NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One of the country’s largest employers admitted to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) it did not properly license 309 of their employees serving as private security personnel across the state.
In a consent order following a state investigation, Allied Universal Security Services was fined more than $185,000 for employing these individuals for “over a six-month period between 2022 and 2023 without proper registrations or pending applications.”
The consent order references two complaints sent to the department over the past couple of years expressing concern about the extent of unlicensed employees.
“You will notice an influx of applications between within the last two weeks and all of the individuals have been working prior to it,” one complaint read.
“Allied Universal Memphis Office is hiring security officers and letting them go to post without being licensed…I would not be surprised if the Nashville office is also negligent on licensing as well,” another person wrote.
The investigation and consent order comes after a 2021 incident in Memphis when an Allied Universal security guard at a Kroger in Memphis allegedly shot and killed man who was pumping gas after the two argued about loud music coming from the victim’s car.
“A heartless killing of a young man who was armed only with a can of beer and a cigarette,” said civil rights attorney Ben Crump at the time.
Former security guard Gregory Livingston was indicted by a grand jury in 2021 on a first-degree murder charge for shooting and killing Alvin Motley Jr. at the Kroger.
According to state records, Livingston did not have the appropriate license at the time of Motley’s death to serve as an armed security guard.
TDCI cited Allied Universal $23,000 for employing Livingston without the appropriate licensing.
“He should have never been retained by the security company to be in the role,” said Memphis NAACP President Van Turner in 2021.
In a statement to News 2, TDCI said they are committed to upholding all licensing requirements for those who provide security services in Tennessee.
“When TDCI’s Division of Regulatory Board team discovered unlicensed activities related to hundreds of individuals working as security guards without proper licensure, we investigated the matter, we asked hard questions of their employer, and we took disciplinary action that is equivalent to the severity of the violations that occurred. We urge Tennessee consumers who have information related to illegal and unlicensed activity to file complaints with us at tn.gov/commerce. “TDCI
Allied Universal told News 2 they are dedicated to protect and serve to the best of their ability and were in full compliance with state officials.
In this instance the company provided its full cooperation with the Tennessee licensing department and self-reported fully the findings of our internal investigation. Our team also met with the assistant commissioner to review in detail the company’s investigation and the corrective and remedial actions taken by the company. Moreover, there was no allegation of untrained security personnel, and there was no finding or sanction at all by the agency relating to any guard training issues. This matter has been resolved satisfactorily by all parties.Allied Universal spokesperson
The requirements for a private security guard in Tennessee can be found here.