This article is written to help dispell some of the confusion surrounding the security officer assualt law and to better explain the law that was passed in 2003 for assault on security officers.
Texas Penal Code 22.01b (1) (3), The Assualt Against a Security Officer Law, was passed in 2003 and made it a third degree felony to assault a security officer while in uniform, on duty and causing bodily injury. Prior to this, it would have been a “Class A Misdemeanor.” With this new law, assault against a security officer means the same as assault against a peace officer while on duty. Looking at the two professions this law only makes good sense . A security officer’s life and safety is worth the same as a police officer’s-no more and no less.
Many security officer or company owners do not understand the law and question why the third degree felony was not charged when one of their security officers was pushed.
There must be some form of bodily injury for the 3rd degree felony to be charged. Examples of bodily injury that would fall under this law include bruises or marks around the neck, lacerations , open wounds, broken bones or teeth . These types of injuries all constitute bodily injury and would create the third degree charge most likely be accepted by the DA’s office. We must always keep in mind, however, that the reporting street officer must also explain the story correctly to the DA’s office as well.
It’s been my experience in some cases where this was not done right and the DA refused the charges. I have also been my experience where I did not think they would take the charges and they did.
One example was when a Houston security officer, on his way home from work, was assaulted at a convenience store while getting fuel . The DA took the charges because the officer was still in uniform. That the DA would extend this law to protect us to and from work is great news for our profession .
Another question I always ask security company owners and officers is what type of self defense training do you give your security officers? Many of the officers out there do not have the training to perform even basic self defense to protect them in an agressive situation.
If we do not make a stand and start giving our officers additional training in self defense, I am afraid that we are going to see a lot more of our officers getting injured on the job. A basic self defense course can be taught by the local police academy instructor, Dojo or self defense instructor and will give your officers a great feeling of professionalism and safety.
Over the last several years, I have noticed more and more officers and company owners telling me that the proper charges are being filed now and that is a great improvement from where we were a few years ago. However, sometimes we do have to go up the ladder to make this happen. We must always be willing to fight for our officer’s rights when the time comes. It is up to every owner, manager and supervisor to make sure if your security officer is assaulted, you do everything in your power to make sure that your officer’s civil rights are protected and the offender is properly punished.