Dallas’s Law Will Protect Consumers, Business Owners, and Security Guards

Tuesday, December 06, 2022 | 09:31am

Tennessee’s world-class dining and entertainment venues are a vital part of our state’s economy and one of the reasons why the Volunteer State is one of the country's most popular travel destinations.

As more visitors come toTennessee’sentertainment venues, the need for greater security has increased. Today, security guards (both armed and unarmed) are on-hand in venues where alcohol is served in order to help ensure the safety of patrons.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s(TDCI)Detection Services Licensing Program regulates armed and unarmed security guards, certified security guard trainers, contract security companies, and proprietary security organizations –or PSO for short.PSOs are organizations that employ in-house security guards.

PSO’s may be restaurants, churches, schools, or other establishments. If they employ their own guards, then they likely need to register with TDCI as PSO’s. Starting Jan. 1, 2023, enhanced training requirements for registered security guards will be enacted by TDCI while greater potential disciplinary measures for violations related to these new consumer protections go into effect.

These new requirements are part of bi-partisan legislation signed by Governor Bill Lee that has become known as Dallas’s Law.

Named for the late Dallas Barrett, Dallas’s Law creates greater protections for citizens by raising the training standards required of all security guards employed in establishments where alcohol is served. Barrett died in 2021 after an altercation with security guards in a bar in Nashville’s Lower Broadway area.

As part of Dallas’s Law:

  • All security guards working in establishments that serve alcohol in Tennessee must complete additional training in de-escalation, safe restraint, first aid, and CPR. All security guards working in establishments that serve alcohol in Tennessee must complete refresher trainings on these requirements every two years prior to renewing their registration cards.
  • The punishment for establishments where security guards are employed without a valid or appropriate registration card swill increase, including the suspension of the establishment’s alcohol license or permit by our colleagues at the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission or local beer board.
  • PSO’s were already required to register with TDCI, however, if a PSO also holds a permit or license to serve alcohol, then the establishment will have additional registration requirements as part of its PSO registration under Dallas’s Law. Further, Dallas’s Law also removes an exemption that allowed any unarmed security guards working for PSO’s to work without having to complete any training.
  • All unarmed security guards, regardless of where they are employed, will also need to complete a refresher training course every two years.
  • These are important changes that will hopefully prevent similar tragic situations from occurring in the future. Since the bill’s passage, TDCI’s Detection Services Licensing Program’steam has met with security guards, licensees, and other stakeholders in an effort to raise awareness about the new requirements and to help licensed security professionals become aware of the law’s requirements. It is important to note that the new requirements under Dallas’s Law apply only to security guards and establishments employing security guards. Dallas’s Law does not mandate that every employee at an establishment where alcohol is served complete these additional trainings, but companies may still voluntarily choose to provide training in safe restraint, de-escalation, first aid, and/or CPR to their other employees.

If you are security guard and are unsure that your training is compliant or if you need assistance, please contact the Detection Services Licensing Program by e-mail at private.protective@tn.govor by phone at 615-741-6382.

Alex Martin is the assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s Division of Regulatory Boards.