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ALARM COMPANY FACT SHEET

Alarm Company Operator, Qualified Manager, or Alarm Agent Requirements for Licensure

NOVEMBER 2018

Alarm Company Operator

An Alarm Company Operator operates a business that sells (at the buyer's home or business), installs, monitors, maintains, services, or responds to alarm systems or supervises such actions. (Retail stores do not have to be licensed if they sell alarm systems only at the store and do not perform any alarm company functions.)

In order for a company to seek licensure as an alarm company operator, the Qualified Manager (see below) must have passed the licensing examination.

In addition, each individual applicant, partner, or corporate officer must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Undergo a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Have committed no offense or violation of the Alarm Company Act that would be grounds for license suspension or revocation

To apply for a company license, submit:

How to submit your application:

  • Online through BreEZe: The Bureau recommends submitting and paying for your application online as it bypasses the Cashiering Office, which can reduce the processing time by up to two weeks.
  • By mail: submit all required documents and payment to:

    Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
    P.O. Box 989002
    West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

Note: Local authorities may require an alarm company operator to register locally and to get a business permit. They may also enact ordinances governing false alarm activations and responses, and they may require persons who own, lease, or rent alarm systems to get permits.

Insurance Requirements for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

All Alarm Company Operators (ACOs) organized as an LLC are required to obtain a general liability insurance policy with a minimum general aggregate liability limit of one million dollars ($1,000,000) for initial licensure, and to have the required insurance in effect at the time of license renewal and for the continued maintenance of the license. If the ACO LLC has more than five managing members, the insurance coverage requirement increases by $100,000 for each additional member, up to a maximum required amount of $5 million. For additional information, including submission instructions, visit the Alarm Company Organized as Limited Liability Company page.

Qualified Manager

An individual, partnership, or corporation seeking a license as an alarm company operator must specify in the application the individual who will manage the business on a day-to-day basis. This individual is called the Qualified Manager. (An owner, partner, or corporate officer may serve as the qualified manager, or may hire someone to fill this role.) To be eligible to apply for licensure as a qualified manager, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Undergo a criminal history background check through the DOJ and the FBI
  • Have committed no offense or violation of the Alarm Company Act that would be grounds for license suspension or revocation
  • Have two years (4,000 hours) of paid experience in alarm company work or the equivalent; and
  • Pass a two-hour multiple-choice examination covering California law, the Alarm Company Act, alarm agent requirements, weapons laws, business management, and Power to Arrest. A copy of the Alarm Company Act will be sent to you.

To apply for a Qualified Manager certificate, submit:

How to submit your application:

  • Online through BreEZe: The Bureau recommends submitting and paying for your application online as it bypasses the Cashiering Office, which can reduce the processing time by up to two weeks.
  • By mail: submit all required documents and payment to:

    Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
    P.O. Box 989002
    West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

Alarm Agent

An Alarm Agent is employed by an alarm company operator to sell (at the buyer's home or business), install, monitor, maintain, service, or respond to alarm systems or to supervise such actions. To be eligible to apply for registration as an alarm agent, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Undergo a criminal history background check through the DOJ and the FBI; and
  • Pass the Power to Arrest examination (if your duties will include responding to alarm activations). This follows an eight-hour training course covering responsibilities and ethics in citizen's arrest, relationship with police, limitations on Power to Arrest, restrictions on searches and seizures, criminal and civil liabilities, terrorism, code of ethics and personal and employer liability. The training and exam may be administered by any licensed alarm company operator or qualified manager. A copy of the Alarm Company Act will be provided on request for a fee.

To apply for an Alarm Agent registration, submit:

  • A completed application, which can be obtained from an Alarm Company Operator (ACO) licensed with the Bureau
  • The registration fee, and
  • An Alarm Company Employee Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan Operator. A $32 DOJ processing fee and a $17 FBI processing fee must be paid for each applicant at the Live Scan site.

How to submit your application:

  • Online through BreEZe: The Bureau recommends submitting and paying for your application online as it bypasses the Cashiering Office, which can reduce the processing time by up to two weeks.
  • By mail: submit all required documents and payment to:

    Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
    P.O. Box 989002
    West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

Once you have submitted your application and the appropriate fees, you may work with a temporary registration card as an unarmed alarm agent if you have not been convicted of a crime.

Applications for registration as an alarm agent are available from alarm company operators.

Firearm Permit

Whether you work as an alarm agent, alarm company operator, or qualified manager, you may not carry a gun on duty without having been issued a firearm permit by the Department of Consumer Affairs. To apply for a firearm permit, you must be a citizen or have permanent legal alien status, pass a course given by a Bureau-certified firearms training instructor in the carrying and use of firearms, submit a firearm permit application, the application fee, and an Alarm Agent Registration w/Firearm Permit Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan Operator. A $38 firearm eligibility application, $32 DOJ fingerprint processing and $17 FBI fingerprint processing fee must be paid for each applicant at the Live Scan Site. The 14-hour firearms (8 hours classroom, 6 hours range) training course covers moral and legal aspects, firearms nomenclature, weapons handling and shooting fundamentals, emergency procedures, and range training. The course must be given by a Bureau certified firearms training instructor at a Bureau certified training facility. Written and range exams are administered at the end of the course. Costs of training are determined by the training facility.

Note: A firearms qualification card expires two years from the date of issuance. An applicant must requalify four times during the life of the permit: twice during the first year after the date of issuance, and twice during the second year. Requalifications must be at least four months apart.

Protection of the public shall be the highest priority for the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services in exercising licensing, regulatory and disciplinary functions. Whenever the protection of the public is consistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be paramount.