New regulations for bouncers in California clubs

FRESNO, Calif.

The law requires bouncers to take at least 16 hours of training before they begin work security in a night club. Club officials and legal experts tell Action News the most important thing for bouncers to learn is their legal parameters of what they can and cannot do on the job.

Working security in a bar is risky at times, according to Pino Borrelli, a consultant for Club Rome in Central Fresno. "They're going to get cussed at; they're going to be put down," Borrelli said.

Bouncers, legally known as proprietary security officers, often get into scuffles while trying to settle drunken people down, especially those not following the club rules. Borrelli said the new rules, which require strict background checks, ensure a level of integrity for his bouncers that may have been missing before.

"It just kind of insures that they're good guys," he said. "They haven't been trouble makers in the past or might have a record that sometimes we don't find out about."

The new law says bouncers and their employers, the clubs or bars, must be certified to operate by the state. The bouncers must take courses in security officer skills. Nicholas Perez owns and operates Central Valley Private Security. He oversees 32 licensed security officers who often patrol outside places like Club Rome. "It pretty much makes that bouncer or security officer more format to the knowledge of what they should and shouldn't be doing."

This is crucial to information, according to ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi. He said the new state regulations protect more than the clubs and bouncers. "It also protects the person that's being detained, the person that might be accused of something," Capozzi said. "They have rights and security officers can't go beyond what a private individual can do."

If a bouncer is caught working without a license, he or his employer could face up to $5,000 in fines. And since many laws change from year to year bouncers are also required to take refresher courses annually, in order to maintain their license.

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