By John R. Lehman
I’ve been asked for over a year to address the subject of contracts. Specifically, contracts between Personal Protective Operatives, (or their companies), and the people they protect.
In this posting, I will try to simplify the explanation of the “Contract” and offer an approach from our perspective on the creation and use of this form of agreement.
The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the contract is really quite simple.
Let’s start with the “Why?”
If you have ever been in a hotel room and looked up at the sprinkler, you noticed the little coat hanger symbol with a big red line through it on a label next to the sprinkler. That symbol means “Don’t hang anything on this”. One has to assume that someone had to have hung a coat hanger on the sprinkler head causing a very wet result AND it had to have happened more than once to justify the expense of putting stickers by every sprinkler in the country..
The written contract is needed because someone before us breached a “verbal” agreement. The contract in our case is needed to insure that all parties agreeing to a set of conditions, allowing them to operate with each other, are doing so with equal and clear understanding.
Who needs a written contract?
Anyone who enters into any agreement with anyone else.
A contract between the Principal person to be protected and the protection provider is only the beginning. Agreements between the “Client” and members of his domestic staff, Protection team and limousine and rental car agencies, apartment lease agreements, and even in between individual members of the protective team are all necessary.
What is a contract and what should be listed within it?
“A written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, which is intended to be enforceable by law”. A “protective services” contract should specify:
- Responsible entities or persons entering into the agreement
- The signer’s legal address and contact information
- Specific tasks to be performed
- Locations (with addresses) where work will be performed
- Conditions under which you will perform the required tasks
- Conditions under which you would cease performing these tasks
- Responsibilities of each party to provide certain or specific equipment
- Expectations of each party
- Restrictions on each party
- Insurance requirements
- Start and end dates
- Penalties for issues such as non-performance/non-payment
- Rates of pay, schedule of payments and due dates
Additional items to consider as attachments to the main contract might include:
- A Non-Compete, Non-Disclosure (an “NCND” or “NDA”). Each party signs the other’s agreements.
- A copy of regulatory rules and statutes under which you might be working
- Copies of other agreements to be signed, i.e. Rental, Lease, Memberships
- Assigned Equipment Agreement (radios, weapons, credit cards, vehicles…)
- Affidavit to allow access to Client’s personal information
Remember that the Client signs the same agreements that you do.
When is it appropriate to bring up “the contract” or set up a time to sign a contract?
My typical conversation starts out with a greeting and “How may I help you?”
The Client or their representative answers “I am considering using a Bodyguard, What do I need to do?”
My Answer is usually “We can help you, but I need to ask you a couple of quick questions”
“I assure you that I will not ask for personal identifiable information now but I need to establish what type of help you need.”
Are you in danger at this moment?
Do you currently have someone protecting you?
Are you armed?
You don’t have to tell me where you are yet, but you can if you want to…
Are you in a safe location?
Are you using your normal cell phone?
Are you driving your own vehicle or one assigned to you by someone else?
If you are in hiding, are you using your own identity or credit cards?
The “Where” is very important. You must choose a place that limits the client’s public exposure while still offering them the feeling that they are surrounded by people and free to get up and leave at any time. I will offer immediate security and pick up and escort of the Client but it’s rare and even rarer that they accept.
Once I have established the person’s real need or level of fear, and current level of safety, I will ask for a place and time to meet. I will suggest a Law Enforcement building or if the person is in extreme duress and fearful, the person’s Attorney’s office or a bank lobby.
I never suggest the movie line that they must “come alone”. If they are in real fear, a companion may ease their tensions and make it easier to negotiate with them.
Have an Attorney draft and design your contracts and all attachments. Get your Attorney to read anything you will sign. AND , I always have a contract package with me!!
The “How” involves considering the frame of mind of the client and their safety.
I introduce myself to the client and we sit. I always sit within arm’s reach of them.
I open my brief case and place the contract package on the table. The top contract is an agreement to not disclose anything about the ensuing conversation to ANYONE. It also establishes my legal right to the person’s personal information through his permission via an Affidavit which we have notarized.
I explain who I am, what I will and won’t do, I explain that I am not a “Bodyguard” but rather a “Personal Protection Consultant” AND I explain the difference between the two.
I continue asking open-ended questions to allow them to explain their situation. This process establishes trust and prepares the person to sign the Operating Agreement.
I explain that I will need to perform a few tasks and explain that I will get some personal information from them and run a background investigation on them. And if I decide to help them then I will contact them in 24 hours and require a 5000.00 dollar cash retainer and that I will need them to answer as many questions as is possible on a “Client Questionnaire”. The Client Questionnaire that I designed is a minimum of 430 questions and as many as 700. (Depending on the Client and the size and expanse of the estate).
The agreement also states that if I am not retained, they will get 3000.00 dollars back and they will keep all of the information I discovered. I secure a cashier’s check or U.S. Postal money order before we separate. The cashier’s check or money order helps to insure that the funds are legitimate.
Once we have discussed the safety and security issues and I have established the validity of the concern and the client’s legitimacy AND their financial ability to pay for my services, we discuss the rate and cost of expenses. We discuss issues with travel and clothing and equipment and weapons and my team’s intrusion into the client’s private world and more. We agree to meet again within 24 hours and sign the final contract to engage in business. We separate and I run a complete background on the Client and everyone they know.
When we meet again, we sit, I open the file, I hand the client a pen and the contract is signed within 60 seconds. I then discuss our Personal Protection Officers, show the client a file on two officers who can work within the client’s parameters and he picks his lead man. It is then up to the Lead man to pick his team. I then call the chosen lead man and he is at our location within 2 minutes. The lead then takes possession of the Client and I depart. The now Close Protection Officer (CPO) begins training the Client and if required, building his team.
This may seem completely strange and one can argue that this is just not the proper way this is done. So do it your way. But I sign 90% of the potential clients I meet with. Of those, 40% are for terms in excess of 90 days. The 60% are clients needing less than 10 days. Naturally, I have left a few things out to protect my strategies and real methods for meeting with the client, but this is as close as I can come to a quick education on contracts.
As far as Taking possession of the Client, That’s for next time.
About the Author
Mr. Lehman is the Vice President of Athena Academy. He is the founder and CEO of White Star Consulting, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. He is a certified TCOL (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) classroom and Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Federal Protective Service authorized Instructor, Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor, ASP Baton/Handcuff Instructor and unarmed defensive tactics Instructor using the Russian Systema discipline. He is a Texas Licensed Instructor for unarmed and armed Security and teaches the Texas Personal Protection Officer (PPO) course. Mr. Lehman joined Athena Academy Instructor’s team on January 2013, with over 27 years of corporate and private security experience
Over the years I have engaged in casual conversation with women who all end up asking “so what do you do?” Their surprise at my answer is usually followed up with “wow, I wish I could do that”.
Still, I am contacted by others who are interested in my profession but believe they don’t have the ability to pursue it due to a lack of experience or the finances needed to acquire the training. My response is usually that you can achieve anything, if first you get you rear end off of the couch.
I would like to share a story as an example of being able to achieve your dreams without overwhelming physical strength, money or luck.
There was a little girl who at the age of 8 witnessed firsthand her country’s civil war. Her country was transitioning from a dictatorship to a democracy. She and her family survived while dodging the crossfire from national troops and armed rebels. She replaced her childish hide and seek games with hiding for her very life…
A few months later her family escaped the violence and immigrated to another country. She and her parents and a 3 month old little brother and all the family’s possessions with one suitcase between them, made it to freedom.
The little girl had to learn everything all over again. A new country, new language, new friends, new traditions and new life, and all within a culture that reminded her and even insisted that she wasn’t equal to them.
She managed to make new friends and learned how to adapt and be a part of another world. One evening, at the age of 16 she was a victim of an assault that left her badly beaten, robbed and almost bleeding to death in an alley. It took four years of therapy to learn to live with her frustration, nightmares, anger and pain. The physical pain was a matter of weeks but the emotional pain took years to manage. She blamed herself as many do after an attack. Why didn’t she pay attention, see the signs, and know how to defend herself or just be able to run. And the worst part of it was that she couldn’t report it as her family was illegal in that country.
After high school she decided to become a bodyguard. She still can’t answer the exact reason as to why. She found it a fascinating profession, maybe she wanted to protect others, and herself. Still today if you ask her what made her decide on this profession, she will say ‘’I don’t know’’….it just felt natural’’
She received her first training in close protection at the age of 19. She had no money for training so she borrowed it. She worked as a waitress to pay back the loan.
She had no military or law enforcement experience, but she knew she could offset those requirements by taking more and more courses and working her way up from the very bottom as a security guard. She offered to intern for security companies in order to gain experience.
She barely made any money. She went without and sacrificed everything in order to pay for further training and education in the security industry.
She fought sexual harassment, verbal insults, gender discrimination, exclusion, and pure alienation. She forged ahead without the support or respect of her peers which left her vulnerable to making extremely bad choices in some business relationships that cost her money, time and peace of mind.
She continued to concentrate on her training and maintained her work ethic. Eventually she was noticed. She had finally earned the respect of a few people who would refer to her as a colleague. People saw something good in her and trusted her. They offered her jobs or accepted her as a team member and guided her. She learned from them and achieved respect.
She was not lucky. Luck never followed her. Failed business relationships, broken trusts, financial failures and plain business misfortune. She suffered breakdowns, loneliness, exhaustion, physical and muscular fatigue, injuries, blood and scars, heating pads and ice baths and yes, admittedly, tears. But she always kept moving, even when she had to crawl she was crawling closer to her goal.
This girl was me…
I was born in a communist country, immigrated to Greece and created a company dedicated to the training of female security professionals. That company is Athena Worldwide and it and its affiliates operate in the USA and Europe and in two dozen countries. I am financially secure, help to support my family and continue to train every day.
What I learned is:
-Find what you love to do and what you want to be, then make a plan to achieve it.
-If you don’t have the financial ability, sacrifice.
Take the job that will pay off your debt. You can get the job you really want later.
Any job you take can enhance your training and add to your experience. Find the opportunities they offer.
You don’t need a military or law enforcement background. There are opportunities within the security industry that don’t require them and in fact in some cases, being either of the former could disqualify you. Clients and companies used to hire people with military or LE experience because they wanted professionals who had specific mental and physical abilities and were able to work under challenging conditions and follow specific directions. While military and police personnel are trained in specific skills, they often lack the “social polish” and sense of style, needed for close interaction with a client. Keeping in mind that soldiers and policemen are manufactured by their governments and trained to be dependent on them, it stands to reason that it is easier to take a socially polished professional and teach them the necessary protective skills, than it is to retrain a soldier or a policeman how to smile, dress and dine at a 26 piece place setting.
If you can prepare yourself mentally and physically to allow an employer to trust your skills, you will be amazed to find out how easy it is to get a foot in the door of this industry.
If you don’t have any experience at all and know that 99% of job openings require prior experience, don’t be disappointed, I will admit that it is frustrating for employers too. So there are steps you can take that can add to your experience:
- Seek out and join professional trade organizations. Socialize with their members.
- Volunteer to assist with political candidates that cannot afford a security team
- Intern with a legitimate group or team and be prepared to start at the bottom
At the end of the day, we must realize that we are not living in a perfect world. No one has to offer us anything. As in any other industry you have to fight to survive and fight just as hard to get ahead. Game rules won’t be fair and you will be pushed from one corner to another. Be prepared to be lied to and miss-led. Understand that you will be judged and passed over for work because you are too tall or too short, to heavy or thin, too pale or the wrong race or gender, or even because of your religion or hair color, eye color or because of tattoos or visible birthmarks or because of an accent or the wrong sounding voice, or because of your last name or the car you drive or ………………
But remember, no matter how many so called colleagues mentally attack you or employers pass you over for work, as long as you keep focused on your goal and do well, there will be someone watching and you will be noticed. One day your hard work will pay off.
It doesn’t matter how strong you are or how much money you have. What matters is how badly you want what you want.
….Now tell me again, what is stopping you?
Founder & Worldwide Director
Firearms started out as a hobby for Tatiana Whitlock, but this NRA Woman has taken it to the next level by getting involved in tactical training courses. Armed with her newfound skills and background in Krav Maga, Tatiana is fully equipped to defend herself and her family. She challenges other women to do the same.
By John R. Lehman
For every one opinion offered, there are a hundred that will disagree with it, so before we begin, let’s understand that this opinion is offered from a bit of a different approach for the purpose of presenting a method for determining whether or not to own a firearm. While I am not ashamed of my own personal opinion on the issue of firearm ownership, (that it is every citizen’s duty to possess the means to defend themselves against crime, lawlessness and tyrannous government, and including against all enemies both foreign and domestic), I will try to stick to the methodology of arriving at a decision to possess firearms.
First, let’s consider that almost any object can kill someone while in the hands of a person with the physical ability to use it. A pencil, or pen used as a dagger, an umbrella or cane as a club, a cellphone or roll of quarters as an aid to punching, automobiles, drugs…. So why the fear of firearms? In a very real sense, the people calling for the control or extinction of firearms are the very people that demand that someone else protect them from crime or foreign invasion. It all comes down to fear and entitlement. The people that fear firearms believe that they are entitled to Police protection.
Second, consider that federal and state laws, local ordinances and individual property rights all come in to effect when possessing a firearm, which is to say that if all the laws and rules and ordinances in the land allow you to possess a firearm, an individual property owner can still restrict you from possessing that firearm on property they control. This includes football stadiums and airplanes, hospitals and schools and even Home Owners Association, (HOA) properties.
Third, consider that Police Officers and other Law Enforcement Officers are public servants with their first obligation to the public safety. They do not owe any obligation to the private citizen and in fact prioritize their responses to serve the public interest first and individual last.
So now ask yourself: why a firearm?
Do you need one or want one?
If your life depended on it, could you shoot a person who was trying to kill you?
Would owning a firearm make you feel safer? Why?
Do you know the difference between single action and double action? Or a revolver and semi-auto?
Are you afraid of handling firearms?
Do you have experience shooting?
Do you have minors or mentally challenged persons in the home?
Are you legal to own a firearm, i.e. age, criminal record, mental health?
Do you have a place to practice the skill required to operate the firearm?
Do you live or work or commute where firearm possession would be restricted?
Do you know your local laws and those affecting firearm possession?
If you can’t answer all of these questions, find the answers before purchasing a firearm.
Now, here is my approach to owning firearms:
If you look at the acquisition, registration, training, care and security of a firearm the way you would the adoption of a small child, you might surprise yourself with your decision.
Are you physically, mentally and physiologically able to load, discharge, reload, unload, disassemble, clean, reassemble and store the firearm? Are you able to care for it?
Can you afford to purchase it, register it, buy the ammunition, buy a safe or locking case, pay for eye and hearing protection and pay for range fees, or memberships and cleaning supplies? Can you afford lessons for using it or the state fees for carrying it concealed?
Are you committed to guarding it, spending time getting to know it and learning to use it?
Will you take it out and exercise it, feed it only the best non-corrosive ammunition and afterwards, clean it and keep it clean?
Can you identify when it is not working well and what might be wrong with it and if it needs a gunsmith? Would you get it fixed or put it up for adoption because it wasn’t perfect?
Once you determine your ability to possess the firearm, you need to determine your use for it.
What is the purpose of the firearm? Is it for hobby, competition, work or protection? While you can find one that can do all, you should consider that certain firearms are manufactured specifically for a single task. You wouldn’t want to use a two-shot derringer in a police shootout any more than using a screwdriver as a hammer or vise-versa.
Is the family included in the decision to have a firearm in the house?
Are you considering having one firearm that everyone can use? Remember that not all sizes of hands can properly grip, and operate the firearm.
Who in the home will have access to the firearm? (All who do will need training).
Where will you store or keep the firearm? Can you get to it at 3 A.M. when you wake to the sound of breaking glass? And do you know enough about yourself to know that you will even wake up, Be able to identify an intruder as someone other than your mother in-law, and aim and pull the trigger……..all before they reach you?
So if you are ready to adopt, go see a firearms dealer, and ……stay tuned. And if you’re still not sure…….stay tuned.
About the Author
Mr. Lehman is the Vice President of Athena Academy. He is the founder and CEO of White Star Consulting, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. He is a certified TCOL (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) classroom and Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Federal Protective Service authorized Instructor, Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor, ASP Baton/Handcuff Instructor and unarmed defensive tactics Instructor using the Russian Systema discipline. He is a Texas Licensed Instructor for unarmed and armed Security and teaches the Texas Personal Protection Officer (PPO) course. Mr. Lehman joined Athena Academy Instructor’s team on January 2013, with over 27 years of corporate and private security experience.
NANNYGUARDS (SM) the world’s first category creating hybrid nanny/manny with security training offered only by Athena Academy
NANNYGUARDS ”Next Generation Nannies”
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Nannies and Mannies learn skills that take their level of expertise to a new level. Not only does a nanny or manny go through an extensive background investigation by our contracted private investigation firm, but they go through a basic four day course that teaches them skills to provide above average ability to protect the children in their charge. NANNYGUARDS and MANNYGUARDS work for celebrities, sports stars, CEO’s, traveling families and every day average families who understand the need for a NANNYGUARD goes beyond celebrity status.
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-Why Hire a Nannyguard
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Started by a group of security consultants, nannies, bodyguards and private investigators, NANNYGUARDS is an answer for those that would like more peace of mind when hiring a nanny/manny.
Our collective experience in protecting people, working in federal law enforcement, investigating identies and habits of individuals, traveling in foreign countries, training bodyguards and working with children uniquely qualifies us to help shape the next generation of nannies.
Not only are we keen professionals in background investigating all potential Nannyguards, but we also are experienced in teaching, training and providing protective services for individuals and families. Nannyguards is not a security service provider. but a security training group that provide nannies with the ability to look at their child care position from a different point of view.
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Nannyguards are provided to families of all types, including: celebrity, executive, reality TV, and dignitary families. Additionally, our services are even used for those families that maybe traveling often times in hostile parts of the world.
All nannies have a responsibility to carefully look after the direct and indirect actions of the children they are responsible for. This includes supporting the physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual development of the children of the family.
-What Do I Get In a Nannyguard
NANNYGUARDS are extremely versatile and provide you with the greatest level of versatility among traditionaly trained nannies. Despite the seriousness of our name, Nannyguards are nannies and have all the skills, posture and attitude of any caregiver that looks after children. They are not stoic knuckle dragging gorillas. The fact that they go through our process tells you that these are high caliber individuals. The training they receive means that they can meet unexpected needs you may not know you have. Even if you are not the latest to break out with a reality television series you’re no different then every parent who wants to see that when their children are not with them, that they have every aspect cared for including their safety and security.
When a Nannnyguard is placed with you they firstly evaluate the job of nanny. Secondly, Nannyguards will ask questions and observe other aspects you did not consider, especially those revolving around safety concerns and security exposures. Your Nannyguard will do things such as establishing emergency protocol, disaster preparedness and ensure fire supression materials are nearby. In other words they are prepared for potential eventuality and look after such things as smoke detectors, ensuring chemicals are out of reach from young ones and ensuring that plans are put in place for any known direct threats to the children in their charge. They will also evaluate any vehicle they are provided with and ensure it is in good mechanical care and that it has necessary items for road worthiness. If its not up to par, they will advise you and it becomes your perogative to decide whether you will take the Nannyguards advice. In some cases, depending upon the particulars of your family needs, Nannyguards will evaluate routes to and from schools, research any known sex offenders in your community and work with any other estate security or security details working with other family members.
-Bodyguards OR Nannies?
NANNYGUARDS are experienced nannies with specific training in the protection of children from intentional and unintentional acts of harm. They may work for a family as an employee or as the childrens bodyguard. However, an employer-employee relationship is required if the NANNYGUARD does not have a license to operate as a security contractor in most states of the USA.
Generally speaking, nannies are responsible for the general welfare of children and this includes their security and safety. Our program teaches nannies how to protect children as a bodyguard would, in conjunction with their responsibilities as a nanny. Nannyguards are free to choose whether to market their skills to security companies with proper licensing or market themselves to nanny agencies or directly to families in the capacity of a Child Protection Operative (CPO) or a nanny.
NANNYGUARDS are classicaly trained and experienced nannies with the added training and ability to protect your children from intentional and unintentional acts of harm. Every nanny knows they have the responsibility of caring for the children entrusted to them and this includes the safety of the children in their care. However, Nannygurads take the extra steps to ensure the safety and security of your children by taking proactive measures and countermeasures to ensure they exceed other nannies in safety and security. We take a Nanny to the next level through the introduction of safety and security measures to the nanny industry. Nannyguards are next generation nannies!
Although some of our clients may be celebrities, VIP’s and CEO’s this does not mean that families with less notoriety will receive any less from Nannyguards. The skills and abilities of registered Nannyguards are a benefit to all families with children.
What Makes a Nannyguard Unique
Simply put the training a NANNYGUARDS student receives is quite different from anything in the industry. Nannies are trained to look at their charge differently. In the 21st century our political, economical and social landscape is changing at an alarming rate. You can hardly turn on the television without seeing another tragic event revolving around terrorisim, abduction or abuse taking place. Since Nannyguards is an international company we look at what affects people in geographical areas and cater the Nannyguard Certified Child Protection Specialist (CCPS) training to those needs. This is because issues that once only pertained to countries with long histories of civil unrest and terrorism are happening similiarly everywhere including the USA.
Nannies that attend our training and become Nannyguards and carry our full Nannyguards credential have validated nanny experience. But once these same nannies attend one of our training programs they are more accutely aware to conditions that revolve around safety and security. Nannies become more aware of their surroundings, ruses used to detach children from caregivers, appropriate driving and surveillance detection, and how to deal with situations should they go ary.
To learn more about our Nannyguards services or training program visit http://www.nannyguards.com