Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
Since 2008, a pilot program in Polk County, Iowa, has required bouncers in select bars to participate in training programs to protect patrons and employees. Initiated after the 2000 death of a Des Moines-area bar patron in a scuffle with bouncers, the pilot requires bars that serve more than 200 customers and charge at least $5 covers to have at least one trained security employee. The Iowa Workforce Development’s division of labor services provides an eight-hour training session that reviews techniques for safely removing patrons, proper use of force, anger management, civil rights and recognition of fake IDs. According to state Rep. Wayne Ford, author of the bill that implemented the county pilot, there have been no fatal incidents of violence between bouncers and patrons since the program’s inception. The pilot is scheduled for legislative review in 2011. Some Iowa legislators have expressed interest in expanding the program to the rest of the state.