To re-establish awareness of and to expand the safety-focused intent of existing policy with respect to security officer equipment—specifically that of duty holsters, belts and related equipment.
Existing law and rule with respect to security officer equipment is noticeably silent with respect to how a security officer should carry and secure firearms while in the course and scope of their employment when on post. Relying on companies, their owners and qualifying agents to drive weapons safety is inadequate in the face of real-time events occurring in our industry.
There is no specific guidance on how weapons should be worn and the minimum threat level of retention a holster should meet.
Inspections conducted by the LSBPSE over the past four years have garnered alarming results.
Inspectors have found officers on post with Uncle Mike’s styled holsters that can easily be physically ripped from the officer’s waist without much strength or effort required. Inspectors have been in the presence of officers who have had guns tucked in their pants, and those with holsters that had no retention mechanism whatsoever. While these instances have been addressed with the companies simultaneous with the discovery, it has become clear this agency that poor holster choice, design, and types are pervasive in our industry.
Recent shootings in our state, over the past year have involved instances where the security officer’s weapon was in an unfavorable duty rig configuration.
Because of the extremely dangerous nature of this reality, and the fact that there are cost-effective and highly desirable alternatives to poorly made holsters, the Board is issuing the following directive effective immediately:
Holster and Duty Rig Directive:
Level I holsters should always be strictly prohibited for purposes of use by armed, uniformed security officers.
Level I holsters are inherently unsafe and present little to no weapon retention attributes.
Level II holsters are to be considered only as a baseline recommendation for purposes of use by armed, uniformed security officers.
Level II holsters typically possess active and passive retention mechanisms that bring a moderate level of gun retention to the carrying of a firearm that is visible to the public.
Level III holsters are the State Board’s preferred and recommended holster for armed, uniformed security officers.
Level III holsters possess passive and active retention measures. Additionally, Level III holsters typically have a third mechanism, usually in the form of a hood that covers the back of the slide of a semi-automatic handgun.
Level III holsters mitigate the potential for someone with adequate strength and leverage from defeating a Level II configuration buy adding a third security countermeasure. Typically, Level III us the standard in modern day law enforcement duty rigs.
With respect to the phrase “duty rig” Board inspectors have encountered other alarming configurations in the field. Security officers have been observed placing Level I holsters directly onto their pants belt. This is woefully inadequate for firearms of the four (4) inch barrel length to five (5) inch variety. The weight of these weapons, when fully loaded, coupled with the poor design and weight distribution of Level I holsters creates a dangerous situation for armed, uniformed security personnel.
Security offices should have an appropriately assembled combination of pants and duty belts that are secured in such a way as to aid in the safe retention of the weapon being carried. Heavy-duty tactical or patrol style equipment belts are best suited to being paired with a sound Level II or III duty holster. This is what is required of law enforcement officers, and for good reason. Weapon retention begins with how secure the holster is on the belt. Dress belts are not suited to the rigor of being yanked and twisted during a scuffle and can seriously jeopardize the safety of the security officer and the public.
Holsters being worn fastened directly to pants belts, or to pants with no belt is severely frowned upon and should not be allowed.
Security officers should be required to wear a proper fitting pants belt that can be fastened to a proper fitting duty rig built that is designed to hold firearms, extra rounds, handcuffs and other related equipment loadouts.
Future iterations of the Title 37 statutes and Title 46 rules will seek to codify these concerns in support of this policy initiative.
Lastly, the firearm a security officer trains with is what they should be carrying on duty. Security officers train and re-certify once per year on their firearms proficiency. Training an officer on a Taurus, only to have them carry a Sig is not ideal for their ability to know how and when to clear the weapon, clear a jammed weapon or even shoot the weapon proficiently.
The law requires that security officers train with the caliber of weapon they will carry, and the Board strenuously recommends that the make and model of weapon on which a security officers trains, correlates to what they will use in the field.
Any questions regarding this policy, as issued via this Executive Order, should be directed to Fabian P. Blache III at 225-272-2310 Ext. 220. FPB/bah