When one thinks of a “bodyguard”, what do they see? If one looks at the history of “bodyguard”, most people imagine a tall, muscular, mean-looking individual capable of lifting you with one hand and throwing you around the room.
Security professionals today refer to “bodyguards” and our associates as “executive security specialists” or “EP agents” in the modern world.
Let’s start with the first question. What is Executive Protection?
Executive Protection refers to the combination and deployment of security measures and countermeasures in order to protect the person protected (person protected) as well as corporate assets or property.
Executive protection does not just refer to the traditional private bodyguard in London image of a goon protecting a dignitary or V.I.P. Or celebrity. The modern protection agent image centers on:
o a “non-confrontational, incident avoidance” professional.
The offensive, tactical, and assault-minded individual is able to serve his/her purpose within a “compound”.
Today’s executive protection specialist can “cover and evacuate”.
PAST or TRADITIONAL IMAGE of an EXECUTIVEPROTECTION AGENT
A large stature and flashy clothes. Whether you are legally armed or not. Forceful and aggressive. Site protection only.
CURRENT IMAGE for an EXECUTIVEPROTECTION AGENT
Average height and business attire
This comparison and/or delineation brings me to a very important issue. Too often, a client in today’s business world calls on a company or individual he or she found through the yellow pages, internet or phone and ends up talking about their very serious issues directly with someone from the list.
Today, it is not uncommon for alleged professionals to emerge almost daily with their state licenses or no license at all. Then they hang up their shingles and go about business. For example, in New York and Florida, a private investigator’s license is required to provide Executive Protection or bodyguard service. No additional training or experience is required. This happens all too often, and the so-called professionals are referred to as “extraordinaire” Executive Protection experts.
They will forgo any trace of operational protocol, such as “security advance work” and, often without conducting a proper threat assessment or vulnerability assessment, offer clients protection services at ‘cut’ prices.
They compromise the quality of the service rendered to the client and also dilute the profession.
Unsuspecting clients won’t be able to understand why they are being charged rates as low at $40 or as high as $200 an hour.
Notable: A client can get the services of a qualified professional at a rate of $100-$125 an hour in their home, and a bit more for international assignments.
Truth be told, most of these “shingle-hanging non-professionals” couldn’t explain or elaborate on the essence and procedures of Executive Protection. They also don’t know the difference between vulnerability assessment and threat assessment.
Another myth in this industry is the belief in special ops experience being essential for this field. It is false. Domestically, the U.S. continental has a high-strategy, offensive combat experience that is not the end all’ or ‘be all’ of protective assignments. However, this experience can be very important in’very high-risk’ environments such as Colombia and Iraq. The normal, everyday protective assignment is usually a one man, sometimes two man detail, and rarely more. This type of routine protective assignment is often nothing more than an ‘armed escort,’ and without any advance security work.
Protective service without security advances is simply called ‘armed escort. This scenario will leave the protectors, particularly the non-professional’shingle hangers’, just as vulnerable to attack and robbery as the person being protected.
Another point worth mentioning, and one that is sad, is the complete lack of understanding by these individuals about the importance of preparation and attention to detail. A protection agent will do whatever it takes to live by the motto, “failure of preparation is preparing for failure”. This mentality was ingrained in the minds of all Secret Service Agents, and it was evident in every aspect of operations.
Clients should scrutinize the provider of ‘Protective Services’. Prospective clients should carefully examine the principal of the firm. The website should also provide BIO’s on any principals. Clients often have difficulty determining the background and credentials of the principal(s) behind a firm, as the “About us” page is either too light or skimmed completely. You may find general statements about the background, experience, and credentials.