Gates Security Back in Operation: Administrative Ruling Appealed

One of the reasons given for a 60-day suspension was the lack of sign that says “private security” on Gates Patrol cars.

Gates Security is a popular and responsive private security company that patrols Pacific Palisades. The CEO of Gates is Scott Wagenseller. After a court administrative hearing ruling on October 17, Gates patrol license was temporarily suspended until January 15

CTN spoke to Wagenseller on January 30, and he said, “As of January 15, we’re back in operation.”

His company is appealing the administrative decision that initially suspended the license. A conference hearing is set for the end of February. During that time a date will be set for a Superior Court.

Wagenseller said the appeal will revolve around “why the administrative ruling is wrong.”

In April 2023, the California Department of Consumer Affairs (Bureau of Security and Investigative Services) received anonymous complaints alleging that Gates Security operated in a manner “giving the impression it is connected with a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency.”

Among the complaints received was one made in February 2023 by (MRCA) Ranger Walt Young. Before he retired from MRCA, Young undertook an “investigation” into Gates, including looking at social media posts.

Young’s “screen grabs” showed a Gates security personnel with the word “ranger” on his back, some security cars failed to have “security patrol,” there appeared to be long gun on a dashboard and one of the Gates guys was wearing a gold star-shaped shield with the text “@gs.ranger.patrol out again on trespassing issues.”

At a May 2023 hearing of BSIS against Gates, Young then put side by side photos of Gates Security cars, and vehicles operated by U.S. Border Patrol and California Peace Officers and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Administrative Law Judge Cindy Forman heard the petition and said Gates needed to make sure the vehicles had “Private Security” on them, within 10 days, and that the lettering could be read 50 feet away.

On June 22, 2023, Consumer Service Investigator (BSIS) Adam Diehl performed undercover investigations and visited a parking lot in Pacific Palisades where Gates routinely parks vehicles and found six vehicles had not been painted with “private security” and took a photo.

A week later, Diehl broadened his investigation to Old Conejo Road in Newbury Park and observed six vehicles, none of which had “private security” and photographed the cars.

Testifying at the fall 2023 Consumer Affairs hearing was Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) Executive Director Joe Edmiston. The original complaint against Gates came from the MRCA, a state agency.

At the hearing, Edmiston said he had received several anonymous complaints, but could not produce the complaints, the dates or the times.

Darrell Readyhoff, a senior ranger with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, stated he had seen several Gates vehicles bearing “Ranger Patrol” signage on several occasions. He did not produce photographs.

The reasoning for not allowing “Ranger” on the vehicle was that some residents might be confused that this was an actual government entity and not a private security company.


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