Morrison, First Alarm manager, runs in Calif.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

MONTEREY, Calif.--Michael Morrison, manager of the guard and patrol division for First Alarm Security & Patrol's Monterey branch, is running for a seat in California's General Assembly, one half of California's legislative branch, having won the Republican Party District 27 primary, unopposed. Morrison currently serves on the Marina, Calif., City Council, in his second term, and he will be challenging Democratic incumbent John Laird.
The June 6 primary results may indicate the uphill battle Morrison acknowledges he faces. While both candidates were unopposed in their primaries, Laird received 34,993 votes of support, while Morrison received 16,755, indicating there perhaps exists a larger Democratic base from which Laird can draw.
However, "We have a very good chance of beating the incumbent," Morrison said. If he does so, Morrison said he would have to resign his position with First Alarm, and likely give up his own business, Lionheart Security Consulting, which offers armed guarding services to the likes of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and foreign dignitaries who travel to California.
"If I win, it's a full time job being in the state assembly," he said. "I'd have to go live in Sacramento."
So why give up 25 years in security for politics?
"I enjoy politics," he said, "particularly that I'm able to help people, which should be the true calling." He noted that California only allows assemblymen to serve six years at a time, so it would be unlikely that it would turn into a new career.
Specific to security, he would like to increase licensing requirements for security professionals. "There are a lot of rogue companies out there who don't keep up with the training," he said. "I'd like to see a lot more crackdown." Further, he said he'd like to see more requirements for becoming an armed guard. "I'm an ex-cop," he said, "so I think it's bull that someone can take an eight-hour class and go down to the local gun shop and get a weapon."
He said he remained on the fence about whether proprietary security personnel, like those employed by a nightclub or hotel, should be licensed. He thought it wasn't a good thing, however, that no background check or training was required for people who might be in sensitive areas, particularly in a hotel.
In the end, he said, "As we require more training, we're going to professionalize our industry. Being an officer should be more of a career than a job."