Proper Training Cost vs Jury Verdict Cost

Posted on: by Robert C Smith | No Comments
Proper Training Cost vs Jury Verdict Cost


  • 16 hours of California State mandated, job specific training cost = $120 dollars per person.
    • 10 California security guards and two manager’s training costs = $1,440 dollars.
  • California License Registration (Registration, DOJ & FBI Background) cost = $125 dollars.
    • 12 State of California Proprietary Security Officer Registration cost = $1,500 dollars.
  • Total to properly train 12 employees = $2,940 dollars.


I’ve been training and consulting for 19 years now.  I started this wonderful, first of a kind company in 1998 after I had to arrest a bar security guard for assaulting a patron who wouldn’t leave.  I was a San Diego Police Officer and Detective until 2011 and ran my company while also completing my 20-year employment with the department.

Within one month of the arrest of that bouncer, I obtained my business license and put my private consulting and training plan in motion.  It took only a week for me to get my first client.  The sales pitch to that regional manager wasn’t much, in fact, he asked only three questions.  He asked if I really train bouncers, I said yes.  He asked if I was still a cop, I said yes.  He asked if I was allowed to do this and again, I said yes.  He said let’s do this.

Two weeks later I was in a room training some 20 managers from San Diego to Los Angeles and another 20 senior bouncers from over 10 locations in Southern California.  The training, at that time, was only 6 hours long.  The core of the training covered how to proactively solve problems they see every night, what legal use of force was and when to make a citizen’s arrest.  This first session was a total success and after that session I was given one of the best educational lectures in my very short business career.

After the training session, the regional manager pulled me aside and told me he wanted to schedule additional training for his entire team of over 100 people.  Wow.  But then he asked me if I really understood the “business value” this training was providing?  I lied of course and said I have an idea, but was curious for his insight.

He emphatically explained to me that the training his team leaders just received would help save his locations hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.  As I tightened my brow in wonder, I listened.

He went on to say that this training will help keep police away because they will have fewer fights (MONEY).  He said that the community would not complain as much because there would be fewer problems (MONEY).  He told me the guests would see fewer problems (MONEY).  He said his team would obviously be better and this will raise their self-esteem and lessen turnover (MONEY).  I was amazed that he saw so many additional benefits to our training.  But, he wasn’t done.

I could see his excitement as he told me one additional point.  He told me the real money savings were behind the scenes.  He said that if his team had any sort of violent incident in their bars, they’d know how to act before, during and after the violent incident.  He said this training would absolutely save countless dollars from preventing lawsuits, during any lawsuit, during a settlement or from any possible jury verdict (MONEY).

As I left this first training session in 1998, I felt so excited about my company’s future and the benefits that owners would obviously see.  Well, as of today, August 2017, business is very good, but I’m not sure I will ever understand why so many owners and managers don’t see what one proactive regional manager saw back in 1998: training saves money.

I’ve noticed over my 19 years that too many bar and club owners or managers believe they don’t need specialized training.  They really believe that on the job or simple generic training will work just fine.  Too many owners and managers believe that teaching a bouncer how to correctly deal with costly issues is just not important.  Too many think they have a good crew and nothing like this could ever happen to them.  And finally, and perhaps most importantly, entirely too many owners or managers feel that using an outside security company for their bar or club security team is just fine.

Please trust me, these bar and club owner or manager decision mistakes can cost them or their insurance company MILLIONS of dollars.  Here is a very recent Premise Liability case that pushed me to write this article.

A domestic dispute and assault by an ex-girlfriend against the ex-boyfriend in the bar.  Several bar and security employees see or hear this dispute and assault but do not intervene.  Instead, the ex-boyfriend, with visible scratch marks walks away.  All parties are allowed to stay in the bar and within 30 minutes the ex-girlfriend approaches the table where the ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend are sitting and strikes the new girlfriend in the face with a beer bottle causing massive facial trauma, loss of vision and lifelong mental trauma.

The guards now immediately grab the ex-girlfriend suspect, zip tie her and walk her out the side door.  While dealing with the bleeding victim, the guards holding the suspect allow her to leave the area and the victim has to get to the hospital on her own.  The bar, equipped with video, doesn’t save the video, mops up the blood and continues business as if nothing happened.

This case took over 2 years to process but last week, in a San Diego Superior Courtroom, the jury returned with a verdict against the bar/club and their outside security company for 5.5 million dollars.  Testimony and evidence showed the bar and the security company employees were either not trained or minimally trained using antiquated generic training methods.  None of the training they might have received was job specific to a bar or club environment or issues they might have to deal with.

Training of the guards and management would have cost this location less than $3,000 dollars and could have changed the entire incident and saved the victim her sight.  But instead, the bar and security company are paying a 5.5 million dollar jury verdict.

It’s been 19 years since I met that smart and proactive regional manager.  I wish, for the sake of the female victim and even for the bar and security company that they could have had been more smart and proactive.

Be Safe and Be Smart

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