Los Angeles police SWAT surrounded a reportedly unlicensed Tarzana marijuana dispensary for hours the evening of Oct. 22 after responding to an armed robbery/hostage-situation call. The conclusion: the alleged four robbery suspects were nowhere to be found and the pot shop stands to be potentially shut down. Read the full story from CBS.
AEGIS has identified three key problems with this incident. As a Los Angeles-based security company with expertise in cannabusinesses, we remind all current and potential marijuana business owners — whether you have a dispensary, cultivation facility, distribution hub, or manufacturing facility — to follow the law and know your security needs.
#1: The pot shop was unlicensed. All cannabis-related industries need to be licensed. All cannabis-related businesses need security.
In terms of site security, marijuana dispensaries in California are required to have video surveillance systems and on-site security. However, each city has specific requirements, as do some counties. For example, shops in Costa Mesa have to submit security plans to be reviewed by the police department. Prop 64-compliant sites must have, at minimum, a “complete digital video surveillance system in accordance with the approved security plan with a minimum camera resolution of 1280 × 1024 pixels” per the city government. Additionally, security cameras need to be able to be monitored remotely.
The use of contracted security personnel by pot shops is also required in the Los Angeles. In hiring a professional service that is consistently monitoring the location, ensuring all required gates and doors are locked, and watching surveillance footage as needed, cannabis industry business owners gain the ability to be secure in their cash-handling and product storage.
#2: The dispensary didn’t have identified security officers.
Not only are physical security personnel required by law, they are an organization’s best option for having informed personnel to report an incident or crime to an emergency dispatcher and police presence. The primary responsibility of security officers is to observe and report, and their training is centered around this task.
Additionally, security officers are able to communicate from their sheer presence as highly visible individuals in the area is under surveillance. When you have officers for a 24/7 commitment, you have an officer walking the premises, watching the entrances or driving the perimeter signal to the community that the area is protected. This will deter trespassers and ensure the safety of those on the property.
#3: IF the suspects who robbed the dispensary were armed, the site was ultimately unprepared without any security officers, let alone armed security officers. High-stakes product needs the most capable form of security, including armed officers.
Armed officers have a unique position in the security world because they are equipped with the a weapon. While their primary purpose is to observe and report, they are also in a position to deescalate threats more directly than unarmed colleagues.
Armed security officers are licensed by the Bureau of Security & Investigative Services and must have both a valid guard card and exposed firearm permit. At AEGIS, officers are also required to obtain non-deadly measures of deescalation tools such as baton, pepper spray, and taser licenses.
The most useful element of using armed security for marijuana dispensaries is that should an armed threat occur, they have the immediate means by which to protect the site, clients, and staff. In yesterday’s situation where hostages were reported, an armed officer would have been a strong option to deter an armed or unarmed perpetrator as well as to respond with the necessary force to prevent the situation from worsening.
The bottomline: get physical security for your legal cannabusiness today
The use of contracted security personnel for marijuana facilities is required in the Los Angeles. Hiring AEGIS as your professional service ensures your business is consistently monitored, that all points of access are cleared and locked, and that all surveillance footage is reviewed. Additionally, we ensure our security officers are compliant with the State of California and City of Los Angeles and maintain an active American Red Cross First Aid card.
AEGIS hires armed and unarmed security officers who can be outfitted in highly visible uniforms or plain clothes, depending on your needs. We offer dedicated patrol vehicles to accompany our officers in the field. Additionally, we utilize a 24/7 web-based command and control system for scheduling, dispatch, training, patrol management, and activity reports to ensure our officers, management team, and clients are constantly connected and in the know. Each officer assigned to a client is issued a site-specific set of post orders, but we also offer a standardized set of post orders from which clients can build and tailor to their needs.
AEGIS hires top-notch security professionals who have experience and undergo additional training from our company. We develop post orders that suit our clients’ needs and work as a team to meet and exceed their expectations. Additionally, we have a growing staff of armed officers who have military and law enforcement experience who are prepared to take on the challenge of protecting your inventory.
Our security officers function as the face of your business in addition to security, maintaining positive relationships and creating new ones. AEGIS officers are the first people customers and guests see when they arrive and the last they see when they leave. Reliability, professionalism, and the ability to adapt and react in a dynamic setting are a must. We work with only the best and brightest staff, translating to a superior service our clients respect and appreciate.
For more information on cannabis and security, check out these AEGIS blog posts.
- Cannabis security in California — The basics
- Information on U.S. Customs and Border Protection laws pertaining to pot
- What AEGIS can do for you
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
By Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner