If you are a security professional with significant high-threat worldwide protective services experience, you know that depending on the client, it may not be a matter of if your client or a family member is kidnapped, but when. You also understand that it is likely that you may not even be directly providing protection for the client at the time it happens and unable to prevent it, especially when they are alone and most vulnerable.
The terms float off our tongue just as easily as “hello” or “goodbye.” They are vernacular words used to describe, discuss, or formulate plans for our primary concern: our client.
Having said that, what happens when there is more than one primary client? What happens when the “primary” becomes two, three, four, or more? What happens when your client instructs you that their two-year-old, is the primary “client” on a particular day or outing?
An excerpt from the best-selling book, An Introduction to Celebrity Protection & Touring by Elijah Shaw & Dale June. To get the full book, order at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or Ebooks.com. Limited Signed Editions available at www.ArmsLengthAway.com
Almost without question, if you are a musician, the recording process is the part you love. This is where they get to be creative; it’s where they take an abstract concept and make it a sonic work of art, one that hopefully will generate revenue. While it can be hard work for the artists, for most it’s a labor of love. They have the ability to get paid and earn a living for doing what they enjoy most.
In the previous instalments of this ongoing series, we discussed the challenges faced by Protectors who work with entertainers that spend at least some portions of their career involved in stage performances.
One memorable occasion was the visit by President George W. Bush to Manila, the Philippines, in October 2003, when he on his way to Thailand, where he was to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. This visit served as a great example of how much of an asset you can be for the protective elements if you know and apply protective operations principles.
As such, I always tell them that starting out in a career in EP can be challenging, more than likely it’s going to be slow going at first. The reasons for this are plentiful, some within your control and some that are not. The good news is that as I look around the industry, a greater number of specialists are entering our craft and being hired with greater frequency. Having said that, critical mistakes are also being made with nearly as much frequency.
It’s as if some have thought that because you have gone through your initial training and exceled, that you are immediately qualified to be the body man next right next to the Principal. Not true. There are many variables as to an agent’s success or defeat in EP. The keys discussed in this article are what work for me, and I hope by the end of the article you can put them to use as a tool for you as well.
If you’ve spent enough time around executive protection professionals, you’re no doubt familiar with the concept of creating a bubble around a protectee. It seems simple enough, right? Create the protocols, vet those with which the protectee interacts, and stringently direct the protectee’s activities without deviation.
In reality, of course, creating a safe environment for those elected officials, business leaders and celebrities who require protection by statute, board decree, or simply because they attract unwanted attention is an enormously challenging task that requires tremendous flexibility and innovation from those responsible. Let’s be honest — while many people who require such protection for their own safety understand and appreciate the necessity, they, including some past and current U.S. Presidents, are not always cooperative when faced with security limitations.
These challenges can take the form of unintentional harm coming by way of a prop, stage equipment, or something as simple as a slip and fall caused by a long dress and high heels.
Whenever we can, we as Protectors must try and anticipate, correcting or counteracting the occurrences that can cause this harm. This is usually done during the Site Advance at which time we do a walk-thru of the areas that the VIP will be visiting, in this scenario, the stage. It is at that time we will perform a visual inspection of the stage and the props, go hands-on with items the Protectee might come into contact with, such as the guard railing, and enlist the help of experts to answer questions that are beyond our realm of expertise, such as how the overhead lights are connected to the scaffolding.
By far the best method to accomplish this goal is to adopt a predictive, preventative strategy for protecting clients based on the tenets of Detect, Deter, and Defend. To effectively employ these tenets, we need some very specific soft and hard skills. In the protective operations world, the “soft” skills are sometimes referred to as Protective Intelligence (PI) while in other security disciplines they are referred to as situational and tactical awareness skills. If we are unable to prevent or avoid an attack, we need to have some expertise in specific “hard” skills such as use of firearms and security driving so that we can survive an ambush.
Spend any significant amount of time providing protection for entertainers involved with stage performances, and you will likely encounter one of this segment of the industry’s biggest headaches, the stage crasher.
The motivation for these individuals comes in various forms, some are “super fans” who see getting on the stage with the celebrity as the ultimate form of expression of their loyalty and support. They often refer to it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and despite common sense, the threat of ejection, arrest, or sometimes worse, they still needed to make the attempt.
It’s the final wrap up of the last day of your Close Protection training course. It’s been a long, and at times grueling, process but ultimately rewarding on multiple levels.
Along the way you’ve met some people you have really gelled with (and a couple that you have no plans on staying in contact with once class ends.) Overall, you enjoyed the experience, feel like you have gotten your moneys worth, and can say that you have some new, “tools for the toolbox.”
That is the brass ring in our business, AKA the sacred cow, however, on the road to eating Filet Mignon, there are bound to be several Big Mac’s along the route.
So, as we proceed on this journey to success, we have to make sure we navigate the potholes, namely, doing the job as required without becoming too comfortable in our role, leading to potentially disastrous results.
I’ve always tried to make sure I ask and answer that question before I write about personal experiences in public settings. In light of that, I must admit I thought about this one a bit longer than most, but felt it was worthy to share because one of the purposes of The Circuit Magazine is to inform and educate while offering unique perspectives within the Close Protection community.
“Elijah, I’m glad you choose me for the assignment, just so you know I have to be home on the 15th as my son has his little league try-outs.” I’ll have to be honest and say, if the assignment extends past the 15th, I’m likely going to use someone else from the outset. Why? Because VIP clients appreciate familiarity but the rotation of celebrity protection agents does not project stability, instead, it implies just the opposite.
Defining a Complex Advance All advances can be considered “complex” if you, and you should, consider all factors like the “profile” of your protecee, any credible, implied or possible threats, number of movements, personnel logistics, etc. As George Orwell said in his 1945 novel, Animal Farm, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more […]
So let me set the stage of this edition of Keeping Your Edge: it’s day 26 of a 30 day musical tour, and I’m currently writing this column in the front lounge of a 38’ Tour Bus. This particular bus has a fully functioning recording studio in the rear, and the THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of […]