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State struggles to process guard applications

July 27, 2013
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii is working to process a backlog of more than 2,300 applications for security guard licenses under a new state law.

The new law requires guards to fulfill certain requirements such as training and background checks in order to get a registration card from the state.

As of earlier this week, only about 4,500 cards had been issued. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said there have been nearly 8,000 applications received. About 875 are pending review and 2,300 hadn't been processed, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.

"The agency's been working really hard," said Jane Sugimura, president of the Hawaii Council of Associations of Apartment Owners. She's part of a committee that formed in anticipation of the new law two years ago.

But her group is frustrated that the department's Board of Private Detectives and Guards hasn't come up with a clear definition of who's considered a security guard.

She said apartment and condo owners are wondering if building managers or parking lot attendants are considered guards.

The department saw a last-minute flurry of applications days before the June 30 deadline to apply.

Department spokesman Brent Suyama said that instead of training new staff, there's a rotating group of existing staff members working overtime on evenings and weekends to help process the applications.

"I think once we get past this year, things will be a lot more smooth, said Frank Commendador, owner of Jan-Guard Hawaii. He said he believes the industry was slow to accept the new law.

In addition to staffing issues and the last-minute rush of applications, contributing to the delay has been additional checks required for applicants that have criminal records, said Charlene Tamanaha, the board's executive officer.



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