We need backup!

Everybody needs a friend. And if you work in any business that involves keeping people (including yourself) safe, a friend can be a literal lifesaver. Pilots have wingmen, soldiers have squad mates, police officers have partners, and nightclub security has other bouncers. Obviously, comparing work  in a nightclub to an experience in battle is a bit of a stretch, but it works in a pinch. If you want to have a lasting (or even brief) career in nightclub security, you need to know that there is someone on staff that will help you in your time of need.

Each position on the security staff in a nightclub needs a backup of some kind, whether it be a fellow Roamer or a Static Post watching out for you. And knowing how to provide proper backup is key.

FRONT DOOR – The majority of doormen have one basic purpose: to check IDs and keep drunks out. The Doorman’s “backup” can be anyone from the security guard posted at the head/mid point/tail of the line (Line Walker) to the bouncer working the exit lane of the club (Door Outs). Regardless of position, their duties are as follows in regards to backing up the Doorman:

1) Maintain traffic flow – Should the Doorman be involved in a long discussion with a Patron, the backup needs to make sure that the line is moving, people have IDs out prior to arriving at the door, Patrons are informed of unacceptable dress code before waiting through an entire line, and that the line is orderly. They can also walk the line to get people into place and make any announcements that the Doorman can’t (i.e. “We’re at capacity folks, there’s going to be a bit of a wait.”)

2) Physical security – Any interactions in which the Doorman is involved should be watched if possible. A large group of intoxicated men, individuals not complying with dress code, argumentative patrons; all need to be kept an eye on in order to prevent any possible confrontations or altercations.

3) Running interference – Should the Doorman not want to deal with a belligerent customer, or should a patron be ejected, it is up to the backup to step in and try to help diffuse the situation. Oftentimes, the appearance of a staffer not originally involved in the altercation/confrontation can help to draw attention away from the troublemaker’s intended target (be they another staffer or another patron)

It is important to note that the backup roles at the Front Door work both ways. Each individual (Doorman, Door Outs, Line Walker, VIP Host) should be prepared to act as backup for their co-worker should it be necessary.

ON THE FLOOR – The dynamic inside the nightclub is a bit more fluid, and as such the positional responsibilities vary between Static Posts and Roamers.

1) Roamers – Should be always be traveling in pairs in larger nightclubs. They are often the first to the scene of an altercation or incident and therefore need immediate backup. This backup is provided in the form of their roaming partner. When Roamers hear of an incident, they must first assess the situation. This can be done with a quick glance. A well trained roaming pair can have one Roamer assess, while the other calls in the details.

Upon arrival at an incident, Roamer 1 is tasked with securing the area (which depending on the circumstance can mean picking up glass, moving chairs, or clearing onlookers) while Roamer 2 deal directly with the issue at hand. Should the incident be an altercation, both Roamers (if they are not outnumbered) must do their best to separate the involved parties. If Roamer 1 is dealing with an intoxicated Patron, it is up to Roamer 2 to assess their surroundings. Does the Patron have any friends nearby that might pose a threat? Are there any individuals crowding the area (which might make extracting the Patron more difficult)? Roamer 2 also acts as the main source of communication to the rest of the Staff and the Manager, thereby leaving Roamer 1’s hands and attention free to deal with the incident.

(Please remember that Roamer 2 should always stand off to one side of the involved parties NOT directly in front of/behind the trouble makers.)

2) Static Posts – These individuals are what I like to consider the entire nightclub’s “backup”. Why? Well, they (hopefully) have a clear line of sight to EVERYTHING that is happening on the dance floor/patio/lounge. The information they are able to impart to the other staffers in the event of an incident can be essential. Static Posts are able to spot trouble before it occurs and can direct their Roamers to the source of the incident. By remaining “static” these Staffers are like a helicopter during police chases: giving information without direct interaction but with a 360 degree range of sight.

It is important, then, for Static Posts to speak clearly and succinctly when calling in any incidents, altercations, or events that need looking into. They should be able to give clear directions and descriptions to the Roamers in order to make the problem Patron or area easily identifiable.

Next time we’ll look at what a complete collapse of The Buddy System, Situational Awareness, and unnecessary Use of Force brings about (and how to about it).

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