‘Dallas’ Law’ that would strengthen requirements for private security guards passes TN Senate

A law was passed after a man was attacked and killed by an uncertified security guard.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 12:43 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A bill that would strengthen training and licensing requirements for some private security guards in Tennessee has been passed by the state Senate.

The legislation, known as Dallas’ Law, was approved 28-1 by the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, comes after 22-year-old Dallas Barrett was killed at a downtown Nashville bar last August while being restrained by six security guards, some unlicensed and some untrained.

“I think when people enter an establishment, they actually have expectations that there’s going to be security and safety, and if we’re going to keep residents and visitors safe and meet their expectations that they’re entering a safe environment, we got to make sure that the folks at the door know how to handle themselves and how to handle what’s a really significant responsibility,” Yarbro said.

“I think it’s a good idea. It’s unfortunate someone had to die in order for this to happen,” J.C. Shegog, a master firearms and tactics instructor, said. “I think it’s a great idea and it brings the security industry to a more professional level instead of just boots on the ground.”

Under Senate Bill 2514, all unarmed security guards would be required to complete new training requirements. The training would include de-escalation and safe-restraint techniques, as well as training in first aid and CPR.

“What we’re saying here, going forward, here’s what the clear rules are for bars and restaurants to comply with if they’re going to have security personnel,” Yarbro said.

Before, it was something that is touched upon, but now it’s more of a grip,” Shegog said. “Now they’re going to have to grasp it, and with this grasp, you’ll get into more detail.”

Shegog, who has been in business for 20 years, including private security and security guard training, said the de-escalation training would include teaching the unarmed security guard to treat a customer like a person.

“Giving them an opportunity to self-correct and then from there, basically the escort technique instead of tossing them out,” Shegog said. “Let me talk to you over here. Can we talk about it? I understand you’re having a bad day, but you can’t do that there.”

When it comes to safe-restraint techniques, Shegog said it’s all about teaching dosage to these unarmed security guards.

“I teach on philosophy of medicine and poison. The only difference is dosage,” Shegog said. “Being able to be familiar with the doses will make them better officers and less of a liability to the general public.”

“These institutions that hire their own security has sort of fallen into a little bit of a loophole in the law,” Yarbro said. “We’re not actually eliminating them from existing, but we are requiring they meet the same standards in terms of licensing and training that any unarmed security guard would meet.”

The bill also requires businesses that have permits from an alcoholic beverage commission and hire security guards to take extra steps.

1) Documentation of general liability insurance coverage in the amount required by present law for all licensees and employers of private security guards/officers, which is a minimum $300,000 for personal injury and $100,000 for property damage;

(a) One set of classifiable electronic fingerprints of the qualifying manager; and

(b) A registration fee of $100.

This amendment also requires a proprietary security organization that has a license or permit from the alcoholic beverage commission or beer board to:

(a) Submit a biennial fee of $100 to the commissioner to maintain the organization’s status as a proprietary security organization; and

(b) Provide the commissioner with the full name, the business and residence addresses, and one set of classifiable electronic fingerprints of the new qualifying manager within 15 days of a change in the qualifying manager.

“They’re going to have to register and make sure their folks are licensed and if they’re going to use them in this fashion and make sure they are trained and licensed,” Yarbro said. “That would be some burden, but it’s not too much of a burden to ask.”

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, which is the agency security guards and businesses need to get licenses through, sent News4 this statement”

“As we would with any proposed legislation, the Department has provided information and answered questions from the sponsors of SB2514 in order to help fulfill our mission of providing responsible regulation and protecting Tennessee consumers. We will continue to strive to complete our mission.”

The companion bill of SB2514 in the House, sponsored by Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, was on the calendar for House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee, but it was deferred until next week’s meeting.

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