Monday, July 16, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have a question concerning our security team. There are as many opinions about a security team as there are people, so I wanted to check and see if you could clarify for us that calling our team “Security Team” does not present any legal issues. We have already cleared our purpose statement and description of the security team with our insurance company and they are good with our framework. We keep having one person who is a dealer and CHL Trainer pushing us that we can’t call our team a security team without legal ramifications and we need to come up with something other than that to call them. We are about to order reflective vests that has security on the back and before we do, wanted to see if you could give me some direction.

Also I wanted to say thank you. I have connected with Nathan Baxter and going through his executive coaching right now and it has been one of the best things I have ever done. Thank you for inviting compelling people to the XP-Seminar—it truly makes a difference!

DRF—Great to hear from you … and for the impact of the XP-Seminar and Nathan’s coaching. I love to hear those things.

I’m not an attorney so I can’t answer your question with legal backup. However, I can give you some things to think about:

  • It is fantastic that you have checked in with your insurance carrier. When you develop policy for the team, run that by them too. Keep in close dialogue with your insurance carrier. This is vital and especially important if any of the team will carry any kind of firearm.
  • If you have an attorney in the congregation, see if they can give some pro bono advice on the name. There may be local or state issues involved that define “security” in a special way.
  • If you find that “security” is the wrong title, consider “safety team,” “church safety,” or some other term. In the event of an emergency, you need to have the team easily identified by law enforcement officers.
  • Check in with your insurance carrier about the vests as well. They may have some input for you.

On the naming issue, let me check in with Jesse Stanley who founded Strongside Principles, which does training and consulting in this area.

Jesse—“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” Well, as Romeo and Juliet discovered, names matter. When it comes to naming the primary team you rely on to promote a safe environment, there are a few topics to consider.

Your CHL trainer may have a point, but before unpacking let me say this: security licensing is regulated at the state level, every state is different, and understanding state laws on security licensing can be downright frustrating. It’s been a while since I lived in Texas and I’m no expert on its laws, but here’s what I found. Legislation was passed in Texas in 2017 that allows for churches to form security teams without licensing, but with some limits. Specifically, a person providing volunteer security services may not wear a uniform or badge that has that the word security or gives the appearance of being a security officer.

So, traffic vests with security on the back used by unlicensed security volunteers may put you in violation of your state’s law. It’s a good idea to get familiar with state statutes, so check out Texas Occupation Code, chapter 1702 and then section 1702.333 that was added after SB 2065 was signed into law in 2017.

Response—Thanks! We did talk to our church lawyer. It looks like we will go with “Church Safety Team.”