After eight years, we here at Nightclub Security Consulting will be taking a little break. It has been a real pleasure tackling the subject matter, answering your questions, and sharing the information that – hopefully – helped you to do your job more safely and efficiently.


Should you desire more regular updates, tune in to our podcast, “The Tao of The Velvet Rope”, for all things bar, nightclub, and security related.

See you soon!


“Should we install cameras? I mean, do they make that much of a difference?”
It doesn’t happen very often but on occasion, owners and managers of Nightlife establishment ask me for my opinion on the installation and use of CCTV cameras.
Listen, if you are still working out of the paradigm that CCTV use in a business can do more harm than good, you need to seriously re-evaluate your position. There is no reason why any business should be working without the benefit of CCTV coverage in this day and age. And with a variety of low-cost and technological levels to work with, it just makes sense for your bar or nightclub.
While I won’t go into detail on types of cameras, placement, or installation in this post, I will be addressing some of the arguments that have been put forth, both Pro and Con, for the use of CCTV cameras. For the record, I am very much for the use of CCTV and highly recommend that you look into purchasing a system for your establishment.
Cameras as a deterrent
There have been a number of articles and studies done on the efficacy of CCTV use in both Public and Private Domains. These studies show a mixed result when it comes to using only CCTV as a deterrent. However, when using CCTV in addition to physical security (guards) and other systems (alarms/lighting), there is a significant deterrent factor.
In other words: cameras work best in conjunction with other systems. Bad guys and girls don’t want to be caught in the act, period. The addition of other “counter-measures” to further impede bad behavior if/should the perpetrator defeat the CCTV system is an added layer of protection. And more than likely, the added layer of protection is enough to frustrate or impede extra attempts by the bad guys to do bad things.
Cameras as monitoring devices
Knowing that there are a number of cameras monitoring their actions will – at the very least – give the would-be criminals pause to think. Remember, the bad guys can be on your Staff! Bartenders giving away drinks, doormen pocketing cover charges, and even hostesses dealing drugs. These things happen and what better way to catch them than on camera? With today’s technology, you can literally place your cameras ANYWHERE. Inside cash registers, on shelves, in plants, behind photo frames…ANYWHERE. One benefit of smaller, hidden cameras is that people aren’t feeling like they are being “surveilled”, which is one of the arguments that people have against CCTV use. 
Cameras as evidence-gathering devices
Deterrence and monitoring capabilities are wonderful but the main goals of surveillance are to catch someone in the act and prevent further action or to use the footage as evidence later. The high-quality of today’s systems is incredibly beneficial when it comes to catching minor details that one would not have noticed in cameras of the past. Add sound to the mix and the value of the footage goes up exponentially.
Events unfold in real time on CCTV footage and that footage can be slowed or even free-framed if necessary to gather details. Witness testimony is sometimes flawed and individuals may forget or confuse details. And while Incident Reports are helpful, even they can miss important moments that occurred prior to or during an event. Cameras only miss what they can’t see. Though footage may be disputed but use of said footage along with eyewitness testimony and Incident Reports is exponentially beneficial.
Cameras as mediators
I’ve heard about issues with management behavior from employees. I’ve heard complaints about management from employees. And I’ve heard A LOT of complaint from patrons about employees. You know what is amazingly helpful in settling disputes about job performance, customer service, or employee mistreatment? CCTV footage.
Digital video can help to resolve any number of claims that would be unverifiable in any other format. It can be very hard to argue a case when the CCTV footage shows someone in the act, especially if that footage is time and date stamped!
“Yeah, but….”
I know that there are still folks out there who will argue against the use of CCTV and they are well within their rights. I know many business owners who refuse to use cameras. The reasons are varied but the main arguments against CCTV in businesses usually come down to privacy concerns, use of evidence, and abuse of the system.
Privacy concerns
To begin with, there is not much of an expectation of privacy in most workplaces. In fact, you probably have fewer privacy rights at work than you do while not at work. As a business owner or manager, you are well within your rights to film your employees and patrons. Period. The only exception being the placement of cameras in bathrooms or dressing rooms. And even that can be contingent upon what state you are in. As for your patrons, they generally forfeit their rights as long as you notify them of the CCTV usage.
“They’ll get caught doing bad things”
More than a few owners have indicated to me that their reticence in installing CCTV systems was based on the fear of their staffers doing something wrong and getting in trouble. For one, no one is perfect, so camera or not…they’re going to make mistakes. If the staff in your establishment is making you so nervous that you are worried they are going to get caught doing something bad, you need to seriously consider hiring a new staff. IF you are taking the time to mentor, train, supervise, and manage your staff, mistakes shouldn’t be an issue. Again, the camera footage can help to point out minor errors and be used as an instructional or training tool.
Abusing the footage
Employees are often worried that whatever they do on video will be used against them or that the footage will be abused in some way. While there have been cases of illegal filming or of footage being used for nefarious purposes, they are far and few between. You can allay your employees’ fears by letting them know that yes, they are on camera but that the footage is under lock and key and would only be used or distributed if absolutely necessary.

With any system, there is the possibility of abuse. But if you and your management are acting in the best interests of your establishment, patrons, and staff, the benefits of CCTV use far outweigh the perceived downside. Bad people will be less likely to try stupid things, your staff will know that they can rely on the surveillance to catch trouble, and you can rest assured in the fact that there is always a tangible backup should bad things happen. By using cameras, security staff, and a variety of alarm systems, you continue to make your establishment safe, secure, and – hopefully – as liability-free as possible.


GSX8 Presentation!

The ASIS International  Global Security Exchange 2018 Conference Session List has been published and I’m very excited to be presenting with my friend and colleague Zachary L. Rugen this year in Las Vegas.

Those of you looking to gain some insight into the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of Nightclub Security are sure to enjoy the talk. We will be holding a Q & A Session during the latter part of the presentation.

TOPIC: “The Changing Face of Nightclub Security”
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Session Time: 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

For more information, go to the Global Security Exchange website.

Call for interviews!

Share your knowledge, share your experience, and help us grow as an industry!
The Tao of The Velvet Rope is our weekly podcast where we discuss the myths, truths, and realities of nightclub security and examines the best practices for nightlife security. As we enter our third season, we are looking to interview industry professionals (domestic and international) in order to present our audience with diverse viewpoints and approaches to the field. Whether you are a Security Staffer (any amount of experience), Doorman, Head of Security, or a Managers/Owner we would love to hear about your experiences.
We cover the following topics in our interview sessions:
• Your personal industry history and experience
• Your philosophy and approach towards security and running a security team
• Security issues or concerns that are specific to your establishment(s)
• How security has changed since you started in the field
• Which security trends to expect in the future
• The security trends you believe need examination or discussion
While there may be some promotion of your company or venue, the main goal of the interview is to gain an understanding of the field and provide other security professionals with suggestions, concepts, and solutions to help broaden their skillset; as well as to provide our non-security audience with a glimpse into a too-often misunderstood field.
We happy to provide you with questions ahead of time and see where the conversation takes us. Interviews typically run between 30 and 60 minutes and, once completed, usually go to air the same week.
You can find our podcast on iTunes and any number of other streaming services or on our landing page at http://www.taoofthevelvetrope.com/
If this is something that might interest you or someone you know, drop us an email at toftvr@gmail.com

Happy New Year!

Hello and welcome to 2017. We hope that you had a break over the holidays and were able to recharge your batteries a bit.

We’ve been busy behind the scenes: creating new content, researching new equipment and ideas, and prepping a few surprises.

Over the course of the next month, we’ll be rolling out some new material here and on our Podcast that we hope will continue to inform and amuse you.

See you soon!


Spring Break Safety Tips

A little deviation from the norm this week as we approach Spring Break across this great land of ours. This one is for the kids!

Spring Break! Ah, the memories: Sunshine, the beach, attractive guys and gals, refreshing beverages, and adventures to last a lifetime. While our Spring Break days are long over, we are realists here and know that for many students and youngsters, this is the time of year to cut loose and get a little crazy. Fortunately, most students’ Spring Break will end with happy memories. Unfortunately, some trips will contain the unhappy memories of theft, assault, and the worst-case scenarios of injury or hospitalization.

For you kids out there, how can you ensure that you will be in the “Happy Memory” group? By following some simple Spring Break Safety Tips!

1)  SIGN UP! – First and foremost, do yourself (and your parents) a favor by signing up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The STEP program enables the State Department to contact you in case of a family emergency, or to notify you of a crisis near your travel destination. They also provide a Smart Traveler iPhone App. The State Department also has a great “Students Abroad” page that is worth a look.

2)  Makin’ copies – Make copies of your passport, passport card, and itinerary. Leave a set at home with someone you trust. Keep your passport in the hotel safe (as long as it is in YOUR room and YOU set the passcode) along with your valuables.

3)  Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems – Before you depart, notify your credit card company that you are travelling to avoid getting your card shut off and to help spot unusual charges. Should you need to visit an ATM, DO NOT GO ALONE. Have one person use the ATM while the other(s) stands watch. DO NOT count your money in public or flash it around. You should only carry the money and credit cards that you need when you go out, in a hidden pocket if possible.

4)  “Pour up, drank. Head shot, drank” – Regardless of what Kendrick Lamar says, don’t fill up a swimming pool with liquor and dive in. This tip will probably elicit groans and eye rolling, but the reality is that excessive drinking impairs your judgment. And you DO NOT want to be in a foreign country or unfamiliar city while seriously impaired. If you are going to drink, designate someone to the “Sober Guide” for the day. If you each take a turn, everyone will be safe and happy. Besides, not drinking everyday will actually help you enjoy your trip even more.

In addition, should you (or a friend) feel noticeably intoxicated after a drink or two, be aware of the possibility that you have been slipped Ambien or Rohypnol (Roofies). Excessive slurring, wooziness, and difficulty standing are surefire signs that you’ve been drugged. If this is the case, notify your friends immediately and leave your location. If the symptoms worsen, seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY.

5)  Drinking, Sunlight, and Hot Tubs…Not a winning combination – As much as we propagate the idea of chillin’ on the beach/in the hot tub with a drink, it is actually pretty bad on your body. Drinking in the sun will not only cause you to forget things like sunscreen (lobster tan, anyone?) but will intensify the effects of alcohol and lead to increased dehydration. And drankin’ in the hot tub dilates your blood vessels and lowers your blood pressure, which can lead to unconsciousness and drowning.

Stay in the shade, wear sunscreen, put on a hat, and DRINK WATER as often as possible. Already been drinking? Stay out of the hot tub!

6)  Party Drugs – Again, we are realists here and know that the temptation – or for that matter solid plan – to do drugs may be on the agenda. Remember, the laws governing your Spring Break destination are probably VERY different from the laws in your home state/country re: illegal drug use. Some countries offer the death penalty for transport or even possession of drugs. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to buy drugs in – or try to smuggle them into – a foreign country. Better yet, don’t do the drugs at all.

7)  Go Together/Leave Together – The saying, “There is safety in numbers” exists for a reason. You instantly become a target when you are walking alone or hanging out in the club by yourself. Make sure that you are watching out for each other and that no one wanders off. Remember that “Sober Guide” idea? Implement it and travel as a group. The other benefit to operating in “group think” is that the single person’s vote can be overridden a.k.a “We are ALL leaving. NOW.”

8)  Hook it up…or don’t – Yes, everyone imagines the amazing Spring Break hook up. In reality, this can lead to catching a nasty cold, contracting something you can’t get rid of that easily, or more seriously, sexual assault. Be realistic: if you plan on hooking up over your break, stock up on protection. Or you if plan on a quick make-out session, make it clear that things are going any further. Better yet, save yourself the hassle and just hang out with your friends.

9)  Strangers in Paradise? – In regards to the hook up or even the hangout, just because you meet a “chill” group of people doesn’t mean you should abandon your friends and set off on your own. Stick with your friends or bring along someone you trust. That goes for bringing randoms back to your room as well. Don’t do it. As soon as your room becomes the “party room”  valuable things start to disappear.

10) In Case Of Emergency – 911 does not work in every country. As a matter of fact, each country has its own version. Here is the list of emergency numbers around the world:http://studentsabroad.state.gov/content/pdfs/911_ABROAD.pdf

11) Have A Good Time – In spite of what may be perceived as “doom and gloom” in this message, we want you to have a good time on Spring Break. As long as you pay attention, stick to your friends, act responsibly, and actually get a little rest, we guarantee that you will have fun. Enjoy yourselves!

Taking inventory

Businesses of all kinds run inventory checks throughout the year. And while 99% of inventory processes involve physical materials (stock or goods), I think it important to consider your Security Staff while doing “inventory checks”. I do not mean physically lining up your staff and counting them to see if you’ve lost anyone. What I mean is making an honest assessment of your Security Staff, their needs, your needs, and what it takes to meet those needs.

What could your Security Staff possibly need? Hmmmm, let’s see:

Equipment – Radios, flashlights, stanchions, velvet ropes, clipboards, etc. How can you possibly expect your Staff to do their jobs if they don’t have the right gear? Each member of your Staff should have access to the same equipment, no matter what their duties. But let’s not stop there; the equipment needs to work. I can’t count the number of times I have run an audit on a location and found broken radios, missing earpieces, no batteries for flashlights, and crooked stanchions. If your equipment is lacking or not working, your Staff will NOT be able to perform to its full potential. Equipment that works can be a figurative and literal life saver. You don’t want to be the guy stuck on a peak capacity patio with a broken radio and flickering flashlight…do you?

Policies and Procedures – We’ve done a number of posts on the subject, so the basic foundation of your system should be in place. Polices and Procedures are the necessary guidelines for your Staff to follow for all points between A and Z. Everything from your policy on ID Checks to your expected Dress Code should be listed. “Yeah, yeah,” you say, “We’ve had the same policies in place for years. No need to check them.” Really? Make it a rule to update your paperwork once a year or as circumstances dictate. Things change: state and local policies on ID checks, state/foreign IDs, rules on intoxication, work hours, and yes, even your own dress code. And all of these changes need to be reflected in your paperwork. Not only for the sake of your employees, but to cover you in case of lawsuits.

Meetings – “Taking inventory” in the bar, restaurant, and nightclub industry should also mean staying in touch with your Staff to find the gaps and fill them in. Management should always meet with the Head of Security to not only check in about equipment and procedures, but to take a look at the Security Staff as a whole. Do you need to hire new Staffers? Is anyone in line for promotion? Is it time to train/re-train Staff on anything? Are you finding issues with specific things during the course of a week? Talk them out and find solutions. Does your Staff have a way to let their superiors know of any work related or personal issues? They should. Nightly meetings can help to bring problems to light, which in turn can lead to figuring out realistic and workable solutions to the problems your Staff are facing.

So when do you “take inventory”? It will vary from location to location depending on the size of Staff and the service you provide. Some locations need to do a nightly check of everything I listed above, while others can do a yearly review. I would suggest at least: a Weekly equipment check, a Quarterly review of Staff, and an Annual check of Policies and Procedures. Be open to the idea of self-critique and follow through on fixing the places where you find the biggest issues. If you set a regular “Security Inventory” schedule it will help you to stay on track and leaves you with time to run the rest of the business.

Until next time..

Don’t (Let Them) Drink and Drive

1467450_10102866756713397_1893859367_nOn Thursday, December 7th, 2013, a young bartender by the name of Mallory Rae Dies was crossing the street. She was struck by a driver who fled the scene. He was apprehended a few blocks away after crashing his car into a tree. Mallory was taken to the hospital.

On Wednesday, December 11th, 2013, Mallory Rae Dies succumbed to the injuries that she sustained in the accident. She was 27 years old.

When the driver of the vehicle was apprehended, his blood alcohol level was .17 – twice the legal limit for the state of California. This was his third DUI offense.


The reality is that bars and nightclubs thrive on people having a good time. The reality is that some of these people will get drunk. The reality is that some of these people will have too much to drink. The reality is that a percentage of these people – both slightly buzzed and heavily intoxicated – will get into vehicles and drive. The tragic reality is that a percentage of these drivers will injure, maim, or kill someone else.

Does this mean that bars, restaurants, lounges, and nightclubs should stop serving alcohol?


But the reality is that keeping your Patrons safe and trying to keep them from driving drunk or getting into trouble is something that should be emphasized as much as possible.


Most businesses want to reduce their liability as much as possible. In the litigious world we live in, you can be sued for almost anything. Slips, falls, fights, injuries – you name it, your establishment can be sued for it. As such, businesses like mine are called to help reduce the liabilities and keep businesses like yours in business. When it comes to over-intoxication and drunk driving, many states are now enacting laws that state, “Social hosts and business establishments may be held statutorily liable for the actions of a drunk driver according to the law in the jurisdiction where the accident took place.”

What does this mean? In short, your establishment can be sued for the damage that an intoxicated individual causes. I can already see business owners sweating and fretting over “yet another thing I have to worry about”. Well, at the risk of sounding a bit callous, maybe this is something you should really be thinking about…and not just for the simple reason that you “might get sued”.

Regardless of your legal liability, I think it is important that we look at how we handle the issues of over-intoxication and drunk driving as SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES. I want your Patrons to have fun. You want your Patrons to drink. Everyone wants to have a good time. But we owe it to each other as human beings to look out for one another. And we must realize that sometimes that means extending yourself beyond the reach of the Front Door of your establishment.


First and foremost, every individual on your Staff should undergo some type of Alcohol Awareness Training. In some states and countries this is mandatory and in my opinion it should be that way everywhere. Your Staff might grumble and gripe, but invariably seminar attendees walk out with useful information and many times learn things that they did not know before.

Teach your Staffers to be aware of levels of intoxication and know how to spot Intoxicated Individuals. Make sure that they know how to deal with over-intoxication and mitigate its effects. Tell your Staff to communicate any issues with possible over-intoxication. That means that EVERY member of your team – from Management to Busboys – be on the lookout for issues and be willing to speak up if they spot a problem. Servers and bartenders should know that they ALWAYS have the power to stop serving alcohol if they believe an individual has had too much to drink.

Anyone working the Front Door should be assessing both arriving and departing Patrons for their intoxication levels. Refuse entry to those too drunk to enter and ALWAYS offer assistance to those leaving intoxicated. Call taxis (and pay for them!), offer to call the Patrons’ friends, flag down a Police Officer – just make sure that you are not letting someone stumble off into the night with no idea of what will happen to them. These aren’t just Patrons, they are someone’s sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, mother, or father. I would hope that someone would look out for my loved ones if they were in trouble. And I would be eternally grateful if I found out that an employee from your bar was the one who helped to keep them safe.


Finally, if you are going to enforce rules at your bar, make sure you enforce them at your parties, at your friend’s parties, and when you are out on the town. Offer your fellow human beings assistance and let’s make sure that we all get home to enjoy the holidays with our loved ones. The few moments that you spend getting someone (maybe yourself!) into a cab or calling their roommate to come pick them up could literally save a life. Sometimes a little inconvenience on your part can save a lifetime of tragedy.

Stay safe. Keep each other safe. We’ll all be better off for it.

Until next time…

Nightclub Industry Interview: Asaf Dimant

Over the years, I have interviewed a number of security staff and managers. Their unique perspectives and differing approaches to Nightclub/Bar Security are always incredibly informative. As I considered what to write for this most recent blog post, I realized that I had not yet interviewed someone from the higher levels of management and ownership about the Security process. This time around, it was my great pleasure to interview a gentleman with whom I have not only worked, but who has helped me to re-think a number of things in terms of my own approach to Security. I hope you enjoy reading this interview with Asaf Dimant as much as I enjoyed taking part in it.

Official Title: Managing Partner and Director of Nightlife Operations for TONIC Santa BarbaraIndochine, and Blush Restaurant

How did you get your start in the Industry?

It was a combination of things: for one, I was in my early twenties and I had to get a job while I was in college at UCSB. I was also living in a pretty crazy party house on Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista and I got tired of dealing with the parties at my house. So I got a job as a security guard at a place called Spikes and then moved on to a restaurant and bar called Alex’s Cantina. I did that for a few months and found that I really enjoyed the pace. A friend of mine was working as a bartender and making good money, so I kept tormenting the manager and he finally gave me a shift as a brunch bartender. Shortly thereafter, the owners cleared the bartending staff out and I suddenly went from being the bar-back and Sunday brunch bartender to working downtown Thursday, Friday, and Saturday not knowing what I was doing.

How was that transition?

It was nuts. I was literally searching through my bartender’s bible when people would order drinks. A couple of the guys who mentored me through the bartending process came up to me at one point and threw the book away. It was very much a sink or swim situation. It was becoming a five to six night a week bartender almost literally overnight. But it was exciting. I enjoyed it.

As I worked more, I eventually became the college night bartender and then began to do a little managing. And I started to focus more on the business end of the restaurant industry. Having quick success early on helped push me to want to learn more. And having successful nights as an employee, when things are falling into place, the team is working well, and patrons are enjoying themselves is just a great motivator.

Once graduation came around, I had to make some pretty serious decisions. I had friends who had moved to Silicon Valley during the tech boom and were killing it, and I had a lot of options presented to me. Obviously, in terms of the bar/restaurant/nightclub industry, there are a ton of opportunities in other markets. But at this point, I had several mentors who introduced me to a lot of different aspects of the industry. I started to realize very quickly that there was more to running a bar than just making the nightly money: the behind the scenes politics and relationships that you have to build with the local law enforcement, other owners – and even politicians – are incredibly important.

Once I started to meet the people behind the scenes I had to sit down and kind of take inventory. Relationships have value – I don’t mean monetary – and that value became a deciding factor in me staying here. If I had moved out of town, I would have lost the network, the friendships, the mentorship, that were so important to being successful here. I took that all into account and that is when I decided to stay and start a bartender licensing company with my good friend.

At that point, the passion for the industry really kicked in. I just wanted to know everything. From ID checks to what is in various types of alcohol. It wasn’t just because of the job. I wanted to know the full aspect of what had become an aspect of my life. So using that knowledge, our company was able to reach out to bars and have them hire the individuals that we had certified. I was still working at night at this point, keeping in touch with the downtown network, and that was when the opportunity to open TONIC came about.

How big a jump was it to go from tending bar and managing to owning a venue?

(Laughs) It was life-force sucking. I’d never worked harder on anything in my life. It was overwhelming and became the focal point of everything for a year or two. Even working as a bar manager, there is a whole other level of business knowledge that you never touch. I learned a lot managing, but I didn’t know how to deal with insurance brokers, never dealt with the city politics, never held face-to-face meetings with law enforcement. This new set of relationships and guidelines given to me as an owner really enforced the importance of the security and safety of our patrons.

There are two sides to what we do: you want to provide people with a good time but you also want them to be safe. And handling the duality of that can be very difficult. A lot of owners would rather hand off their operations to other people. And that can lead to a variety of problems. So for us, instead of looking at the authorities as the “bad guy”, we came to see that following their guidelines was actually a way for us to ensure our longevity. It is really easy as a bar owner to say, “Oh, it’s slow tonight go ahead and let that minor and her friends in.” But in the back of your mind – if you’re a conscientious owner – you realize that you are setting a tone for your establishment. If you break one rule, that gives the ability to anyone in the establishment to make the rules up for themselves. Your staff will no longer look at you as a serious operator, they’ll look at you as the guy who’s chasing the money or the girls or whatever.

Would you say that the reverse it true? That sometimes owners will just put the responsibility to their staff and be hands off?

Absolutely. You see it all the time in different kinds of businesses. But in order to manage successfully, you need to create a stream of communication and a hierarchy and a set of rules. You need to get your Head of Security and staff to buy into to what you are doing. They need to be involved in meetings and discussions from day one. This is the only way that you can create the “culture” of your establishment. Vigilance has to come with constant communication. Our managers are really good about having nightly meetings with our security staff. Not just to go over the rules, but also to listen to what the staff has to say.

What aspect of security to find to be most important?

It’s tough to say because everything that they do has an effect on everything else. But ultimately, it is all about customer safety. People come to bars to let their hair down. Unfortunately, they sometimes make bad decisions. It’s our job to create a fun environment for people to release stress and let go for a bit. But it has to be an environment where people feel safe, have a good time, and get home safe. Creating a safe environment isn’t just watching for over-intoxication or breaking up fights. It’s making sure women can be in the bar and feel comfortable. It’s making sure that people aren’t slipping in hallways. It’s all encompassing. Creating the safe environment is key. Throwing the party is what you need to do to make people come back, but if they don’t feel safe they won’t come back, no matter how good the party is.

What are your expectations from your security staff?

Rule number one is make the establishment safe. And then get them to buy into the culture that you are trying to create. It’s important for the Head of Security to look at the club in the bigger picture. That is why you bring him in to the meetings. You need to be able to understand each other’s perspective.

Have you seen a shift in the attitude of/toward security in the past few years?

I think the number one change has been in the form of the pressure from the City to conform to its safety guidelines. By setting guidelines, the City has been able to weed out the business owners who want to buy in and work with them from the ones who were just “fly by night” and after the quick money. The operators that have their stuff together hire professionals and set a tone for everyone else. You could see the switch in operational attitude. If you want longevity, you have to become professional. It may come out of your pocket to have a full security staff on a slow night, but you’ll eat that cost if you want to thrive. So that desire to change has driven a shift in the approach to the product. If you can’t provide people a good time in a safe manner, you won’t last.

How has your partnership with the city and law enforcement been beneficial?

Hopefully, the partnership reaffirmed with them that we have that long-term approach to our business. It’s their job to keep the city and its citizens safe, just like it’s our job to keep our establishment and patrons safe. I think that they appreciate a serious approach to running an establishment. And by default, being serious can help you to have good, in-depth conversations with them about safety on the whole. You want to build a partnership with them. No matter what, they are going to check in on us, but our discussions are built on resolving issues that are good for the town and nightlife in this town as a whole.

At some point, you have to move past “What is best for my establishment?” and get on board with “What’s best for my city?” When you have people on the same page – bar owners and law enforcement working together – you can grow as a town.

What do notice first when you go out to clubs in other cities?

The front door staff. Always. The professionalism of the Doorman is what stands out. They are the first person you encounter. Their approach is key. There is always a “Good guy/Bad guy” at the front door. So it is a matter of how well they each play their parts. When people are smiling, even when they deny you entrance, it sets the tone for everything. After that I just look at the equipment they are using to track their clients. But in terms of vibe and customer experience, it’s how the first door guy greets you.

Weapons in Nightclubs

Safety is one of the greatest concerns you have as a Security Staffer. Working in a dimly lit, noisy environment, full of semi- to heavily intoxicated individuals of every possible background should be enough to make anyone sweat a little. Add to that the reality of your job being to limit liability in said environment and you can see why not many people work in the field for very long. We have written in much detail about the dangers of the job and what you as a professional can do to mitigate the risks. But one subject has not been broached until now:


I’m not talking about weapons being carried by Patrons, but weapons being carried by people on Staff.

Before I get too deep into the subject, let me say this: everyone has their own opinions about carrying weapons – regardless of type – and the use of said weapons in a dangerous situation. When I say “weapons” I mean any tool that can be used in an offensive or defensive capacity, whether it be a flashlight or a gun. I am not here to advocate one way or another. I am here to point out the dangers of possessing/carrying a weapon from a LIABILITY standpoint, and things that you should take into account should you decide to carry a weapon.

Every city, county, and state in the Union has their own laws governing the carry, possession, and use of weapons while on the job. Before you consider whether or not to carry a weapon, you MUST research the laws and ordinances in your city/county/state. Just because a Manager or another Security Staffer says, “Oh, that’s alright everyone here carries xxxxxx” DOES NOT make it legal. You could be setting yourself up for serious trouble should you break the law in this respect. Do your research and if you are not comfortable with your understanding of the law, either ask an attorney or DON’T CARRY A WEAPON.

Should you decide to carry a weapon, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:


Are you carrying to make yourself feel safer or does the job call for you to be armed? If the job calls for you to be armed, are you comfortable working in an environment that necessitates a weapon? Chances are if the environment calls for weapons, it is a step above your basic bar and grill. Or maybe it is just a matter of fact that weapons are carried by the Staff in this particular establishment. Either way, why are YOU carrying a weapon?


Are the people around you also armed, and if so, do you feel comfortable being around them? You might have serious reservations about some of your co-workers carrying any type of weapon. If this is the case, you may want to reconsider your place of employment.


There is a big difference between carrying a heavy flashlight and mace and carrying a handgun. What are the Polices and Procedures when weapons are carried by the Staff?What type of weapon is required for the job? Are you providing said weapon or is your employer? If your employer is providing the weapon, what type of insurance are they carrying? What type of insurance are YOU carrying? Remember, we are talking about liability here. Who has the coverage should something go wrong?


If your employer is providing the weapon, where is it being stored? Are the weapons accessible to the public or just the Staff? Will you be carrying the weapon with you at all times or checking it in and out of somewhere? Are you bringing the weapon with you, and if so where can you store it?


How is the weapon to be used? Most important, do you actually know HOW to use the weapon? A lot of people carry knives, batons, or handguns for security work with only the minimum necessary training. I would HIGHLY suggest that if you are one of these people, you start to train constantly, consistently, and under duress. Whacking a tree in your back yard, shooting at the range, and playing with your knife in your bedroom are far different than accessing and using your weapon while under pressure in an adrenalized state. Learn to use what you carry.


When do you imagine that you would need to use your weapon? Without venturing too far into the Use of Force continuum, at which point would you be comfortable using a weapon? There are very few situations in which use of a weapon is needed or called for in a nightclub environment. That just the plain facts. As a matter of fact, I would proffer that if you need to use your weapon, something has gone horribly wrong or you have not done your job correctly. Can things go horribly wrong? Absolutely. But I am betting that with good Situational Awareness, a little Verbal Judo, and a bit of Scenario training, you can be prepared to meet 99% of situations with a clear head and without using force OR a weapon. Heaven forbid you access and use you weapon, only to have something like this happen.

I want to make it clear that I am also writing to those of you who carry a knife or pocket stick or tasers or whatever. Should you use a weapon, there WILL be an investigation. And even if the law falls on your side, that doesn’t mean the damages you caused by using the weapon won’t be sought after in a civil case. You should very seriously consider the questions above should you decide to work while armed as well as the possible consequences should something “go south”

Don’t get me wrong, there are many instances in which self-defense is called for, even demanded. But you’re always going to have a hard time defending your use of a weapon against a civilian, regardless of danger level. Remember, you are not an officer of the law, you are a hired security guard and the rules are VERY different.

Until next time…