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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about
Private Security

   Company/Insurance Questions
    1. What is a stakeholder?

A Stakeholder is a generic term to refer to any of the following endorsements for a business license: owner, corporation officer, shareholder, partner, manager, supervisor, school director.


    2. What type of company licenses does the Private Security Program include?

The Private Security Program includes the following company licenses:

  • Class A – Private Investigation Company (Private Investigation services, including heir finders and unclaimed funds)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Alarms Systems, including camera/closed circuit television systems (selling, installing and monitoring)).
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Guard services, including armed and unarmed guards)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Guard dog)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Armored Car or Courier Service)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Locksmith services)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Electronics Access Control Device)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Private Security Consultant)
  • Class C – Combination of Private Investigation & Security Contractor
  • Class T – Telematics Company
  • Class P – Private Business Letter of Authority
  • Class X – Government Letter of Authority
  • Class F   Level III and Level IV Training School
  • Class O – Alarm Level One Training School

    3. How do I apply for a company license?

    4. What does the Private Security Program accept as proof of company insurance?

The Private Security Program accepts proof of company insurance on the PSP-05 (PDF) (Certificate of Liability Insurance Form).

In addition, proof of company insurance may be submitted on an Accord-25.  The Accord-25 must include the following:

  • That the insurance is applicable to the conduct for which the licensee is licensed;
  • The exclusions or endorsements specific to the activity for which the licensee is licensed, or that there are no such exclusions or endorsements; and
  • The statutory minimum coverage limits, specifically distinguishing the limits for:
    • Each occurrence of bodily injury and property damage;
    • Each occurrence of personal injury; and
    • The total aggregate amount of coverage for all occurrences.
  • The applicant or licensee must also provide the department with the insurance agent's current contact information and Texas license number.

Please be sure to include your current company license number on all proof of company insurance documents.


    5. When does a company license expire?

A company license expires every year on the last date of the expiration month. In addition, the expiration date is printed on the company license.

Note: A Branch Office license expires on the same date as the Parent Company license.


    6. Where can I check the status of my company application?

You can check the status of a company application by searching Companies in Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). This information is updated in real-time.


    7. When can I renew my company license online?

You can renew a company license sixty (60) days before the expiration date, and up to one (1) year after the expiration (late fees will be applied, if company license is expired). If you are within the renewal period and experience problems, please visit our secured online Contact Center or call (512) 424-7293.


    8. My company license is under insurance suspension; can I pay my reinstatement fee online?

No, the reinstatement fee must be mailed to the appropriate address. See PSP-24 (PDF) (Application for Reinstatement of Company License).


    9. Can I make a payment for my company renewal if my company insurance is expired and the system displays insurance suspension?

Yes, you can make payment for your company renewal. However, the renewal will not be processed until your company is reflecting current insurance in our database.


    10. Can a company hire independent contractors to perform regulated services?

Yes. The contractors must be either registered as employees and covered by the company's statutorily required insurance, or independently licensed as security service contractors under Chapter 1702.


    11. How do I check the status of my company license renewal?

You can check the status of a company renewal by searching Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). This information is updated in real-time.


    12. How do I renew a branch office?

You may renew a branch office license at Texas Online Private Security (TOPS).


   Eligibility/Compliance Questions
    1. What are the qualifications for a license/registration with regard to criminal history?

Applicants are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria in Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1702 of the Private Security Act and Board Administrative Rules. These publications are on this website in the Statutes and Rules section.


    2. Will I be notified if I am disqualified due to my background check?

Yes, a detailed letter will be sent to the applicant listing the reason(s) for denial. In addition, the employing company will receive a notification letter concerning the disqualified applicant. The letter sent to the company will not include any specific criminal history information.


    3. Do I need to submit court documents if I have ever been arrested for a felony, Class A or Class B misdemeanor, when applying for an original individual registration?

Yes, we will need such documents in order to verify the disposition of the case.


    4. How will I know my license has been reinstated?

A letter of reinstatement will be sent to you and your employer.

You can also check the status of an individual registration by searching Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). This information is updated in real-time.


   Fingerprint/Crime Records Questions
    1. Do I qualify for the alternative fingerprint process?

To accommodate those registrants who may perform regulated services remotely, while outside of the state, the department will provide the alternate fingerprint process for the following applicants residing outside of Texas: Alarm Monitor, Alarm Salesperson, Security Salesperson, Private Investigator, Owner, Officer, Partner, Shareholder, Supervisor, and Manager.

Applicants for all other registration types must submit fingerprints electronically by following the fingerprinting instructions.

Applicants who qualify for the alternate fingerprint process must first submit an application. After the application has been submitted, please contact RSD by phone at 512-424-7293 or by email to request a fingerprint packet. Once the application has been validated, the fingerprint packet along with detailed instructions will only be mailed to applicants who meet the criteria for the alternate fingerprint process.

Any applicant who resides in Texas must submit fingerprints electronically by following the fingerprinting instructions.

Note: Rolled ink fingerprints may only be taken at a law enforcement agency by an employee of that agency. The fee for this service will vary by law enforcement agency. The fee must be paid to the law enforcement agency. Processing ink-rolled fingerprints will require additional review and handling.


    2. How do I schedule an appointment for electronic fingerprinting?

Information relating to electronic fingerprints may be found on this website at Fingerprinting Instructions.


    3. What do I do if an electronic fingerprinting appointment cannot be scheduled within three business days?

Please contact Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) for assistance.


    4. How do I challenge the criminal history record contained in a Texas Record?

Please visit Criminal History Error Resolution for the procedures to challenge the criminal history record contained in a Texas Record.


    5. How do I challenge the criminal history record contained in an FBI Record?

Please visit Challenge of a Criminal Record for the procedures to challenge the criminal history record contained in an FBI Record.


    Individual Registration Questions
   1. Am I eligible to work prior to licensure?

    2. How do I apply for an original registration?

Submit an application through Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). Please see the Individual Application Instructions for step by step assistance.  Once you have submitted a paid application, you will receive a checklist of items required to complete your application.

Applicants new to private security will be required to submit fingerprints electronically to DPS through the approved vendor as part of the complete application, unless the applicant qualifies for the alternative fingerprint process. For detailed information, please see Instructions for scheduling a fingerprint appointment.

Please note:

  • Security and personal protection officer applicants will be required to submit training certificates.
  • Applicants for armed registrations who were born outside of the US must submit evidence of lawful presence.
  • Upon request of DPS, applicants must submit any court documents required as part of DPS' criminal history background check. The failure to comply with the request may result in the rejection of the application as incomplete.

    3. What training is required to obtain a registration?

Security and personal protection officer applicants are required to submit training certificates as part of the applications.

  • Non-Commission Security Officer applicants must submit a level 2 training certificate
  • Commission Security Officer applicants must submit level 2 and level 3 training certificates
  • Personal Protection Officer applicants must submit level 2, level 3, and level 4 training certificates in addition to the Declaration of Psychological and Emotional Health.

All other registrations do not require training as a prerequisite to licensure.


    4. When does an individual registration (pocket card) expire?

Applicants new to private security will receive a registration with an expiration date 2 years from the date of issuance. All subsequent registrations will have an expiration date that aligns with their existing registrations in the following categories:

  • All your Unarmed registrations including your Owner/Manager and CE Instructor registrations
  • All your Armed registrations (Commission and Personal Protection Officers)
  • All your Instructor registrations (excluding CE instructors)

In addition, the expiration date is printed on each pocket card.


    5. How do I renew an individual registration (pocket card)?

Renew online at Texas Online Private Security (TOPS)

You can renew a registration online 90 days before the expiration date, and up to 1 year after expiration (late fees will be applied if registration is expired). For step by step instructions see Individual Renewal Instructions. Please note: In order to renewal, Commission Security Officers must submit a firearm proficiency certificate that is no more than 90 days old.

If the registration has been expired for more than one year, the individual must submit an original application. For step by step instructions see Individual Application Instructions.


    6. I have multiple registrations that are renewable. Can I select which registration to renew?

Yes. After signing in to TOPS, select the RENEW button and choose which registration(s) to renew. For step by step instructions see Individual Renewal Instructions.


    7. Can an employer pay for an individual renewal application?

Yes. A renewal application must be initiated by the individual registrant. Payment can be submitted by either the individual or by their registered employer by selecting “employer pay” at the end of the application. For step by step instructions see Individual Renewal Instructions. If you have not yet registered with the new employer, an employee registration update must be completed before submitting the renewal.


    8. I submitted my renewal application, am I required to submit any documents?

Yes, if a commissioned security officer or personal protection officer registration was renewed, submit the required firearm proficiency certificate. Generally, all other registration types do not require documents to be submitted. However, you should track the status of your application by referring to your personalized checklist which is sent to your email


    9. I have an existing registration, how do I register with a new employer?

Sign in to TOPS to submit an employer registration update application. For step by step instructions see employee registration update.


    10. How can I check the status of an original or renewal application?

You can track the status of your application by referring to your personalized checklist which is sent to your email. Additionally, you can log in to your TOPS profile and view the real-time status of your application.


    11. Do I need to submit a copy of my driver license or identification card?

A11. If you have a Texas Driver License or a Texas ID card, you will not need to submit a copy. If you do not hold a Texas ID card or Texas Driver License, DPS will request a copy of your out-of-state ID card, out-of-state driver license, or a copy of your military ID.



   Military Fee Exemption Questions
    1.Who qualifies for the military fee exemption (SB 807)?

Active Duty Military Service Member: current full-time military service in the armed forces of the United States or active duty military service as a member of the Texas military forces, as defined by Texas Government Code §437.001, or similar military service of another state.

Military Veteran: a person who has served on active duty and who was discharged or released from active duty.

Active Military Spouse: a person who is married to an active duty military service member who holds a current license issued by another jurisdiction that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for registration in this state; or a military spouse who, within five years preceding the application date, held the license in this state.


    2. What fees are waived with the military fee exemption (SB 807)?

For qualified applicants, the application fees for individual original and renewal applications are waived.  Applicants will be responsible for the subscription fee, pocket card fee, and the FBI fee.

The military fee exemption does not include any company license fees. Please see Military Exemption Fee Schedule (pdf).


    3. How do I apply for the military fee exemption?

Submit an application through the TOPS website. As part of the application process you will be provide your military status. Supporting documents will be required to qualify for the exemption.


    4. What supporting documentation do I need to submit with my application to obtain the military fee exemption?

Active Duty Military Service Member: A copy of your active military ID card (front only) and copy of current orders.

Military Veteran: A copy of your DD-214 (Member Copy - 4).

Active Military Spouse: A copy of your active dependent military ID card (front only) and a copy of your spouse's current orders. If licensed in another jurisdiction, a copy of your out-of-state license.

Note: The following training documents must be submitted with all original applications:

  • Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Security Officer Applicants: Level II certificate of completion
  • Commissioned Security Officer Applicants: Level III certificate of completion
  • Personal Protection Officer Applicants: Level IV Training Certificate of Completion
    Proof of completion of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test or equivalent (proof of completion of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test shall be on the form of the board approved Declaration of Psychological and Emotional Health and shall be signed by a licensed psychologist).

    5. My registration expired while I was serving as an active duty military service member. Do I need to pay the late fees?

Late fees will be waived, if the individual was serving as an Active Duty Military Service Member in this state or any other state. Applicants seeking this exemption will need to submit a copy of their orders reflecting they were on active duty.


    6. I am a qualifying Active Duty Military Service Member, Military Veteran or an Active Duty Military Spouse, seeking to take the qualified manager exam. Does the military fee exemption waive the qualified manager exam fee?

Yes, if you are a qualifying Active Duty Military Service Member, Military Veteran or an Active Duty Military Spouse, the manager exam fee will be waived.


   Miscellaneous Questions
    1. Are fees submitted refundable or transferable?

No, in accordance with Texas Administrative Code §35.131, and as printed on all applications submitted to the Private Security Program, “fees submitted are non-refundable or transferable.”


    2. Can I change an application/license from one registration type to another (i.e, non-commissioned security officer to a commissioned security officer)?

No, a new application must be submitted for the new registration type, plus you must submit the appropriate fees.


    3. How do I obtain a replacement pocket card or company license?

Sign on to TOPS and request a duplicate pocket card. The pocket card will be mailed to the individual's mailing address.


    4. How do I notify DPS an individual has been terminated from my company?

For Owners, Corporate Officers, Partners, Shareholders, Managers and Supervisors please submit PSP-19A (PDF) (Notification of Termination for Owners, Corporate, Officers, Partners, Shareholders, Managers and Supervisors). For all other employees please refer to the Employee Terminations instructions.

(Note: A notification for termination states an employee was terminated by the current employer however a termination notice does not remove the individual from the company employee list.)


    5. What does Incomplete Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. (TG) mean and who do I need to contact to resolve this matter?

This means the applicant has been identified as being in default of a student loan guaranteed by the non-profit corporation. Education Code §57.491 prohibits a licensing agency from renewing an occupational license until the matter is resolved. Applicants must contact the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. at (800) 222-6297 or (512) 219-7337 to obtain a clearance letter.


    6. How do I get copies of my paperwork, certificates, files, etc?

Open Record Requests must follow the Texas Public Information Act, please refer to the following requirements and guidelines.


    7. How do I file a complaint against a regulated company or individual?

Complete the online form on our Contact US site, or complete and submit PSP-22 (PDF) (Complaint Form) and submit by using the secured online Contact Center.


   Texas Online Private Security (TOPS) Questions
    1. What is TOPS?

TOPS is the new Private Security licensing system, providing secure, web-based, online access to program services. TOPS will include a new look and interface for applicants and businesses.


    2. TOPS login change 2/27/2017

Accounts use email address and a user created password for login. There will be an activation email sent as part of the account setup. Once you click on the link to activate the account, you may login from any device without having to re-activate. The user will choose and answer security questions to enable password reset functionality and continue to ensure your information is secure.

Password requirements are 12-20 characters in length and must contain at least 2 upper case, 2 lower case, 2 numbers and 2 special characters.

The captcha function will be activated after multiple incorrect login attempts.

Existing users will need to create an account on their first interaction with TOPS after the release on the 27th. New applicants will be able to complete and pay for an application, then will be directed to create an account once DPS receives the completed and paid application.


What can I do in TOPS?

    3. What applications will be submitted online?

All applications, including original, renewal and change applications for both individuals and businesses must be submitted online.


    4. Will there be assistance available?

The application will have helpful hints and text throughout. We will also have user guides on our website for submitting applications, for business paying for applications, business approval of employee affiliation and other functionality as it becomes available.


    5. What if I do not have an email address?

Free email accounts can be established at a variety of sites. We suggest searching the internet for Free Email accounts.


    6. What if I do not have an email address on file?

Go to TOPS Search before August 1, 2016 to submit your email address.


    7. How do I submit documents for my pending application?
  1. Log into your account and click on the Checklist/Upload Docs button, visible next to any inflight application in the My Applications section.
  2. Next, click on the Upload Docs button at the bottom of the checklist.
  3. ONLY submit docs specified in the checklist. Each document MUST be uploaded and classified individually otherwise, this will cause delays in application processing.

    8. How do I submit documents that are not related to a pending application?

Go to our Contact Us page, choose Private Security, then choose Submit Documents and follow the instructions.


    9. What is the process for an individual applying without a company affiliation?

An individual can submit an application without specifying a company affiliation. The application will process as normal, including all background checks, required documents and training required. The individual will be in a ready status, but will not receive a pocket card until affiliated to a business.


    10. How does the employer verify employment?

Registered Owners, Managers, Shareholders will be able to log in to the system to verify employment.


    11. Can my employer pay for my registration?

Yes, you may request that your employer pay for your registration. Even if you have chosen employer pay, until the point that payment occurs, you will also have the option to pay for your own registration.


    12. I am an employer, how do I pay for an employee's registration?

Registered Owners, Managers, Shareholders will be able to log in to the system and will see the employee requests for company payment. You will then be able to choose to pay, or return that to the employee for payment.


    13. Is bulk payment an option?

Yes, all businesses in good standing will be able to utilize bulk payment.


TOPS Program Updates

    14. Will applications be taken by mail?

Individuals who desire to submit a paper application. Please note it may take 4-8 weeks* to process a manual paper application. The PS program highly recommends all applications be submitted online. Benefits to online applications include: reduced processing time, live notifications, and payment via credit/debit card versus mailing a check. Paper applications may be requested via the contact us link.


    15. Will I need to be reprinted for background check on renewal?

DPS will use your prints on file if available, and will inform you if new prints need to be submitted.


    16. What is the cost of background check on renewal?

$25


    17. How do I receive my pocket card?

Your pocket card will be mailed to your physical address on file. You will have the ability to update/correct this address when submitting a new or renewal application.


   Training School and Instructor Questions
    1. I am a Level III Firearm Instructor. Can I sign my own firearm proficiency certificate?

No. An instructor cannot certify his or her own firearm proficiency. Texas Occupations Code §1702.1675 and Texas Administrative Code §35.145 require an “actual demonstration of proficiency.” A “demonstration” requires the presence of another person, and in this case, another Level III Firearms Instructor.


    2. When does an instructor registration expire?

Alarm Level 1, all Level 3, and Level 4 instructor registrations expire 1 year from date of issuance. All subsequent instructor registrations of this type will have an expiration date that aligns with their existing instructor registrations.

Continuing Education Instructors registrations will expire 2 years from date of issuance – or – synchronize with any existing unarmed registrations including Owner/Manager registrations.

In addition, the expiration date is printed on the pocket card.


    3. If a Level III class is in progress utilizing the previous version of curriculum, can they continue with the course; or will the training school be required to start over with the new version of curriculum?

If a training school has begun a class using the old curriculum, they may finish the class with the "old" material; however, they should use the new material for any subsequent classes.


    4. Can a Level III Instructor teach defensive tactics? Is any additional training needed?

In order to teach defensive tactics, the instructor should be a defensive tactics instructor.


    5. How many hours is the Level III class?

Per Texas Occupations Code, §1702.1675, the basic course is 30 hours and handgun proficiency course is 10-15 hours.


    6. The published forms include a test with an answer key, but do not provide the test only. Where do I find the test with no answer key?

Documents located on the DPS server cannot be edited, however individuals can download or copy/paste each document to their own computers and customize.


    7. I am a Level III Instructor, and I have never been trained in defensive tactics, what do I need to teach? Am I required to purchase equipment?

The content and required equipment is described in the training materials. Defensive tactics is not a new requirement, the previous version of the curriculum contained defensive tactics as well. In order to teach defensive tactics, the instructor must be a defensive tactics instructor.


    8. Concerning the hours of practical training (Firearm, Handcuffing); can it be determined how much time is spent on each, as it is not stated?

Yes, it is up to the instructor to determine the specific time allotment for each portion of the course.


    9. Will Level III guards who have never received baton training need to complete the full Level III Training Course, or will only the Continuing Education Recertification Course be necessary?

For Level III guards needing to complete Continuing Education (Requalification) Recertification who have never received baton training, DPS recommends completion of Unit 10 of the full course before completing CE training to ensure adequate training concerning batons.


    10. Is there a minimum standard amount of training hours/minimum standard baton training for previously certified officers carrying a baton?

For Level III guards needing to complete Continuing Education (Requalification) Recertification who have never received baton training, DPS recommends completion of Unit 10 before completing CE training to ensure adequate training concerning batons.


    11. Is a separate certificate necessary for students as proof of baton certification?

No.


    12. Is a Level III Instructor authorized to conduct baton training?

Baton training is part of the defensive tactics training. In order to teach defensive tactics, the instructor should be a defensive tactics instructor.


    13. Is there any information in administrative rules regarding renewals or re-certifications for Level IV guards?

Continuing Education requirements are located in the Texas Administrative Code, §35.161 – 6 hours for CSOs and PPOs, with proficiency certification.


    14. I am a PPO; do I need to complete recertification courses for both Level III and Level IV?

6 hours of Level III Continuing Education or 6 hours of Level IV are required. As part of the renewal process, a weapons proficiency certificate must be submitted with the application. Please note, the Level IV Continuing Education Course does not include subject matter related to firearms.


    15. Level IV does not require the OC spray section anymore?

Correct.


    16. Is the previous Level IV OC spray training still approved? Can PPOs still carry OC spray under their previous Level IV training?

The previous Level IV training is no longer approved. The question of whether the previous training will suffice for the defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code §46.05 is a matter of legal interpretation and subject to the prosecutorial discretion of your local law enforcement agencies. The department cannot provide legal advice and in particular cannot interpret the Texas Penal Code for this purpose.