A Day in the Life: Assisting On a Protection Assignment
You are at home getting some rest, and your cell phone rings. It’s the call you have been waiting for. The Team Leader on a Protective Security Detail is telling you they need last minute assistance to provide security for a well known recording artist who is in town during the weekend of a major sporting event. What do you do?
Well, let me tell you what I did. I immediately asked where and when I was needed. His answer to me was “now,” and then proceeded to give me the location where the client will be at a few short hours from then. I quickly got dressed and proceeded to the location, getting more specific instructions whilst in transit. I arrived at the site and met with the head of security for the venue to see where the client would enter and where his cordoned off VIP area was located. I then contacted the Detail Leader and let him know contact was made with the venue security and all are awaiting his arrival.
A few hours later, and just prior to the client’s arrival we hit another obstacle – due to the massive crowds, the police officers on site had now blocked off the adjacent streets and would not let vehicles closer to the venue. There were NO exceptions. The frustration of the officers was very evident, likely because of the amount of people that voiced their displeasure at them once they learned the routes were blocked off. I tried a variety of approaches with the officers but they did not intend to change their mind regardless of the VIP. Of course the Detail leader did not want to hear that, and even in the heavy traffic, I knew they would be arriving shortly and there was no way the client was making the quarter mile walk on foot. I enlisted the aid of the venue security and after putting our heads together, got access to a vehicle from the interior side of the street closure.
Once the Principal’s vehicle arrived, we quickly moved the client and the travel party into the new vehicle and whisked it down the street. I, however, watched that last part happen curbside as I was now tasked with parking and securing the client’s vehicle in a location where parking spaces were a valuable but rapidly shrinking commodity. After finding one, I then knew I had almost a half mile jog to get back to the security detail, all the while keeping in the back of my mind that I am going to have to do this again when it’s time to leave. Upon reaching the venue, I found that the Detail Leader had elected to wait for me before entering, which of course made sense, as I was the one who was on-site first and knew the interior route and floor plan.
Once inside, the rest of my night consisted primarily of crowd management and access control in the private area that the Client was expected to remain in. Many distractions arose, but I credit the professional training I have received with helping me to maintain focus. One particular incident that occurred was when another very popular artist arrived with his sizable entourage and was placed at an adjoining VIP section. With the sheer influx of new faces, and the accompanying energy that came with the stars arrival, I knew I needed to heighten my awareness even more as there was no time at all for complacency.
After some time at the location, the Detail Leader signals to me that it is time to make preparations to leave. My plan was to get the client’s vehicle, stage at the original drop off location, jump in the vehicle on the venue side of the parameter and basically reverse our arrival. As I am thinking how to do this most efficiently, I run into the officer and give her a few encouraging words and thank her for her professionalism earlier. Then I popped the big question – Is there any way I could get the client’s vehicle through the checkpoint for a pickup, eliminating that vehicle transfer and therefore reducing his exposure to the public? Let’s just say a kind word to law enforcement goes a long way and I was allowed to go through. I then staged the vehicle right outside the rear door and proceeded back to the team.
As we left the venue, a member of the client’s travel party asked if they had to leave with the same inconvenient process we took to get here. This was said just as we were walking out the door at which point the group saw the client’s vehicle parked just outside. There were a couple audible remarks about that being a fantastic job and I allowed myself an (inward) smile. I escorted the group out of the area without incident, remaining at the ready until I received word from the Detail Leader that they were back at the hotel and on lock down for the night. With those words I could now say my Detail was successfully completed and however unglamorous at times, the reward from a career in Executive Protection comes from knowing that your client made it through their day without incident.
By Edward Nielsen