Dangerous Surroundings: Navigating Nightclub Security

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I have seen so many operators in the nightclub business worry about security inside the club, but assume that what happens outside is “not their problem.” It is important for us to all realize that, fair or unfair, we are responsible for not just the inside security, but the outside security for a significant radius around our establishments. In the eyes of the liquor licensing bodies, any incidents that happen anywhere close to your establishment is a reflection on you, and these incidents can be used to sanction your license. Even worse is public perception: one high-profile shooting can cripple your club and brand it to the public as “dangerous.”

How do you combat that? You must be willing to spend the money on quality professional outside security. More importantly, you must constantly remind them they cannot just sit in their car, they must make constant patrols of parking lots and the area around the club. If they see groups of people loitering in your parking lot, those people must be ordered to leave. If a patron has been involved in a fight, they must leave, and their license plate should be recorded as well. Groups of girls leaving the club? Ask if they would like an escort. Outside security should be making constant rounds, staying on top of problems before they happen.

Who should you use for outside security? Off-duty police officers and sheriffs are an excellent choice because you know they will have solid training behind them, and there no issues with powers of arrest. This will also help build a degree of rapport with your local law enforcement agency. It is important, however, to avoid asking for favors; allow the officers to do their job, as they see fit. It is also important to ensure that any off-duty officers you employ actually patrol, not just sit in a car and watch YouTube videos. If you cannot afford off-duty officers or sheriffs, or if your jurisdiction does not allow them to work nightclubs, a quality security company is your best option.

When you’re searching for such a company, really look into them. Are they armed and do they have a secondary means of non-lethal force available to them? Anyone working outside security at a club needs oleoresin capsicum spray and proper training on using it. Outside security at a nightclub needs to be an armed position, with quality training behind the private officer. There are outside security companies that will use police officers from smaller agencies operating under a private officer license. You can be confident that there will be training behind private officers. If you opt to use private officers you must realize that the training issue is critical.

These are very important issues to look at in order to ensure the safety of your club and its future success. I will discuss these issues and more during my session at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Register now!

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