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Utah Department of Corrections

U. student death brings up questions of security guard screening

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - Oct. 25, 2018 at 12:25 p.m.

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — The man accused of killing Utah student athlete Lauren McCluskey worked as a security guard at a Salt Lake City bar in the weeks before the shooting. The security company now faces questions because a convicted felon cannot be licensed as a security guard.

KSL discovered that the security company Melvin Rowland worked for didn’t have a license either.

Rowland had reportedly worked security at a bar in Salt Lake City this fall, as a contract worker for Black Diamond Security Group. Neither he nor the company had a license, and the security company were already under investigation by the state.

“If a security officer does something inappropriate, it affects us all. It makes everybody look bad,” said Rob Anderton, chairman of the Professional Alliance of Contract Security Companies.

Anderton has been working in the security profession more than four decades. He literally helped write the book on training standards for security officers in Utah. Anderton said no reputable security company would ever hire a convicted sex offender who spent 9 of the last 14 years in prison, as Rowland did.

“No one that has been convicted of a felony will be licensed — period, end of discussion,” Anderton said. “That goes back to 1994.”

So, how does a security company hire a convicted felon who was paroled in April? The Black Diamond Security Group has yet to answer KSL’s calls. Anderton, though said he finds the situation hard to believe.

“I don’t know,” he said. “They’re evidently not too concerned about their clients taking shortcuts.”

Anderton said he noticed Black Diamond Security advertising for guards a few months ago. He discovered they did not have a license by checking the Utah Department of Professional Licensing and filed a complaint with the Department of Commerce, which confirmed it was investigating.

On Thursday afternoon, the Utah Department of Commerce filed a cease and desist order against Black Diamond.

Anderton recommended that anyone hiring security guards should look the company up on the Department of Professional Licensing website.

“You want a company that is licensed,” he said. “If you’re licensed in the state, you go through an FBI background check.”

Anderton said it appeared to him that did not happen with Rowland.

Officials with the University of Utah Department of Public Safety confirmed that Rowland worked as a bouncer, but did not specify where.

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Jed Boal


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