Gates Security Logo

Notice of BSIS action against Gates Security, et al.

November 2023


Notice of BSIS action against Gates Security, et al.

Recently Gates Security has suffered from an unprecedented government attack on its patrol operations because of a single accusation by Joe Edmiston, Executive Director the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.  The accusation lodged by Joe Edmiston lists a single issue, impersonation of a police officer.  The complaint rests primarily on Gates Security marketing and social media efforts used to promote our Ranger Patrol services.

State Park Arrest

The first attack against Gates Security and Scott Wagenseller was attempted in May 2022 by State Park Ranger Darryl Readyhoff.  He performed a traffic stop on Scott Wagenseller on the 101 freeway in Calabasas and presented charges to the LA County DA for driving a 1994 Ford Bronco with state required company name and license number that had the words ‘Ranger Patrol’ and for transporting a shotgun in a locked rifle rack.  In November 2022 the court dismissed the case.

MRCA Creates a False Narrative

Following that unsuccessful attack, Joe Edmiston directed his Deputy Chief Walt Young to create and submit a 10-page accusation to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) in March 2023. The accusation listed a singular issue of impersonation of a police officer and consisted of 30 internet photos used to market the company’s security and ranger services.  Many photos showed Wagenseller and Griffen Dietrich, Patrol Manager for Gates Security, performing various security duties on patrol with 4×4 trucks, ATVS and drones recovering stolen property, assisting police and fire services and thwarting criminal acts on client property.   Joe Edmiston and Walt Young created a false narrative of the actions in the photos and overstated many aspects of patrol operations in Gates Security.  There were many fabricated statements with no verification or substantiating evidence.

Acting on the accusation, BSIS Inspector Adam Diehl completed a covert investigation on the company and produced 10 photos showing the current vehicle graphics for a Palisades Patrol car, a Gates Security company ID card and included photos from the dismissed Readyhoff arrest in May 2022.  No violations by any other Gates Security employee was discovered.

Emergency Interim Suspension Hearing

Using the MRCA accusation, in April 2023 the BSIS submitted an emergency petition for an interim suspension order (ISO) for all licenses assigned to Gates Security, Scott Wagenseller and Griffen Dietrich.  This would include BSIS licenses that were not affiliated with nor connected with the MRCA accusation and where Diehls investigation discovered no violations.

Gates Security and Scott Wagenseller have several licenses with BSIS;

  1. Private Patrol Operators (PPO 14191)
  2. Alarm Company Operators (ACO 6002)
  3. Firearms Training Facility (TFF 1067)
  4. Scott Wagenseller – PPO QM 425, ACQ 5538, TFI 1598, Firearms 2634938

At the conclusion of the ISO hearing, the judge ruled May 5, 2023:

  1. No license suspensions. Evidence and testimony were unsubstantiated and lacked merit.
  2. Company was to add Private Security or Security Patrol to the rear of each patrol car or truck.
  3. Employees do not carry any long guns or shotguns to avoid looking like law enforcement.
  4. Employees are to wear approved company uniforms.
  5. Company to render inoperative any sirens in vehicles.

By May 15th, Gates Security ordered and affixed ‘Gates Private Security’ to the rear bumper of each car or truck and confirmed there were no working sirens in any patrol car.  No changes to uniforms, badges or patches were made since uniformed employees were already compliant and no long guns or shotguns were transported in patrol cars.  All conditions of the interim suspension order were met in the time frame required.

Formal Administrative Hearing

The emergency interim suspension request was followed by a formal administrative hearing on August 9 and 10, 2023.

The hearing was held by Zoom to hear the MRCA accusation and the BSIS added allegation that Gates Security, Wagenseller and Dietrich had failed to comply with the ISO.  All the claims, stories and overstated complaints were repeated.  Testifying at the hearing was Joe Edmiston, State Ranger Darryl Readyhoff and BSIS investigator Adam Diehl.

Joe Edmiston testified that anonymous complaints were sent into the MRCA from unnamed sources regarding unspecified issues at Temescal Canyon Park and that he thought Gates Security officers were responsible.  He could not specify the nature of the complaint, the dates or the identity of the complainants.  He felt that because Gates Security used the words Ranger Patrol on certain vehicles that the complaints must have been directed at Gates officers and not his staff.

State Park Ranger Darryl Readyhoff testified and admitted that his May 2022 arrest resulted in a dismissal because Scott Wagenseller was a federal law enforcement officer and was exempt from state laws restricting the carrying/transporting of firearms.  He had no other incidents or issues to cite in his testimony.

BSIS staffer Adam Diehl testified that he completed a covert investigation on the operations of the company in June and reported that one patrol car had a long rifle in a rifle rack weeks after the ISO decision and that patrol officers carried ID cards with state laws printed on the back that he felt did not apply to security guards.  He went on to also report that several cars did not have the words ‘Private Security’ on the rear bumper.  He could produce no photos, no evidence, and no additional witnesses to substantiate his claims.

Mr. Diehl went on to testify that Gates Security officers were not permitted to assist public safety officials and that any action was considered interference with public safety.  He testified that private security was not permitted to help the public and were restricted to servicing their clients only.  Community service and public service was not permitted by BSIS and was considered impersonation of a peace officer.

Gates Security Position

A Ventura City Police Sergeant testified in defense of Gates Security reporting that they had been a valued partner in fighting crime and wildfires in the open space areas of the Santa Clara River where a large community of transients had been living for many years and was growing.  Crime and wildfires were an ongoing issue on client property that Gates Security was able to mitigate and minimize.

A Ventura County Arson Investigator testified in defense of Gates Security reporting that the ranger patrol operations were helping their department to find answers and suspects related to recent arson investigations and that the weekly contact and reporting method used by Gates Security officers was extremely helpful to their efforts to minimize wildfires and apprehend arsonists in the area.

Gates Security, Wagenseller, and Dietrich were successful in proving to the judge that there were no firearms violations of any sort. All 3 of those accusations were ruled in our favor.

3 Action Lanes for Patrol Officers

Scott Wagenseller described Gates Security’s ‘3 action lanes’ policy that is used to train patrol officers for effective prevention and protection of client’s interest, their property and clients quality of life.

3 Action Lanes was created to help officers focus on priorities and performance.  These action lanes are;

  1. Clients and company come first. Officers shall (required action) take action to prevent and protect client and company interests.
  2. Public safety assistance. Officers should (encouraged by not required) take action to protect public safety officials in the performance of their duties.
  3. Servant Leadership. Officers may (officers’ discretion) take action, using their professional presence and verbal skills to prevent or minimize problems that threaten a clients quality of life in the community.

Wagenseller pointed out that Gates Security had 20 years of unblemished operations and passed a full BSIS inspection in 2021 with no violations.  Further the company is using BSIS approved uniforms, patches, badges and patrol cars.

Wagenseller showed that BSIS overstated several positions and fabricated perceptions and stories to create violations that did not exist.  One example of a false violation was claiming that Dietrich was impersonating a police officer by attending a Malibu Fire Safety Expo.  An overstatement was claiming Gates officers were impersonating because they assisted at community disasters such as brush fires or car crashes.  A complete fabrication by BSIS agent Diehl was reporting that the company had failed to comply with the ISO order by not adding private security to the bumper of all its patrol cars.

As required by the suspension order, a copy of the order can be found here: