Security Company Has Irving Lawmaker Seeing Double

IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – They have badges and they can carry guns.  They also drive vehicles that look so similar to police cars that many people have a hard time telling the difference.

A security company operating in Irving has one state representative trying to change the law to force the company to change their look.

When Representative Linda Harper-Brown spotted one of the security cars last year, she tried to catch up to it, thinking it was a newly-designed police unit. “When I approached it, I found it was a private security firm and that really bothers me,”  the Republican lawmaker said Wednesday in Austin.

The car displays the words “Statewide Patrol” accompanied by a logo of a five-point star badge.  The model mimics the same vehicles driven by highway patrol officers. “There should be a clear distinction between law enforcement vehicles and other vehicles on the road and I think that line has been crossed,” Harper-Brown said.

The company Harper-Brown is referring to is Statewide Patrol, Inc. It’s a licensed security company that has operated for several years in Irving, Austin and San Antonio.

Its website advertises uniforms that closely resemble law enforcement uniforms. The site also claims statewide patrol officers will apprehend and arrest suspects.

“You’re going to get sued,” said Walt Roberts, who runs AS&I security in Dallas. “You’re going to get put out of business by the public.”

Roberts is also vice president of a Texas security trade group called ASSIST. The trade group once kicked a company out because it appeared very similar to an actual police department.

State law says logos can’t include the word police or have a seal that includes the Texas flag.  Patches on security uniforms also have to be approved by the state.

Roberts said the subtle differences could be confusing to the public and dangerous to security officers, because many are trained for only 40 hours before they are certified.  “If something goes down, I want to call the police,” Roberts said. “They’re quick to deal with it. They will come and deal with it much more harshly than my people.”

CBS 11 visited Statewide Patrol’s Irving office to ask about the uniforms and cars.  We also made several phone calls to their president, but never received a response.

The company is a registered member of ASSIST. The group president said he is aware of the issue and will discuss next month at a meeting.

The bill to restrict decals, logos and the wording on security cars was stalled in a committee, even though the industry supported the bill.

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  • fred

    Send them south to the border. If they are that confusing as you say (i dont see that) and let the illegal crossers decide if the want to take on statewide patrol

  • FedUpTxn

    While they are at it, let’s stop the construction vehicles from distracting drivers with flashing lights that look like an emergency vehicle when they are only driving in traffic! No one gave them the right of way!

  • Ty

    State rep Linda Harper Brown should find something useful to do with her time in office like working on the state budget so that we don’t have to keep getting rid of teachers. Not wasting time complaining about a security company’s vehicles. I’m just saying I want kids to be able to read the words security on the side of the cars. It’s obvious that she can’t do it.

  • RussP

    There are a number of security companies with cars that look too much like local and state police vehicles along with all the service vehicles that display red and blue lights instead of just yellow. Obviously it is too easy to buy this equipment even though state law has many restrictions on who can display certain color lights and when. Is it any wonder there is often problems with phony cops?

    And Ty, our legislatures need to deal with many issues while in office, not just those that are important to any one group. Some are big like school budgets and immigration, some less so like voter ID and gun laws, some very small like lights on police cars. It’s the way state law is set up in our constitution.

  • Ty

    Russ.. You are right. I have seen several security companies that put lights on their cars and they should all be run out of business for breaking the law. However the cars in this report have NO light bars at all. On top of that the reporter states that the company is in compliance with all state laws and is licensed. I worked security in the past and the TXDPS-Private Security Bureau regulates the security industry. If there is an issue then State Reps should work with the existing regulatory agency to fix the issue instead of wasting time in the state house or senate.

    • RussP

      They have no light bars but no mention is made one way or the other regarding strobes in the head lights or tail lights or whether there are any red, yellow or blue lights behing the grill or on the rear window deck. I also question the reporters statement that they are in compliance with ALL state laws. it’s very tough to find ALL the laws and there may be reason no representative of the company returned calls,

      As far as the legislator, even if there is a regulatory agency, if she feels a change in the rules is needed, it will have to be done through the legislature; not through the agency.

  • Cookie

    i think we should leave the good guys alone. if the bad guys get nervous and run away then so much the better. as far as the police being more harsh when dealing with the situations that security officers deal with, i’ve seen police officers walk up to parties in apartment complexes where people have to physically carry drunken minors down three flights of stairs and put them in vehicles so they can drive themselves home, parties with so many people that they can’t all fit in a four bedroom apartment and have a live dj, parties where the music is so loud that almost everyone in the complex is disturbed, and the police… they tell them to turn the music down and leave. so harsh, so effective, but can you blame them? they have more important matters to deal with. i think if you’re going to report ‘the facts’ you should check the stats. most police have more important things to do than try to protect private property from vandalism. they don’t have time to respond to every little noise complaint or make sure that apartment complexes are safe. that’s where private security comes in. they can do these things and call the police in if the situation requires it, which most of the time it doesn’t. a security officer’s job is hard enough in these situations and if anything makes it easier, and doesn’t cross the line, then i say let them be.

    • RussP

      Besides the confusion of drivers with all these look alike cars and other vehicles running with red and blue, I also worry about one of these police look a likes driving up on something serious and ending up in a gunfight with the criminals who think they are real cops, especially the security companies that don’t arm their guys.

  • Peter

    Since when is a “Uniformed” Presence on the streets a bad thing? What the public assumes is on the public, and beyond the anyone’s control. Its funny to me that this lady has nothing better to do than complain about a company who is well with their governing body’s regulations. Perhaps her time would be better spent on the companies who are not. Statewide Patrol must have put a lot of money into these vehicles to make them so distinguishable. I for one would much rather hire these guys in the High Speed Low Drag 2011 Dodge Chargers than those guys in the little pizza delivery trucks.

  • http://Yahoo LongRange

    Hey RussP, if you ever feel the need to hire a security firm that looks like a pizza delivery company and who’s uniforms look like milkmen from the’50s, don’t hire Statewide Patrol. If you feel the need to hire the best trained and most professional security firm in the state, hire Statewide Patrol. What you should try to understand is the ” look ” that Statewide Patrol has designed for themselves (the uniform and the vehicles) is the one of the many reasons they are so succesful. I am a patrol officer at one of their branches and yes a bit bias. I can tell you from experiance, that “look” has benifited me more than once and the only lights on my car is two little flashing amber’s mounted in the grill. I’ve never had them on. Our job is observe and report/crime prevention. The car, my uniform and our professional demeanor (aka ‘officer presence) take a major part in the crime prevention side of my job. In a nutshell, criminals see us and most of the time make the decision to leave the property we are paid to protect. And yes, there may come a time, God forbid, that we may roll up on a serious situation. The thought is in my mind every night I’m on patrol. Please rest assure, Statewide Patrol is not your run of the mill security firm. We are required to take alot more training than the state requires. Statewide Patrol also owns thier own training academy. The best advise I can give you is please check us out. You might even be impressed. I know our clients are. Thank you for reading this extremely long reply.

  • Quicklikechucknorris

    AMEN LONGRANGE!!!! Im with you!!! As I am also a commissioned patrol officer with Statewide, If the look of our vehicles and uniform do even the slightest, such as make you slow down when you see us on patrol, is that neccessarily a bad thing? Heck no! The look of our uniforms gain us RESPECT…. we are reffered to as officer and not “hey rent-a-cop!” This lady needs to chill and let us be, we are just doing our jobs as public servants in the private sector. We work ALONG SIDE law-enforcement not behind them! Remember that when you see us around.

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