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Formulating Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 75 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 52,54,55,57,58
Raymond W. Kelly
Date Published
May 2008
5 pages
This article provides an overview of ways to improve patron, employee, and officer safety at bars and clubs in New York City, as developed by the New York Police Department and New York Nightlife Association Working Group.
A total of 60 best practices were developed, 47 of which apply to security, employees, age verification, club policies, and police-community relations. The remaining 13 pertain to reporting crimes. Best practices in security pertain to the licensing and training of security guards, their ratio in relation to the number of patrons, and their handling of potentially violent patrons. Other security measures pertain to detaining perpetrators, the use of digital video surveillance in and around the club, the compilation of identification information on ejected and/or arrested patrons, lighting inside and outside the club/bar, and the use of metal detectors. Best practices for club/bar employees focus on keeping records needed for identification, job descriptions, and contact; the maintenance and responsibilities of clean-up crews; and designating employees to conduct occupancy counts periodically throughout the night. Age verification procedures pertain to the use of ID scanning machines, which can verify whether an ID is valid, record notes for identifying problem patrons, and retaining ID information for a 14-day minimum. Digital video cameras and ID scanners should be time-stamped so that scanning information can be compared to video footage of patrons entering the club. An establishment policy handbook should be in the premises at all times, with copies distributed to all employees. It should inform all employees about how to handle the following situations: illnesses or injuries, fights, patrons refusing a search or "pat-down," disorderly patrons, false IDs, drug use, citizen arrests, recovered weapons, an emergency evacuation plan, an exit plan at closing time, and guidelines on maintaining order outside the premises.