COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state is launching a voluntary accreditation program for Ohio's licensed private investigators and companies that provide security services.

The program's standards were developed last fall by the Department of Public Safety's Private Investigator Security Guard Services unit.

Brandon Gardner, the unit's executive director, says the goal is to raise standards in a profession often tasked with protecting major facilities including sports arenas.

The standards include use of force policies for firms that employ armed guards and conducting fair and professional employee recruiting.

Other standards require companies to evaluate employees properly and regularly to reduce the field's high turnover rate and to maintain proper bookkeeping.

The International Foundation of Protection Officers will help participating companies meet the standards.

Ohio has about 25,000 security guards and private investigators.