Monday, August 29, 2005

Security Personnel

Night Club Security Personnel

Once again, security personnel must utilize the written policies, and goals of the establishment. They must keep them in mind when dealing with problems that may arise. A rogue security employee will cost an establishment thousands, if not millions, of dollars during the lifetime of the establishment.

As stated earlier, security should always have on proper attire. Without it, persons involved in problems may believe that security is just another patron getting involved. The proper attire for a security uniform is bright, distinguishing colors. A patron’s belief of safety comes from a visual presence of security. According to our survey’s, patrons visualizing security feel more comfortable in a nightclub or a bar.

Always make sure your place of business is in compliance with the State and Federal fire codes. In addition, such information should be displayed prominently throughout the establishment. Security personnel MUST know where the fire exits are located throughout the establishment. Fire exits must never be blocked in any way. Security in designated areas should be aware of patrons opening exit doors. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. This is often done by patrons to allow other persons who were not properly admitted to enter the bar. This could also be done because a patron needs some fresh air or feels sick. If this is the case, the patrons should be directed to the proper exit. If the exit door is opened for a special reason, or for establishment purposes, all staff should be advised and the open door should be monitored by a security person assigned to that designated area. After the summer of 2002, we all know the deadly effects that a fire can have on a popular drinking establishment.

Each security person should be designated a position during their shift, i.e., a certain area or job. Some positions should be roaming, some stationary. These positions should often be switched, as this prevents a security person from becoming too comfortable with certain patrons in their area and becoming complacent in their designated area. If the security personnel are new to an assigned position, such as the front door, they should be shadowed by an experienced security person. This should be done until the trainee feels comfortable with their new position.

1 If possible, station security in a way that allows them to face the crowd with their backs to the wall. This provides full frontal vision and does not allow for anything to happen behind the security person. Elevation boxes should be used only when no other vantage point for visibility is available. If elevation boxes are used, only security should be allowed on these boxes. NO patrons should be allowed on top of these elevation boxes for ANY reason. ABSOLUTELY NO CHAIRS should be placed on top of the boxes for security to sit on.

1 Security should NOT focus on certain areas that are NOT their responsibility (dance floors, gaming tables, an attractive person, etc.). Although personnel should be aware of a security situation that goes unseen by the security in another designated area. In this situation, radios should be used to communicate the problem to the appropriate security personnel. EVERY area of the establishment should be "manned" or accounted for.

2 If billiards or gaming tables are in the designated area, security personnel should take notice of possible gambling.

3 Often, at the billiard tables, disputes may arise over "who is next?” The establishment should supply means of establishing order (a sign-up chalk board works nicely). If accusations still occur, handle accordingly.

4 If heavy congestion occurs in a designated area which must be kept clear, security must keep patrons from remaining in the area (stairs, entrances, etc.). Security should explain the policy to the patron(s) and ask politely for the patron(s) to relocate. The service area of the bar should always be kept clear for waitresses and security. This service area allows for constant service of drinks, which improves profits. Patrons should be asked to stay out of this area for reasons stated above.

5 If certain areas become more populated, the Security Manager or security should make proper adjustments in the security positions.

6 Restroom activity should always be incorporated into the security realm. Such things to look for are: recognizing two people in one stall, drugs being exchanged, fights being initiated, opposite sex in designated bathrooms, overflowing toilets, damage that has or is being done by patrons, bottles and drinking glasses laying around, and general cleanliness. Make a note of patrons that may be standing outside opposite sex restrooms. This often makes women feel uneasy, when certain men are standing outside their restroom. This may sound a bit eccentric, but it was found in many surveys conducted with security personnel.

7 Allowing minors into an establishment increases the establishment’s risk dramatically. If the establishment admits minors and continues to serve alcohol to the adults, the procedure MUST be very closely monitored. A security person should attend to each designated area’s entrance and exit. The markings for adults should be distinguished to allow access in the designated area. A simple "X" with a black marker, which is often used, should be eliminated. This is too easily duplicated. The marking should be nontransferable. A sequential fluorescent marking is a good idea. If sequential marking is used and minors attempt to transfer it to their hand, the sequential marking will be transposed backwards. ABSOLUTELY NO MINORS SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN DESIGNATED ALCOHOL DRINKING AREAS.

8 Depending on the situation, cigarette machines should be monitored for minors attempting to purchase cigarettes.


Security personnel’s interaction with the customers should be a constant. However, security should always remain attentive to their surroundings. Befriending customers turns them into advocates in support of security (20 friendly customers see more than one security person). When a patron would like to speak with security, DO NOT remove your eyes from the designated area. Simply place your ear in front of them while your eyes view your designated area. Explain to the patron that you are not being rude. You are just very busy and you boss is strict in observing your duty.
A friendly handshake is completely acceptable and a great way of doing business. Befriending the customer allows for another set of "eyes and ears" for security purposes.


Hopefully, you are not reading this manual hoping to find the picture perfect reaction to an incident. There is no such thing. Every incident that occurs in an establishment will be different. How you handle yourself in verbal situations will be different for every occasion. The amount of force you use for every physical incident will be different. There is no martial art that teaches you Hollywood tricks of pinching a person behind the neck and knocking that unruly person out. Anyone who watches professional boxing has seen professionals, who train for months for a fight, get in the ring, and forget their whole game plan. Their trainer yells at them, in between rounds, to “stick to the game plan” but yet they have forgotten months of training. This is human nature. When adrenaline takes over, and your memory is replaced by fear, it is so important to relate back to training. So, forget the fantasy land of kung-fu kicks and let’s get to it.

The big question in many minds of security personnel is “what am I allowed to do verbally, or physically, to a patron when I am involved in a hostile situation?” The answer is simple: SELF-DEFENSE.
1 For Example: when no physical touching has been perpetrated against security, security may only use that force necessary to remove someone from the establishment’s premises, or use force necessary to cease any unruly activity that the patron may be committing.
2 when a physical touching has occurred, security may use necessary force to remove the patron from the establishment. NEVER USE EXCESSIVE FORCE! Since everyone is so lawsuit happy today, security will not get away with a good ole’ fashion ass whoopin’ like establishments use to allow.


1 Example: Security may use physical force against an aggressor in a physical situation involving other persons. If one patron is on top of another patron striking them, security personnel has the right to use physical force in the defense of the patron receiving the physical strikes. Think of this as the “big brother defense.” Once again, NEVER USE EXCESSIVE FORCE!

Responding to a physical altercation:

Security personnel should be responsible for responding to altercations in their designated area. The whole staff should not respond to one incident in a certain area, unless needed. A security person ratio of 4:2 is usually sufficient (4 Security: 2 Patrons).

1 First and foremost, get the attention of fellow security, or an employee to relay the message, in the event of an incident. Relay the message twice over the radio. Example: "Fight on the dance floor, fight on the dance floor."

2 Security should NOT run through a crowd in an uncontrollable manner when responding to any type of situation. This type of behavior can create other reckless situations (knocking down patrons, spilling drinks, and drawing more attention to the situation). Security should not draw attention to matters. This only makes crowd control more difficult. In a controlled manner, move as quickly as possible to the situation.

3 Upon arriving at the incident, assess the situation and determine:
Ø who is the aggressor?

Ø how many patrons are involved?

Ø are there any weapons?

Ø can the situation be defeated with the removal or grabbing of one person?

**These assessments need to be made in a matter of seconds.

1 After arriving and making assessments, USE PROPER PROCEDURES AND REMEMBER SELF DEFENSE, NO CHEAP SHOTS ON THE UNSUSPECTING PATRON!! Use loud verbal commands (STOP!, SECURITY!), while continuing to identify yourself. Properly secure the unruly patrons, and then remove them through the nearest exit. This is done to minimize the disruption and potential for violence. After restraining the person(s), do not subject patrons to possible unintended injury, assault, and/or battery. If the fighting patron is “locking up” or resisting security must physically remove them. While removing the fighting patron, reassure them the phrase “let’s talk it outside.” Approaching patrons from the back is a discretionary call. Some of the security interviewed for this manual recommended this technique, claiming the element of surprise. Others like to be seen, helping security to establish to the fighting patrons who is grabbing them.

2 When escorting the unruly patron out, if you are not physically removing them, use the blade method. The blade method is used by law enforcement around the nation. Blade is properly done by standing, or walking, behind the person you are controlling. You should be positioned at a 45-degree angle off of their hip, or at their 5 or 7 o’clock. Do NOT stand directly behind them in case of retaliation, unless their arms are secured. An unruly patron could turn and strike the unsuspecting security personnel with a strike directly to the body.

3 After removing the unruly person, use the “fresh face” approach, if necessary. The “fresh face” approach is used when the unruly patron is angry with the security personnel who physically removed them. This approach involves having someone other than the security personnel who brought the unruly patron out, interview that person. This approach is good for distinguishing any animosity that might have formed against the security.


5 Before beginning the interview, allow the unruly patron to settle down. Most of us have been in a situation where the adrenaline is pumping and anger has set in. Security should not tell the patron to “calm down,” instead they should use “slow down.” Using “slow down” instead of “calm down” seems less of an order. It is a play on words, but it is proven to work.

6 When beginning the interview, make sure you are in a good interview (defensive) stance. Your body should be at a 45 degree angle to the patron. Hands freely available and unobstructed. For defense purposes, keep a personal space (3 feet) between you and the unruly patron.

7 When interviewing the unruly customer, get the vital information first. Explain who you are and ask for his identification. Assure them that the ID check is simply for your comfort in knowing whom you are speaking to. When they issue the ID, write down the following information: name, address, and date of birth. After a positive identification has been obtained, gather the facts. Do not begin to copy the information while patron is still very upset, you don’t want to leave yourself open for an unsuspecting attack. If a party physically cannot or will not sign the document, have a friend or witness sign the report. Make sure you document on the report that the person refused to sign.

8 After information is gathered, assess the level of hostility of that patron. Security should expect hostility from an angry patron, but if the hostility is directed at security, or any staff member, that patron must leave.

9 Inside the establishment fellow security should talk to witnesses in or around the area where the customer was causing the problem and/or acting unruly. Be professional and ask the patron(s) for their assistance in documentation. Simply bring the patron(s) to a designated area, offer a complimentary non-alcoholic drink, and ask for a brief statement of what occurred. Always remember to document each person’s name, address and phone number. If a social security number is available, this is a better form of identification because it will never change, unlike an address or a phone number. These few minutes and a complimentary drink could save you millions of dollars in a future lawsuit. This also shows the patron(s), and the public, that you are professionals and very thorough in your security habits.

10 **If security, or the person in charge, does not feel comfortable with a situation (someone has been seriously injured, or there is minimal staff working) - call the police. This is what the police are paid to do. Once the person in charge has decided to call the police, inform the unruly patron of this. For example: approach the unruly patron(s) and say, “Sir, our policy is to ask you to leave. If you do not leave, the police will be called. Once we have called the police, it is our establishment’s policy to have you arrested. If you attempt to leave, after we have called, we will give them a description to the 911 operator as you drive away.” If they choose to remain on the property, after the 911 call, the establishment should follow through with the arrest.


1 Alert the other security and employees of a possible intoxicated person.

2 Determine that patron is highly intoxicated, and then approach the patron and ask to speak with them privately. Be respectful, but firm. If the patron asks, “why?” make any excuse necessary to get them to an area where you can speak with them.

3 Use proper interviewing techniques. Ask the patron questions concerning their level of intoxication. Security should note the patron’s body language during the interview. Security should expect some resistance from the highly intoxicated patron, this is normal.

4 If the patron is highly intoxicated tell them of the establishment’s policy and inform them that they must leave. Reassure them, if they have been respectful, that they are invited back after tonight, but the policy of the establishment and the law state that they must be asked to leave. Always blame the law; it forms a great excuse that isn’t your fault.

5 If the patron is not highly intoxicated, handle accordingly.

(c) 2005 Excelsior Entertainment

Front Door Security

Front Door Security

A large part of setting the tone for a patron’s visit to a nightclub is the greeting. This includes the greeting process that makes the customers feel welcome. REMEMBER, THIS IS A CUSTOMER SERVICE BUSINESS. A front door security person helps dictate the type of patron your establishment serves. First time customers that become return customers allow the bar to survive and profit.

NOTE: Do NOT be relaxed in assigning the position of front door security. This person traditionally validates every person inside the nightclub and begins the enforcement of every establishment policy. The nightclub/bar/restaurant should assign their most responsible and trustworthy person to this position. It is not recommended that the establishment hire individuals from local gangs, athletes from a local college, or fraternity brothers- these persons typically allow rules to be violated after receiving pressure from friends.


If the situation dictates, someone must watch, walk, and control the waiting line. Such things to be aware of are: passing of ID’s, monitoring the dress code, and filtering out unruly or intoxicated customers. This designated security person can answer any questions patrons might have. A patron may find out before their wait that they will not be admitted due to a certain club policy, and this allows for the patron to save time and aggravation by not having to wait in line. Once again, have the nightclub/bar/restaurant rules and dress code posted in or near entrances and easily visible.


Examples of Improper greetings:

"Good evening. Three dollars."

When a male and female enter the club, "How you doing tonight 'guys'."

A group of ladies, "How ya’ doin’ tonight girls."

Examples of Proper greetings:

Male and female approach the front entrance: "Good evening folks, how are you this evening?" (Response). Then ask: “May I please see your ID?”

When women approach, "Good evening ladies, how are you this evening?" (Response). Then ask: “May I please see your ID?”

When gentlemen approach, "Good evening gentlemen, how are you this evening?" (Response). Then ask: “May I please see your ID?”

Hopefully you see the difference between the two. If you can not establish the difference, then do not work the front door!


· Dress Codes should be advertised in the commercials for the establishment. CLOTHES HELP DETERMINE THE MOOD OF THE PERSON. For example, we have all been out in different attire, and know that when wearing a suit our behavior is more mature.

· Collar shirts increase the status of the patron, and sweaters also fall into this category. A higher status of the patron results in better economics and longevity where the area can support it.

· Hats are mostly worn by younger generation patrons. Many nightclubs/bars have discovered that by not allowing hats they have attracted a more mature crowd. Hats tend to represent groups/or athletic teams which make issuing adversary opinions that much easier. For example: a person wearing a Yankee’s hat in an establishment in Boston. Establishments that make patrons remove restricted items (hats, bandanas, etc.) should monitor for these items appearing back on the individual throughout the night. This person should be addressed once as a reminder, and if the act is conducted again, the patron should be removed.

· Sports jerseys are currently a very popular form of clothing worn by the younger crowd. These show support for teams in sports bars. However, in a dance club these could be used to show a meaning of "colors."

· Oversized (baggy) jeans are worn primarily by the younger generation. This presents an alternative look. However, this look may make it easier to conceal weapons.

· Cutoff jeans are a much more "rough look" than a full-length jean short. This type of look sometimes carries the idea that "I don't care how I look, so therefore I don't care how I act."

· Jeans show a sign of being less than formal. They are considered middle class attire and are preferred by many Americans while frequenting bars.

· When dealing with revealing attire, discretionary decisions should be used.

A dress code is just one way of correcting a problem situation. If a certain group of patrons, who often cause problems, have a tendency to wear certain attire just implement a dress code. A dress code has not been found by law to be discriminating, although it is a very good way to keep certain problem groups from entering your place of business.

(c) 2005 Excelsior Entertainment - Security Behind Bars
For more information on Nightclub Security Training including Front Door Security, go to

Monday, August 22, 2005

Coat Check - Nightclub Security

Coat check is a luxury that is offered at the establishment’s discretion. Some establishments make coat check mandatory, but others allow it to be optional. If your establishment makes a coat check mandatory, make sure this is relayed to the patrons before entering the establishment and paying a cover. This prevents patrons who do not wish to check their coats from walking back out to their cars to secure their jackets and then attempting to avoid the identification line the second time.

If an establishment does perform a coat check, whether mandatory or not, they should be aware of the Rule of Bailments. The establishment is responsible for coats and even items in the pockets of the coats. This is called the Rule of Bailments and, in most states, the establishment cannot disclaim this responsibility, no matter what the establishment’s posted signs may say.
The Rule of Bailments states: a delivery of goods or personal property, by one person (bailor) to another (bailee), in trust for the execution of a special object upon or in relation to such goods (jacket, coat), beneficial either to the bailor or bailee or both, and upon a contract, express or implied, to perform the trust and carry out such objects, and thereupon either to redeliver the goods to the bailor or otherwise dispose of the same in conformity with the purpose of the trust. In another words, a patron (bailor) places their coat (property) in possession of the establishment’s (bailee) coatroom. The establishment becomes responsible for that item and the items attached or contained within.

The establishment MUST inform the patrons that any valuable property must be spoken for or retained by the patron themselves. If something of value is left in the pocket or in the coat, write the owner's name and item on the back of the issuing ticket. As the true owner, make sure to verify the possession of any item stored in the jacket pocket upon return.


  1. Hangers and ticket identification should be assembled in numerical order prior to the opening of the establishment.

  2. Have the number facing the opposite way of the ticket window so that the customer who receives the ticket is the only person with knowledge of that number. This prevents "visual verification" theft from another patron.

  3. The patron should be advised to place the ticket in a pocket they do not use, or in a secure place, such as a wallet or purse. The money area of a wallet is a bad idea due to the fact that the patron will be constantly using this area while exchanging money for drinks. These ideas should be posted near the coat check.

  4. Reinforce the policy that the ticket is mandatory for the return of their jacket.

  5. The coat check person should always ask for a description of the garment prior, to retrieving it, for authenticity of the claimee's (person claiming the item) ticket.

  6. Always verify coat/ item being returned to an owner. Example: "Upon receiving the proper ticket, ask: Is this it (the person’s item)?"

The money and tip jar should be kept out of reach of patrons. The coat person is constantly away from the window, and this allows the tips to be taken by a patron who sees an easy getaway through the nearby exit.

DO NOT double hang jackets on one hanger and then issue a single claiming ticket. The reason for this is that the two people involved may leave at different times (possibly after an argument between the two of them). If one party leaves and takes the single ticket, the other party is left without a ticket and without proof that the establishment has their jacket. If party wishes to double hang, make sure two tickets are issued.

The establishment should require that oversized jackets should be required to be checked at the coat check. This reduces the possibility of concealment of illicit items or such items that may have been stolen while inside of the establishment. Also, this reduces the availability to conceal a weapon in the establishment.


The following will provide some an example situation that may occur with a problem patron and how security should react in these situations. Some Situation/Reactions are repetitive of the above information, but it is essential that this is how security reacts.

Situation: A person attempts to claim a jacket without proof of ownership.
Reaction: Reveal to the customer the establishment’s policy of returning items without proof. Explain that for insurance reasons the establishment may not return items without proper proof. Ask them to write their name and a phone number they could be reached at the following day. If the following day, there is an item that was not claimed and fits the description that was given the prior evening, call the claimant and have them come to recover the item. MAKE SURE THEY SIGN A PROPERTY RELEASE FORM CLAIMING THE OWNERSHIP OF THE ITEM.
Always check with an attorney familiar with your state laws. The word Bailment could be synonymous with another legal term in your state.

(c) 2005 Excelsior Entertainment
To learn more about Nightclub Security, go to

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Identification Process




Ø If the patron hands security their entire wallet, politely ask persons to remove the ID from the wallet. If a patron refuses or gives excuse why it won't come out, DENY ENTRY. Altered or fraudulent ID's are disguised within a covered holder much easier than when presented alone. While the patron with the ID in their wallet is removing ID, announce to the patrons that are waiting in line to have ID's outside of wallets and purses so they may be viewed freely by the door security. This process of identification removal speeds up the entering process, while eliminating congestion. Also, this deters patrons who possess and who might attempt to use a fraudulent ID.

· Lighting should be very good. If lighting is bad, supplemental lighting should be provided (6 inch flashlight). This will make it easier for the door person to discover any alterations to an ID.



First, always look at the person presenting an ID before viewing their ID. A good trait for security to establish is to look at the name on the ID. After inspecting the ID for validity, recognize the first name and then wish that person a “good night.” Example: Security sees the ID and confirms that it is valid, recognizes that her name is Jamie. While handing the ID back to the patron security says: "Enjoy your evening, Jamie."


NOTE: Intentional impersonation (someone using another person's ID), as opposed to an altered ID, is the most common form of attempting access to an establishment. This technique is often hard to detect because the identification itself is valid and legal. The security personnel must be vigilant and make sure the person presenting the ID is actually the person on the ID and the ID itself is valid. (See below)

Things to look for:

2. ID MUST BE VALID ACCEPTABLE ID (state issued drivers’ license or state issued identification, military ID, passport)
3. ID MUST be a photo picture ID.

Common Traits when looking for a fraudulent ID:

1. Look for an altered Date of Birth (each state will dictate different styles of alteration).
2. Altered with a foreign substance (coloring device or drawing devices)
3. Altered with a computer printout of a new number to replace the underage number. Look for formality with the other numbers on the identification.
4. Lamination over the newly altered number. Feel the texture and the edge of the identification to make sure it has the original feel of that type of identification.
5. Look for the State Seal on any ID issued by a state. The door security must be knowledgeable of certain State Seals of authentication.
6. If security believes the ID picture is different from the patron presenting the ID, there are certain ways to distinguish a difference:

Certain features that can NOT be altered:

1. Space between the eyes

2. Placement of cheekbones

3. Ear placement (height of ears in location with other facial structures). Be careful because they may be masked by hair.

4. Jaw structure

Features that CAN be easily altered:

1. eye color (changed by color contacts)

2. eye wear (glasses)

3. hair color

4. facial hair

5. style of hair

6. weight (loss or gain can affect facial features but not their placement)

7. height may often be misrepresented on the ID (within boundaries)

8. minor changes in skin color due to sun exposure before the time of their entry into the establishment.

The "Approach" or "Tricks" on questioning someone attempting to use a fraudulent ID:

The most widely used form of verifying an ID, if the ID is in question, is having the patron sign their name on the ID verification form (this is included in your form set of Security: Behind Bars). While the patron is signing their name, ask the patron simple questions such as:

Ø their address

Ø the year they graduated from high school

Ø their date of birth

Ø their astrology sign

Ø their middle initial and what it stands for (DO NOT say, "what does the T stand for?" Instead ask, "what does your middle initial stand for?" Therefore, if they reply Christopher and the letter on the license is a T, you know they are acting fraudulent by using an ID that is not their own).
** All of this should be asked while the patron signs their alleged name. If the patron is forging the name, this requires a concentrated effort, and the signing will not result in a fluid motion of the proper signature. A forging patron will often stop writing while trying to retrieve information of a fraudulent ID. This takes training to become proficient but is a very beneficial technique to eliminating patrons using a fraudulent ID.

The questions stated above can be asked individually. They do not require a signature every time.

If the doorperson is NOT 100% sure that the identification/s is fraudulent, simply deny them entrance or make the patron produce another picture ID, or see below techniques.

· The Door Security is NOT to announce their reason for refusing the ID. Simply ask the patron for an alternative form of ID.

· If Security believes the ID is fraudulent and the patron persists, ask for second opinion from the SM or GM.

· If the security still believes the ID is fraudulent, and the patron persists that the ID belongs to them, security has the option to "hold" the ID while the PATRON, NOT SECURITY, summons the police to verify the ID or the patron returns with a police officer to verify the ID. Do NOT tell the patron that you are "TAKING" their ID. Advise them that the establishment will "HOLD" the ID until the rightful owner, accompanied with police officer, comes forth and claims/verifies the ID. If the ID is held, document the incident in fine detail. If police are called, build rapport with the attending police officer and distinguish the details of the events and reasons the patron's admission was not allowed. Sometimes police are not very accomplished at determining fraudulent ID's. DO NOT tell them why it is fraudulent (this becomes a conclusive statement); simply state why you believe it is fraudulent. If an officer believes that the ID is legitimate they may return the ID to the patron. However, it is still security’s discretion to deny the patron entrance into the place of business. The security personnel’s decision is more important to the establishment then the police officer’s. Rely on experience and instincts. It is your place of business and your insurance policy. Always check with your local law enforcement and an experienced attorney about the process of holding an ID.

* If a situation escalates, call a supporting managerial staff and have them speak privately with the patron.

(c) 2005 Excelsior Entertainment

To learn more about Nightclub Security, go to


To establish a safe, confident, and efficient staff, the establishment must begin with the hiring process. The hiring personnel must tell the applicant what the nightclub/bar/restaurant’s written policies and goals are, and what is expected of them. It must be explained that it’s a fun job, but also a serious job as well.

When interviewing a possible Security employee, the first thing that should be established in the interview is a description of the job the applicant will be asked to perform and the manner in which your place of business demands that the job be conducted. In telling the applicant of the job and the manner it must be performed, the hiring personnel must mention the legal theory of ASSUMPTION OF RISK. Assumption of Risk is a legal theory that limits the liability applied to a person or establishment being sued because the person suing knew the risk involved in the activity being conducted. To advise the applicant, simply tell them that there is a possibility of being harassed (annoyed, alarmed, or struck) by a patron and inform them that, in your nightclub/bar/restaurant, this doesn't give them the right to strike the patron in retaliation. If security is aware of the possibility of physical incidents that could occur while working at the place of business, they will be more likely to knowingly “assume the risk.”
When interviewing a candidate to work Security, think first of where this person came from or who recommended them. Often you can use interviewing techniques to find the right person for the job. Such techniques can be used to the person applying for the Security job. Always look at references from their prior employment. This is a very good way to investigate a person’s work history.
A very good way of selecting candidates to work at your establishment is to patronize other nightclubs/bars/restaurants that are typical to yours, and observe the person working. If you are satisfied with this person's work habits, approach this person and ask them if they would be interested in working at your place of business on the nights they are not working at another nightclub/bar/restaurant. This is a very thorough means of hiring personnel and it saves you the trouble of hiring an incompetent security employee. **A formal interview and background check should still be conducted on this person.
The hiring process is where an establishment determines if it will be in business for a long time, or a New York minute. Negligent hiring can cost a nightclub/bar/restaurant millions of dollars. For the small amount of time and money you spend by conducting a background investigation, your place of business could be saving millions of dollars in a lawsuit.

(c) 2005 Excelsior Entertainment

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Security Definitions

Bars and Nighclub owners are responsible for knowing the legal definitions and laws pertaining to their establishments. For more information on Bar and Nighclub Security go to and

These are a few legal definitions used in Federal legal system. Each state has their own definitions, but for instructional purposes we will use the Federal system. Each establishment should ALWAYS check with its own legal staff for important legal definitions that apply to this type of business.

Tort- a wrongful act for which relief may be obtained in the form of damages.

Negligence- conduct which falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. The average, reasonable, prudent person mentality is used to decide negligence.

There are four elements necessary to create a lawsuit in negligence:

1) Duty of Care- does your establishment have a legal duty toward the patrons? Chances are that if the patrons are in your establishment, they do.
2) Breach- is your establishment violating the duty of care owed to the patron?
3) Cause- was the cause foreseeable? Example: if the place of business hires a person who has a violent criminal record is it foreseeable that he may physically strike a patron when becoming angry? Yes.
4) Damages- what was damaged?

How does your establishment protect itself from lawsuits? Answer: GOOD FAITH AND DUE DILIGENCE (being properly trained and acting responsible).

Vicarious liability (Transfer liability)- Vicarious liability is liability that is derivatively imposed. In short, this means that one person (security) commits a tortious act against another person (patron), and a third person (owner) is liable for the tortious act. This may be done even though the third person (owner) has played no part in it, has done nothing whatsoever to aid or encourage it, or indeed has done everything possible to prevent it. This liability rests upon a special relationship between the tortfeasor (person committing the wrong) and the person to whom his tortious conduct is ultimately imputed (charged to).

In certain situations an owner/employer will be vicariously liable for tortious acts committed by their employees if the tortious acts occur within the scope of the employment relationship. However, intentional torts (assault, battery, harassment, punching, striking, kicking, etc.) are not usually held to be within the scope of employment, EXCEPT in cases of: 1) Force is authorized in the employment (bouncing); 2) Friction is generated by employment; 3) The employee is furthering business of the employer (removing customers for being rowdy). The bottom line is this: the employer/owner will be held liable for any acts taken by the intentional tortious acts of their security staff.

Sub contractor- many establishments have employed subcontractor, or independent contractor services to perform security at their establishments. The general rule for this is that an employer will not be liable for tortious acts of her agent if the latter is an independent contractor. However, if the independent contractor is engaged in inherently dangerous activity, or because of public policy considerations, the duty is simply nondelegatable- meaning the establishment cannot pass the blame off and they still owe the right to the public to provide a safe environment. Every state has different rules pertaining to these types of situations. Make sure the establishment you work for is up to date in regards to sub contracting laws and procedures. A catch that pertains to sub contractors is negligent hiring. In both sub contractor and owner/employee situations, the employer may be liable for their own negligence in selecting the employee or sub contractor. This is why the hiring process and background investigations are so important.

Another legal rule pertaining to nightclub, bar, and restaurant owners (tavern keepers) is the Dramshop Act. Earlier in America (the common law) did not impose liability on the vendors of intoxicating beverages for injuries resulting from the customer’s intoxication, whether the injuries were sustained by the customer or by a third party as a result of the customer’s conduct. Many states have created a way around this law by adopting the Dramshop Act. Such acts usually create a cause of action in favor of any third person injured by the intoxicated customer. Example: Your establishment serves a patron until they are highly intoxicated. Upon leaving your establishment, in a highly intoxicated manner, the patron attempts to drive home. Due to the patron’s high level of intoxication they lose control of their vehicle and physically injure someone walking along side the roadside. Since the cause of the accident was the patron/driver’s level of intoxication, your establishment may be held liable under the Dramshop Act. Several courts have imposed liability on tavern keepers even in the absence of a Dramshop Act. This liability is based on ordinary negligence principles (the foreseeable risk of serving a minor or obviously intoxicated adult) rather than vicarious liability.

Larceny (stealing)- the taking of property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner thereof.

Embezzlement- fraudulent taking of the property of another by one who is already in lawful possession.

Battery- unlawful application of force to the person of another which results in bodily harm or offensive touching.

Assault- a person, when acting with threatening conduct intended to cause reasonable apprehension of imminent harm to the victim.

False imprisonment- intending to confine the other or a third person within boundaries fixed by the actor, and his act directly or indirectly results in such a confinement of the other, and the other is conscious of the confinement or is harmed by it.

Trespass- whether or not the person causes any harm, he intentionally enters land in the possession of the other, remains on the land, or fails to remove themselves from the property in which their duty is to remove (their duty is to remove themselves from the premises).

Criminal Trespass- an offense committed by one who, without license or privilege to do so, enters or surreptitiously remains in any building or occupied structure.

Security- something that gives or assures safety; freedom from risk or danger; freedom from doubt, anxiety, or fear.

Bouncer- a brute employed to expel disorderly persons from a public place.

(c) 2005 Security Behind Bars

For more information about Nighclub and Bar Security training and education, go to:


(i) All legal terms used in “Security: Behind Bars.” Black’s Law Dictionary. 6th ed. 2001. Special thanks to Barbri Bar Review, Harcourt Professional Education Group, 2001, and PMBR, Multistate Legal Studies, 2001, for their help in forming a basic understanding of legal definitions for all that inquire.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

About Security Behind Bars

There is more than 65,000 establishment’s serving alcohol (nightclubs, bars, restaurants) in the United States. With lawsuits reaching an all-time high, we have decided to address the problems in nightclub, bar, and restaurant security. Any mention of the words “nightclub” and “security” brings forth the image of the “bar room bouncer.” This image portrays a guy with an 18-inch neck and a shirt that is too small for his torso. He is usually extra large with a gladiator’s mind. His demeanor says, "kill or be killed," as he stands there, angry, mean, and tough. He is hired by owners who have long believed that the bigger the bouncer, the fewer the problems. But, let it be known that the owner’s thoughts of intimidate them at the door is archaic.
From the small town bars to the big city clubs, we have all seen bouncers. The question to be considered is: “do you feel any safer because the security person is 6' 2" and 250 pounds of muscle, has a goatee and is wearing a shirt that is too small than you would if he was 5'10, 200 pounds, wearing a collared shirt, and is clean cut?” As this manual will reveal, the traditional "bouncer" type is not necessary to enforce the rules and policies of your place of business. A well-trained Security person can be just as, if not more, effective NO MATTER WHAT THEIR SIZE OR LOOK! Security personnel with good communication skills and confidence will save the establishment a substantial amount of money and headache.
Let’s start off by considering how many highly intoxicated, or very angry people stop to think about how big the bouncer at the front door is. When a situation has escalated to a security level, the important battle is already lost. The security person can do no more than respond to a situation that has already disrupted a place of business. When the bouncer does respond to the situation, does he have the people skills and techniques that will resolve this situation without incident?
Some states, and many insurance carriers, require that nightclubs, bars, and restaurants have security. But, without the proper training, the actual benefit is illusory. The intention of the Security Behind Bars training video is to make sure that each employee knows the proper procedures for handling the most common problems inside and outside of the establishment.
Setting up proper security is often overlooked in many establishments that serve alcohol. Proper security should begin with the Owners, General Managers (GM), and Security Managers (SM) teaching the entire staff about the business aspect of the establishment. Most importantly, the staff should understand the policies and goals of the establishment. One of the most important, but most overlooked aspects of a successful business is implementing the proper policies. This basic philosophy of using policies and goals for your place of business, explains to all employees how the organization provides its services and goods. If your establishment doesn’t have a written policy, use this manual as a blueprint and implement it immediately.
Does your place of business clearly state their bylaws or written policies? Are your employees familiar with them, do they understand them, and most importantly, do they follow them? Most owners would probably answer “no.” Employees are working at your establishment for various reasons. The reasons may be financial, personal, and/or social. While these reasons are certainly legitimate, an employee who knows the overall goals of their employer is better able to assess their own function within the philosophy of the business, as well as work with the policies in mind. Employees need to know what is expected of them.
Your establishment’s written policy should inform employees that security is a serious business. Teaching your employees security procedures is paramount. Watching this video can only: 1) increase profits; 2) increase the longevity in the business; and 3) and give your employees confidence on how to properly conduct themselves in the entertainment industry. Teaching Security: Behind Bars will allow your employees to follow the policies safely and effectively.