Night Clubs / Bars
Templars duties in a Security of a bar/ Club entails ensuring that patrons are safe when they are within the bar premises. Bar security personnel are also in charge of enforcing
the liquor and bar entry laws of the establishment in which bar they work. For instance, they reserve the right of admission for bar patrons.
Templars have skills which are required to be Security at Clubs / Bars:
a. Good listener
b. Focus on customer service
c. Firm but fair approach
d. Calm under stress
e. The ability to control emotion in potentially volatile situations.
Templar Security and Safety Planning
1. Do you even have a written plan? A written security plan can help owners and managers plan responses to specific situations. Without a plan, employees do what they think is
best which may not be effective or may actually compound a problem. The security plan should also include the emergency plan in case of fire, a shooting or robbery, or some other
emergency that would require the immediate evacuation of the building. The plan should be part of the initial and on going training of all staff and it should be practiced. Having
no formal plan in place will prove to be problematic, if not catastrophic, in the event of an emergency. All one needs to do is research club fires over the years to understand the
absolute need for a plan.
2. A club’s genre, such as a dance club, strip club, country and western, or hip hop, presents their own unique problems. A club does not need to have a reputation for strong-arm
tactics to be successful in maintaining peace. However, some clubs have a general reputation of not calling police in an effort to build “street credibility” or in an effort to avoid
potential investigation by the State’s Alcohol Control Board. It is highly recommended that clubs adopt a very firm but fair ejection policy and that the police are called if anyone
is belligerent and refusing to leave. Keep in mind that in litigation, a club’s policy and history of calling the police may, in fact, be a positive factor. Check with your State Alcohol
Control agency to ensure understanding of any reporting requirements they have.
3. Parking lots are crime attractants. Offenders know your patrons may have diminished capacity of recognizing a threat which allows crimes such as robbery, rape and assault to
occur. The parking lot is an important facet of security planning and should be considered for staffing, lighting, and physical security. This is especially true when a club has
designated remote parking. “Designated” is the important term.
If your club has an agreement (verbal or written) with a nearby parking lot owner and employees direct customers to park there then there may be a legal duty regarding security
for club patrons. Check with your attorney and ensure how the law is structured in your state. There is also case law that suggests if a customer is directed to an overflow
parking area that has no relationship with the club, the club may bear some duty regarding the safety of those patrons. If your staff directs customers to other parking lots, the
practice should be reviewed by legal counsel and appropriate policies/training be put in place.
Training is key for any type of company as it establishes a base line of policies and procedures and dictates the desired behavior of employees. Training, regardless of style and
delivery, is critical. Documenting that training is also important. Whatever process is used to train personnel, it should be documented as to what the topics were and who provided
the training. Training checklists are helpful especially for on-the-job training because it ensures consistency. Any individual who is conducting training should have absolute clarity
on how the club wants the security function to perform.
1. If there is no documentation of training there is no way to prove it exists or what topics were covered.
2. When can I use force? Do you have a written policy on this topic? Do bouncers and other security personnel understand the term “reasonable force”? Do they understand the
exact moment when they have made a detainment or an arrest?
3. What role is customer service in their training? Bouncers are should always be an ambassador for a club first and security second. Most situations can be resolved without
resorting to force.
4. Ejecting unruly patrons is not uncommon but club management must establish the policy and procedures related to that. Does management need to give approval before ejecting a
customer? Is there a report written every time or does it have to involve force? Is a photo copy of a driver’s license maintained? Is a photo taken of the customer? Is there a
document that the customer signs acknowledging they have been given a trespass warning?
5. Ejected patrons may be told not to return to the club. Management should dictate the length of time for the “violation”. It is difficult, at best, to recall every ejected customer
much less to manage a list of ejected patrons. If management decides to ban a patron and they return, call the police.
6. Verbal abuse of a bouncer is common during a confrontation. It is very important to remember the effect alcohol has on a person’s ability to manage their emotions. Verbal
abuse IS NOT a basis for the use of force.
7. Enforcement of house rules. Bouncers and bar staff are always tasked with identifying dress code violations or other violations of in-house rules. Those “rules” should be
clearly visible to all patrons in multiple areas of the business.
8. Fair warnings. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that their behavior is disruptive. This is a difficult conversation at times because the person is intoxicated and has
no concept of “disruptive”. These calls are certainly subjective but should always be courteous and professional. “Disruptive behavior” is the area where bouncers commonly become
the “Attitude Police”. Bouncers are not employed to decide what is particularly disruptive and bothersome to them personally. While it is a judgment call, there should be sound
basis by club policy as to actions taken. Warnings can quickly escalate if the security personnel allow an argument to become personal. When making decisions based on emotion
there is a certain “flash point” where the bouncer feels that the only resolution is to eject the patron. The security staff, depending on the circumstances, always have the option of
simply walking away after the warning has been given and not engage the person further. If the behavior continues, a protocol should be in place that guides the security person
as to their authority to eject the person, how it is to be accomplished, and what, if any, actions (call police) are to be taken afterwards.
9. Calling the police. Calling the police seems to be discouraged except in the most extreme situations. There may also be a feeling by security personnel that they are not capable
of doing their jobs if they have to call police. Again, there should be a written policy that is consistently followed in this regard. If it takes physical force to restrain a customer,
I recommend that police be called. This protects the bouncer, the club, and the patron. If a customer is injured during an ejection the police should be called. Club staff should be
trained regarding the need for EMS. Regardless of the circumstances, an unconscious person should be given the benefit of immediate emergency aid.
There are no standards as to the correct ratio of security personnel to patrons. The ratio of 1 security person to every 50 patrons has been mentioned in many recommendations but
that number has no basis. That number may be appropriate for a country club dinner but may not be for a post Super Bowl party or a live broadcast of an MMA title fight.
Many factors should be considered; cost should not be one of them.
1. Staffing is dependent on the type of attendees/patrons, venue/building size, and the duties needed to reasonably secure people and property.
2. Consider the hot spots within your club, such as restrooms, where criminal activity is likely to occur. Restrooms are the most likely place for fights, drug activity, and sexual
assaults to take place. Make appropriate staffing assignments to be at or visit them regularly. Restroom visibility is important as well.
3. What is the staffing plan when multiple security personnel must react to a situation? Planning is needed to ensure an appropriate response is effective but does not pull
everyone from their assigned areas. Keep in mind that diversions can be created to draw personnel to another part of a club to facilitate criminal activity. Additionally, having too
many people involved in an altercation may, in fact, exacerbate the situation. Have a plan.
4. Doormen are the first and last layer of defense. They are critical for age verification and crowd control. The area around the main entrance is the most likely place for fights to
take place among patrons if they were involved in an earlier altercation. Staff must be trained as to the reasonable steps they can take when fights start outside the club. Your
legal counsel should be consulted and appropriate policy and procedures created. Ejected customers who demand to be allowed back into the club are always a challenge. If verbal
warnings are not sufficient to make the person leave, call the police. It is not reasonable to further engage a person who has already been ejected from a club. Bouncers are not
the “Attitude Police” and simply cannot allow themselves to reengage in verbal exchanges outside the club. Those patrons who “insist” they come back into the club are problematic.
Bouncers should clearly understand the difference between assaultive behavior and a person merely trying to push their way in. Policy should be in place to dictate what steps are
to be taken. I recommend the police be called immediately.
5. If your club has a “right to search” policy, it is recommended that the policy is heavily signed throughout the club and at the entrance. Your search policy should be well defined
and appropriately trained (and documented). The use of metal detection wands at the entrance is a reasonable practice when staff is trained on the proper use of the wands and
how to best investigate activations. Pat down searches should be discussed with legal counsel and policy and procedure written accordingly. Males should not pat down female
Formal meetings with all security staff (in-house and/or contract guards) may be difficult so it is important that there is time set aside before opening for short “huddles”. These
are quick, to-the-point, discussions about assignments, equipment checks, and the time for supervisors to reinforce policy and procedure.
1. Ensure all radios have fresh batteries and functioning ear pieces. Conduct radio checks with each unit. Check to ensure each person has a working flashlight.
2. If the club has a CCTV system, check each camera individually to ensure it is working. Ensure that the date/time on the DVR is correct.
3. Assign someone to walk the parking lot to check for any lighting issues and to ensure it is clear of any potential hazards. Document any light checks.
4. Check all emergency exits. This is one of the most important pre-opening tasks that should be done. Ensure all exits are clearly marked and that they are not blocked in any
way. Ensure the doors are not locked in any way. If they have a panic bar alarm, check to ensure it is working properly. This also prevents people from unauthorized use of the
door as an exit. Make certain the area outside the door is clear of any obstructions. If there is any possibility that a car can be parked in front of an emergency exit, the doors
should be checked throughout the night.
5. Utilize this time to also discuss incidents. This is a training opportunity to both reinforce correct behavior when dealing with customers and to openly discuss areas of
improvement. The ultimate goal of these discussions is to lay the foundation of how security personnel are to respond. It is the responsibility of club management to ensure that
the actions of security personnel are predictable in the sense of consistency of their actions. These discussions are also invaluable for management to receive feedback from their
Use of Force
The use of force by bouncers and other security personnel or bar staff should be foreseen as highly probable and potentially high risk. Clear written policies must be in place and
documented training should be in a personnel file. Reinforcement of this topic should be frequent. Club management is responsible for the method and manner in which patrons are
handled during altercations. This includes the actions of contract guards. The security person is responsible the actual manner and method they employ. The vast majority of
litigation comes from this facet of security operations. It should be clearly understood that “force” can be defined as mere touching as in an effort to redirect someone. When any
level of force is employed against a patron, that patron may be considered, depending on State law, under arrest.
A club should carefully review their use of force policy. Force by security personnel is usually met with force from the patron. It is not something that can be undone.
1. Develop written policies. Train to those policies and discuss prior to every business day.
2. Know where your property line (thus your authority) ends. An angry, mouthy ejected patron on the sidewalk is not a threat to the club or their personnel. Do not verbally engage
these situations. Call the police. Teaching someone a lesson by assaulting them is battery and comes with criminal and civil liability.
3. The use of handcuffs should be thoroughly reviewed by legal counsel. If handcuffs are allowed then proper training should be mandatory and documented. Handcuffs are a
restraining device and not a weapon. Serious injury can occur if handcuffs are improperly applied. If a patron is ever handcuffed, law enforcement should be called.
4. Restraining a person often involves grappling on the floor or pavement. Using a “takedown” technique should only be used in extreme circumstances. Security staff, bar
management and bar employees should understand the term positional asphyxia and be trained to eliminate those conditions. Positional asphyxia, in short, is death that results
from when a person’s position (usually on their chest/stomach) restricts their ability to breathe. The National Law Enforcement Technology Center published “Positional Asphyxia
– Sudden Death” in 1995. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/posasph.pdf and the AELE published in a Monthly Law Journal an article, with case law citations, entitled Restraint
Ties and Asphyxia, 2009 (http://www.aele.org/law/2009all01/2009-01MLJ101.pdf ). These papers also discuss use of choke holds and pepper spray.
5. Foot chases of customers must be prohibited.
6. Use of force to prevent re-entry of ejected patrons. If you go on YouTube you can find numerous videos of bouncers/door staff having to deal with someone who feels they were
wrongfully ejected. There are two immediate problems at hand: 1.: the person(s) are intoxicated and have reduced mental resources to full understand what they are doing. And 2.:
They are standing (as usually is the bouncer) on a public sidewalk and not on the property of the club. At times the person is so insistent on returning they begin to threaten the
bouncer and even get chest to chest. The reasonable action: Do not re-engage someone who is no longer your customer and who is not on your property. Call the police and let
them handle the drunk. Have a written plan.
Another situation that often occurs is where several patrons are involved in some sort of altercation and are escorted out the same door. While the situation is slightly different,
the bouncers, knowing that all the combatants are now clustered at the door, should ensure they all go on their way. A person who is attacked and injured by another patron, in full
view of the security staff, may have a legal course of action. Create your policy and procedure to handle these specific occurrences. Additionally, understand where your property ends
and the public’s begins.
Injury to Patrons and Staff
An injury of any kind should be reported immediately to club management and should be thoroughly documented in a report. This policy and procedure must be in writing. Security
staff should have the immediate recourse to contact EMS for any set of circumstances. This includes apparent medical emergencies. Protocols should be established to reduce the
amount of time required to make decisions regarding emergency medical service.
1. If a patron is injured (for any reason) ask them if they want an ambulance called. Keep in mind a person who is intoxicated may not be the best judge of the extent of their
2. If a patron is unconscious, call EMS.
3. Where possible, consider having your staff trained on basic first aid and CPR.
4. Consider having AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) on site. Here is a link to a Red Cross article on AEDs. (http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/workplace/easy-
5. Document all cases of injury.
Supervision is the ultimate layer of responsibility and accountability in any business. Bouncers and other security staff must have a supervisor. It could be the club manager but
they may not be working every day. There should be a person who is directly responsible for the security function any time the club or bar is open. This would require a designated
person for given shift regardless of who they ultimately report to. This could be a senior security staffer, the head bar tender, or a manager on duty. Someone must be able to
make management-level security related decisions at any time.
Supervision extends beyond a person on duty. Ultimately it means that operational information is passed to the ultimate authority for review and possible action. This is why
policies and procedures are critical to a security function. Within those policies and procedures there should be a methodology to advise the appropriate person, such as the club
manager or owner, about incidents. Verbal communication is unreliable and simply cannot be recalled years after the fact. Written reports are often seen as dangerous records of
past activity but, ultimately, they could prove to be vital to show adequacy of supervision. Important note: Record retention is a usual and customary business practice. The length
of that retention is dictated by the individual business as it relates to incident or security-related reports. Whether that time frame is 10 days or 10 years, there should be a
written policy that establishes the duration, manner and method for document retention.
A bouncer’s should have a job description and their duties outlined writing. If a club is using uniformed contract security guards, their contract should outline in what is known as
“Post Orders”. There are no standards within the industry for a list of required tasks or functions. These are dictated by many factors thus the importance of having them in
writing. Many times security personnel are hired because of their prior experience. It is critical that the new-hire bouncers or contract guards know exactly the manner and method
the club management wants their duties carried out. If policy and procedures are not formalized then a person’s actions are going to be based on past experience or on their
interpretation of what they were told.
In the event of litigation, polices and procedures will be requested by the plaintiff’s counsel. If there are only verbal policies there is no way to confirm what they actually are.
Have a plan.