Property Management Professionals (PMP)

My HOA needs some help with its pool security


On Memorial Day weekend, there was an incident at our community’s pool: Two adult men who were blatantly intoxicated got into a fist fight, and the police had to be called to break it up.

Our association’s answer was to hire full-time security to harass residents who use the pool by checking identification to make sure we live in the community and searching coolers to make sure no one is drinking alcohol. I am not comfortable showing my identification with my home address to some random security guard. This has become a huge invasion of my privacy, and the association has completely overreacted to the isolated fight.

Do you have any feedback or suggestions for our community to keep the pool safe while protecting the privacy of the residents?

– Tina A.

Hello Tina,

Pool safety and security is an important topic, and one that many associations are discussing as we settle into the 2012 pool season.

It sounds like the actions of a few irresponsible residents over the holiday weekend have cost the association, and the residents, both in terms of monetary expenses for pool security, as well as a level of solitude residents were once able to enjoy.

The majority of association pools do not have full-time security or lifeguards. Not only can most association’s not afford such services, this level of supervision is typically unnecessary as homeowners police themselves, treating their community’s property with respect and get along with other pool patrons.

Unfortunately, when there is an incidence, such as vandalism or a high-profile conflict like the one you described over Memorial Day weekend, the association has a duty to take action to protect the residents and mitigate against potential liability exposure.

Incidents such as an alcohol-related fights on association property are a big deal, and I agree with your association’s decision to hire a security detail to police the pool, even if it creates inconveniences for pool patrons.

All that said, I understand your concern as it relates to presenting your legal identification to gain access to your community pool. State-issued identification includes what many view as confidential information, such as your full name, age and home address. I can appreciate why residents may not feel comfortable sharing this intimate information with the security guard.

I would suggest that your association look into issuing community pool passes to residents, such as a key chain pass that includes homeowner specific account numbers.

Pool passes verify that a pool guest is a member of the association without disclosing confidential information. Should an incidence occur, security could simply draft a report utilizing the pool pass account number to identify the individuals involved.

Additionally, many associations allow teenage residents who do not have official identification to utilize the pool without adult supervision, so verifying teenage association members can pose a problem. Pool passes provide a system that resolves many of the issues related to having to show legal identification.

Although I do agree with a strict no-alcohol policy at association pools, I do not support security checking people’s cups or coolers without cause. If security sees alcoholic beverage containers or has reason to believe that someone is intoxicated, then by all means they should enforce the no alcohol policy, requiring that the offending member dispose of the alcoholic beverages or be escorted off the premises, but unmotivated searches I feel overstep what I would consider to be reasonable.

Association security is hired to protect the value and integrity of the community and meant to help keep residents safe. If your association has hired security to help protect the community, take pride in the fact that your association’s board of directors are proactive and diligent in their efforts to protect the community and keep the membership safe.

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