19; Ga. L. 2005, p. 787, § 1/HB 17; Ga. L. 2008, p. 324, § 43/SB 455; Ga. L. 2010, p. 266, § 40/SB 195; Ga. L. 2010, p. 391, § 2/SB 162; Ga. L. 2011, p. 752, § 43/HB 142.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2005, former subsection (c) was redesignated as present paragraph (c)(1), former paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(6) was redesignated as present subparagraphs (c)(1)(A) through (c)(1)(F), and former paragraph (c)(7) was redesignated as present paragraph (c)(2); and, in subparagraph (c)(1)(F), a period was substituted for "; and" at the end.

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2010, "he" was substituted for "her" near the end of the introductory language in paragraph (c)(1).


Under state law, a labor union may legally be licensed by the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies to conduct a detective business, to conduct a private security business, or to perform security work on the union's own premises, provided that the union meets statutory requirements for licensure. 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 76-125.

Psychological stress evaluators in business of evaluating character must register as detectives.

- Psychological stress evaluators who are engaged in the business of furnishing information with respect to a person's honesty, integrity, credibility, knowledge, and trustworthiness are engaged in the "private detective business" and must be registered or licensed by the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Private Security Agencies. 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 76-36.

Full-time peace officers charged with making arrests are exempt from requirements.

- Exemption from provisions of this chapter given to certain peace officers extends only to those persons charged by law with duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for violations of the law, and who devote, on a regular basis, their full time to performance of such duties. 1974 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 74-148.

Security guards employed by Atlanta Housing Authority are not subject to provisions of this chapter because employees of the Atlanta Housing Authority are employees of a political subdivision of this state. 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 76-113.

Company employing only in-house investigative personnel need not obtain license.

- When a company employs only in-house investigative personnel, and consequently does not fall within the definition of a private detective business, the company is not required to obtain a license. 1979 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 79-21.

In-house investigators need not register.

- In-house investigative personnel conducting investigations off the employer's premises are not required to be registered by the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies. This exemption from registration applies only to those in-house investigators who are employed exclusively and regularly by only one employer; their investigations are in connection with the employer's affairs, and the employer is not in the private detective business. 1979 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 79-21.

Board may register before receiving fingerprint report from agencies.

- While fingerprints of applicants for licensure and registration must be forwarded to certain state and federal agencies, the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies may, in the Board's discretion, issue such licenses and registrations prior to receiving responses from these agencies. 1975 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 75-100.

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