FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE
PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY
This FAQ page is designed to provide general information about our company, the services we offer and to answer common questions that we encounter about the security industry in Canada. The information contained on our FAQ page is accurate to the best of our knowledge, however; it is not intended as legal advice (we are not lawyers). Please seek legal council, or contact the provincial regulator or local law enforcement agency in your area for legal guidance or further information.
Our answers are designed to be honest and factual and are in no way intended to offend, however; we will likely upset some businesses and guards who wish to mislead the public or who falsely misrepresent their qualifications and/or authority. We encourage all citizens and businesses to do their own research.
THE MOST COMMON QUESTION:
Q: What should I look for when I hire a security or private investigation agency?
A: The most important thing to look for when you consider hiring a security or investigation firm is the qualifications of the owners, managers and employees. If you are seeking to have a security expert protect you or your business, it is important that the people you hire are fully qualified. Do your research, meet the company's managers/owners in person and make sure to verify their expertise. Spec Ops Security is the ONLY security and investigation agency in Alberta that is owned, managed and staffed by experienced (specialized) Canadian law enforcement officers. Experience matters!
SECURITY AND PI WEBSITES:
If you are paying attention, it is not very difficult to spot an unprofessional security or pi company simply by taking a close look at their website. FAKE GOOGLE REVIEWS or reviews from friends, employees or security course students are often a red flag. Many unlicensed and unprofessional agencies will falsify their qualifications and publish websites that are very basic or pre-made template sites. STOCK IMAGES are commonly used by unprofessional agencies, as are images that have been PHOTOSHOPPED. Lastly, it is our recommendation that you take the time to read the company's ABOUT PAGES when considering a security or investigations agency. If the information seems very generic and does not offer you any insight into the specific expertise of the management, employees or the company as a whole, we recommend that you look for a reputable business that offers you full transparency. At Spec Ops Security, we understand that it is often difficult to entrust an outside agency to protect your business, property, staff and assets, so we work closely with you to ensure that you receive all of the information required for you to make an informed decision. We value our clients and work hard to establish long-term business relationships.
Q: Do I need a license to work as a security guard, loss prevention officer, body guard or private investigator?
A: YES. A valid security and/or private investigator license is required in order to lawfully commence work.
Licenses are the sole responsibility of the applicant/worker to obtain and maintain in good standing.
Q: I am wanting to apply for a job with your company but there is no employment page. How do I apply?
A: Due to the large number of employment inquiries that we receive, we post all vacancies on Indeed. We do not accept unsolicited employment enquires via phone, email or walk-ins.
Q: I saw a job posting for your company online, but it stated that I have to have Canadian Citizenship to meet the minimum requirements. Why do I require Canadian citizenship to work for Spec Ops?
A: Due to the nature of our work and our (management/staff) law enforcement and military backgrounds, we often work for UHNW individuals, dignitaries, or for clients/projects where we require a high level of security clearance. In order to obtain a security or investigator license, the police records check that is conducted does not include police or intelligence record searches from outside of Canada (or the USA). Additionally, we seek to hire individuals who are seeking long-term employment (careers), whereas non-citizens are only permitted to work in Canada for a shorter duration of time that is limited by an employment visa.
Q: What type of qualifications do I require to work at Spec Ops Security?
A: Each job posting will have a list of the minimum requirements to apply for the specific position. A valid security or investigator license is a mandatory requirement, as is a history that is free of any criminal convictions, charges or affiliation with criminal/terrorist organizations in any country or jurisdiction.
Q: I worked for another security company as a supervisor/manager, bodyguard, investigator or tactical security guard but was told that I do not qualify to work as a supervisor/manager or in a specialized division with Spec Ops Security. Why don't you recognize training or seniority from other security companies?
A: We do not recognize any prior "rank" or service with other security companies due to the immense differences in professionalism and requirements from company to company. We have seen far too many instances where an applicant's resume shows no prior experience, and then their first job with "ABC SECURITY" is as "Manager", "Supervisor" or "Tactical Security Officer". There are some good security companies out there, but sadly, those are greatly outnumbered by all of the bad ones. Spec Ops Security is a company that is owned, managed and primarily staffed by experienced law enforcement officers and military specialists and in order to qualify for a management or specialized position, an applicant must have prior specialized law enforcement or military training with proven service and experience. We also do not recognize specialized training that has been taken anywhere other than with an accredited law enforcement/military agency or from a verified law enforcement or military training provider.
Q: I am wanting to apply for a position in a specialized unit with your company, however; my previous military or law enforcement experience is not with a Canadian, US or UK agency. Can I still apply?
A: YES. We welcome applications from individuals who have served with agencies outside of Canada, the US or UK. However; there are some countries/agencies that we will not accept as prior accredited experience due to various circumstances such as, but not limited to; countries/agencies that have a history of human rights violations, terrorism, extremest policies/practices, poor training/recruiting standards, are enemies of Canada or the UN, or where the applicant's service and training cannot be verified.
Q: What is the ideal type of applicant that you look for to work at Spec Ops Security?
A: We seek to hire individuals who are pursuing a career in private security, investigations, or with a law enforcement, or government peace officer agency, or who are applying to become a member of the CAF. We also hire individuals who have served as a sworn, regular member of the RCMP, Alberta Sheriff, City Police or the CAF.
Consideration is also offered to individuals with verifiable police or military service in a UN country. Additionally, we consider inexperienced individuals who are professional, reliable, dedicated, hardworking and willing to be trained.
Q: Are there any special requirements needed to work as a regular security guard?
A: NO. As long as you hold a valid security license, have no criminal history and are professional in both conduct and deportment, we would be happy to review your application for our BASIC SECURITY DIVISION. You must be legally entitled to work in Canada with a verifiable employment history.
Q: Why don't you post photos or the logos of your clients on your website?
A: We consider ourselves very fortunate to routinely protect some of the most well-known and influential people on the planet, as well as to work for a wide variety of exceptional businesses. However; we will never post their images or information on our website (or anywhere). We operate under NDA's and exploiting the fame or success of another person or business to attempt to bolster our reputation and further our business is both disrespectful and wrong.
Q: Do you provide pay-duty services with off-duty police or peace officers that have police powers?
A: NO. Although many of our personnel are trained and experienced police or peace officers, we are a private security and investigations agency and we do not hold any special police or peace officer powers. Even our staff that are currently serving as peace officers and who work private security when "off-duty" do not hold any special powers when they are off-duty. All private security authorities are regulated by section 494 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Q: Do you provide armed security or protection services in Canada?
A: YES...and NO. Armed services may be provided by our executive protection specialists, however; such instances are rare and are subject to the provisions of the Firearms Act, the SSIA and the CCC where carry permits must be approved by the Chief Firearms Officer. It depends on the client and the circumstances surrounding the protection services. Uniformed security guards are not permitted to carry firearms in Canada unless transporting valuables.
Q: Does your company provide tactical security guard services?
A: YES...and NO. YES we provide specialized, high-profile security services that are delivered by highly-trained and experienced former law enforcement officers, most of whom have served in RCMP ERT, Police TAC (aka SWAT), Crowd Management or other specialized units, as well as soldiers with extensive specialist and combat experience. And NO...because there is NO SUCH THING AS TACTICAL SECURITY. "Tactical" is a term used to describe specialized police and military units who use special weapons and tactics to deal with high-risk incidents. Unarmed security guards are not "Tactical Security" and 99.9% of our competitor's "tactical guards" have no specialized training or experience.
Q: What type of executive protection (bodyguard) services do you provide and who will you protect?
A: We offer a complete spectrum of executive security/close protection services that are delivered by trained and experienced close protection "specialists". All of our close protection specialists are former law enforcement or military personnel who have worked in close protection units and who have extensive specialized training. Our EP services are primarily provided to corporate executives, HNW and UHNW individuals and their families, movie, television, music and sports celebrities, political figures, dignitaries, and members of the judiciary. We do provide protective services to members of the general public who require special protection or for travel security to hostile environments. We do not provide security for any individuals or organizations who are engaged in criminal activity/enterprise.
Q: I want to hire a private investigator. Do you provide services to the general public?
A: YES. We do provide some services to the general public, such as surveillance to assist with marital infidelity or child custody matters. However; we prefer to work for you through your legal council. We do not do perform any type of backgrounds, criminal defence or locate investigations for the general public.
Q: Who do you provide private investigation services for and what types of services do you offer?
A: Our private investigation services are offered to major insurance companies, loss claim adjusters, municipal, provincial and federal government law divisions and crown corporations, law firms, retail businesses, the energy sector, and corporations. We offer a complete spectrum of services such as surveillance, criminal investigations, backgrounds, due diligence, locate services, witness interviews, statement taking, arson investigation, WCB, fatality, BI, AB and LTD claims investigation, collision investigation and reconstruction and internal investigations.
Q: I want to obtain a quote for security guard services for our business. What are your billing rates for Security?
A: All of our security service quotes are customized to meet the client's specific needs and budget. We are a top-tier security provider so we do not offer "cookie-cutter, out of the box" security solutions or pricing. Our services are intelligence-led and we will provide you with the best security services in the industry at a price that you can afford. If you are looking for inexperienced, minimum wage guards (two feet and a heart beat) at the cheapest billing rate, please do not contact us. We are a professional protection agency and we only serve reputable businesses.
Q: Do you offer retail security services and plain clothes loss prevention officers?
A: YES. We offer a full range of security, investigation and loss prevention services to retail businesses that are both affordable and effective. Our retail security experts will work hard to reduce your shrink losses and to offer you a measurable return on your security investment. Unlike other security companies, all of our retail security experts have extensive law enforcement and/or retail loss prevention experience.
Q: Does your company provide mobile security patrol services? What type of services do you offer?
A: YES...and NO. YES, we offer mobile security patrol services with both marked and unmarked security units. Unlike other security companies, all of our security patrol officers are experienced law enforcement officers or former military personnel who have extensive training and specialized experience. And unlike other security companies, we do not use small compact cars or minivans for patrols. Our vehicles are fully-equipped police interceptor Ford Explorers, Tahoes or Ford F-150 vehicles that are capable of patrolling urban and rural sites in any type of weather conditions. NO...we do not offer random drive-by mobile patrols because as law enforcement experienced security experts, we know that random mobile patrols do not provide any type of deterrence from crime, vagrancy or property damage. Criminals are undeterred by a random security car driving up 1-3 times per night to conduct a brief patrol. They will strike when the guard leaves, knowing that they have hours before the next patrol. There is no substitute for manned guarding or on-site security. Your money is better invested into improved physical security measures as opposed to random patrols. Only security companies benefit from random patrols because they are highly profitable.
We provide designated security patrol and response services for shipping and rail yards, construction projects, pipelines and remote energy sites, residential and commercial properties, shopping centres and private/gated communities. Our experienced guards will patrol your properties in a high-profile marked vehicle to deter crime and respond to calls for service to protect you, your staff and your assets. Guards will conduct foot patrols of your buildings and challenge any unauthorized persons who are encountered. In the event of a break-in or criminal act, our patrol guards will arrest anyone they find committing an offence and notify the police of jurisdiction.
Q: What type of security guard services do you provide and for what type of clients?
A: Spec Ops Security offers uniformed and plain clothes security guard services that are catered to meet our client's specific needs. We have developed a unique services model that affords our clients the opportunity to choose the level of protection that best suits their specific security requirements and budget. Regardless of the size, scope or complexity of your business or project, we are capable of delivering customized and effective solutions to resolve any security challenge. Spec Ops Security provides security services to protect persons, property, businesses, critical infrastructure and key assets. We offer security for corporations, warehouse, production, shipping, rail and transportation facilities, construction projects, energy facilities, pipelines, remote work camps, hotels and resorts, municipal, county, provincial and federal governments, healthcare facilities, retirement and long-term care facilities, shopping centres, commercial, retail and residential properties as well as for gated communities, high-net-worth families and sporting venues to name a few. We do not accept one day contracts, nor do we work house parties, weddings or pub crawls. Just as businesses should be selective about who they hire for security, we too are selective about who we will work for. We strive to develop long-term business relationships with professional clients.
Q: Some of the patrol vehicles on your website have amber emergency lights. Is it legal for security cars to have emergency lights on them?
A: The use of emergency lights on security vehicles is regulated by the province. In the province of Alberta, it is NOT legal for any security vehicle to have emergency lights permanently mounted. Security lights may only be used if they are on temporary mounts (magnet or suction cups), they can only be amber in colour and they can only be used when the security vehicle is being operated on private property (such as a construction project or industrial/shipping yard). Emergency lights on security vehicles must be removed as soon as the security vehicle leaves private property and is being operated on a public road or highway. It is an offence under the vehicle equipment regulations as well as the security services and investigators act for a security vehicle to be equipped with, or to operate emergency lights on a public road or highway. If you observe a security vehicle driving on a public road that has emergency lights displayed (especially a full roof lightbar) or being operated (flashing), we encourage you to take a photo or video and to make a formal complaint against the security company.
Q: A security guard threatened to arrest me. Does a private security guard have the authority to arrest people?
A: YES. A private security guard does have the authority to arrest a person, however; those authorities are very limited and are commonly referred to as a "Citizen's Arrest" under s. 494(2) CCC. The security guard may only arrest for a criminal offence and they must observe the entirety of the offence being committed on or in relation to the property that they are hired to protect. Guards may also arrest for trespassing if the person fails to leave the property after reasonable warnings and an opportunity to leave has been provided by the guard. But they shouldn't "threaten" you.
Security guards do not have any special powers or police authority and they cannot arrest or detain you for suspicion of a crime, nor can they detain you for questioning. Guards cannot arrest you for outstanding warrants, hold you for the police, stop and search you, arrest you for smoking, being drunk in public or any provincial or by-law offences (Including COVID "regulations"). Any person who is arrested by a security guard must be turned over to the police "forthwith" (immediately). Security guards are required to know the law and despite it being on their test to obtain a security license, it is disturbing how many "experienced guards" from other companies we interview don't know their basic authorities. It is important that every citizen know their rights and exercise them. If you feel that you have been unlawfully detained, assaulted or had your rights breached by a security guard, call the police.
Q: I was at the mall and a security guard stopped me and told me they had to search my bag. Is that legal?
A: NO. A security guard cannot stop or detain you unless they are doing so to arrest you for a crime that they have witnessed you commit, or unless you are trespassing on private property. Security guards do not have any authority to search your bag or your possessions, even if you were arrested for a crime. If they make a "lawful" arrest they are only authorized to conduct a "reasonable" search for weapons. You have no legal obligation to stop and talk to a security guard or to consent to a search by a security guard, unless that guard has lawful authority to arrest you. There is no shortage of security guards who act well outside of their authorities and who believe that they have powers that are even beyond those of the police. Covid has increased the number of authoritarian guards who attempt to exercise special powers or authorities that they simply do not have. A guard is just a regular citizen. Know your rights and if in doubt, call the police to attend and/or file a complaint with the provincial registrar.
Q: Are security vehicles allowed to speed, drive through red lights or operate lights and sirens?
A: NO. It is against the law for a security vehicle to be operated in excess of the prescribed speed limit or to disobey traffic control devices, let alone while operating emergency lights and sirens. No security vehicle is permitted to have emergency lights or sirens on public roads in Alberta. Security guards are private citizens, their vehicles are not "emergency vehicles" and they do not respond to any emergencies. They must abide by all traffic laws.
Q: A security vehicle turned on emergency lights and tried to pull me over. Am I required to stop for security?
A: NO. As outlined above, a security vehicle cannot operate emergency equipment on a public road, nor do they have the authority to conduct a traffic stop. If a security vehicle, or any vehicle that you do not believe is a police vehicle attempts to pull you over, we recommend that you continue driving and call 9-1-1 and request that a marked police vehicle attend immediately.
Q: Are security guards allowed to carry weapons?
A: Security guards and the equipment that they carry, even the uniforms that they wear, are regulated by the province and the SSIA. In Alberta, some security guards are authorized to carry batons and handcuffs, but they and the company they work for must have authorization from the province to do so. Guards are permitted to wear body armour while on duty and in the execution of their duties. Guards are not permitted to carry firearms, OC spray (pepper spray) or other types of weapons. If you see a guard carrying a weapon, you can call the police or report it to the SSIA.
Q: Do security guards carry badges?
A: YES. In some cases a security guard may carry a badge, especially if they are working in a plain clothes role. However; the badge is for identification purposes only and it carries no authority or powers that a police officer or peace officer holds. None of our personnel carry badges but many other companies do. Security and PI badges MUST look exactly like the badge shown below in accordance with provincial law:
Q: Does a security guard or private investigator have to show you their license if requested?
A: YES. It is required by law that a security guard or private investigator must show their license to any person that requests proof of licensing. Guards and investigators are legally required to carry their license at all times when working and must prove to anyone who challenges them that they are licensed, even if in uniform. Common sense dictates that if they are busy dealing with a security matter, they aren't going to stop and show you their license, but at some point, they have to. If they don't, it's probably because they don't have one and you should consider filing a complaint with the provincial registrar. Below is a photo of what a license should look like in Alberta.
Q: Can a security guard with an individual license accept work or contracts on their own?
A: NO. Only a licensed security and/or private investigation agency is lawfully authorized to work as a contracted security or investigations provider. It is an offence under the provisions of the SSIA to hire an unlicensed business or for an individual who has an "individual license" to work directly for anyone that is not a licensed security/investigation business. There are so many "security companies" and "private investigators" that are soliciting or engaging in providing security or pi services that are unlicensed and it is one of the main (although there are many) reasons that the private security and investigations industry is becoming so unprofessional. If you encounter a business who is unlicensed and selling security guard services, an individual licensed guard working "for hire" directly for a non-security business or a non-security business that is hiring unlicensed guards or investigators, please report them to the provincial registrar. To verify a security business license or guard license, go to the SSIA website:
Q: How do I make a complaint about a security guard or a private investigator?
A: If the complaint is about a guard, investigator or business and the business is professional and reputable, we recommend that you contact the business directly and speak to an executive officer. If the complaint is not taken seriously, the company is unprofessional, or you are not satisfied with the handling of your complaint, you may file a formal complaint with the provincial registrar. Sadly, there are so many unlicensed security and investigation businesses operating outside of the law, combined with unprofessional security/investigation companies and guards, that the only way to improve things is to file complaints. None of us are above the law and we are all accountable to the public and the client's that we serve. If your complaint is in Alberta, you can use the link below:
Q: So many security and private investigator company owners and their staff all claim to be ex-police or military. How can I verify if they are telling the truth?
A: Stolen Valour and law enforcement impersonators are very common in the security and private investigations industry. Most people who cannot get hired as police officers or soldiers due to having a criminal history, lack of qualifications, psychological issues or other reasons for exclusion are drawn to security and pi work. It is not surprising when they falsely claim to have been somehow involved in law enforcement or the military. Most claim to have worked in secret units or for elite special forces in other countries because it takes time to verify. We don't post even a small fraction of our experienced law enforcement and military personnel on our webpage, but all of us can provide verifiable proof of service. Many of these fakers and impersonators who own security or pi companies or work for them will create false certificates and doctor images, but when pressed for contact information to verify their service with the departments where they allegedly served, they always cave. Please verify anyone's claim to be a LEO.
HELP US TO IMPROVE OUR INDUSTRY
There is a serious need for improvement and every business in the private security industry can work to better things, however; we can't do it alone! We need the help of professional businesses like yours who hire security guards, bodyguards and investigators. Please take the time to verify that the agencies you hire are licensed and insured to provide the services that they are offering. It is also important to verify that the employees of the agency are also licensed to provide the services. Unfortunately, there are several businesses and individuals who are soliciting work as a security or investigation agency but they do not hold a provincial security or pi agency license; or they are soliciting or accepting work in other provinces where they are not licensed to operate.
When choosing a security or investigations agency, especially those who do not have detailed bios, we ask that you take the time to verify the background, training and qualifications of their owners and employees. Lastly, you can help us improve this industry by hiring the company who is best qualified to do the job, as opposed to those who offer you the lowest billing rate. We understand that times are tough for everyone and budgets are tight, but it is ultimately the security guard who suffers and is unable to earn a fair wage when the companies bid low.
There is no question that the greatest responsibility to improve this industry falls on those of us who operate security and investigation agencies. We alone are responsible for recruiting the best and most qualified guards and investigators and to ensure that they are adequately trained and supervised when providing services to our clients. There is also a need to earn the trust of the clients and the general public by making sure that our staff always conduct themselves as professionals, respect people's fundamental rights, especially those who are vulnerable, and to act with honesty and integrity when engaging in our contracted duties.
If you have taken the time to read this, we greatly appreciate it and hope to work with you in the near future.
The story below is not an example of a simple "training issue". It is an example of how security companies need to improve their recruiting standards and to be held accountable for the actions of the individuals that they place in a position of trust to protect others. We do not know the entire story and all of the facts, but you will likely agree that the video alone raises some serious questions and concerns.