Category Archives: advanced team

Executive Protection – Realities of the Industry and the Ugly Truth

I haven’t written in a long time, so I thought to say goodbye to this Year with an old topic. The real world of Executive Protection with all its truths and myths.

Many newcomers in the profession have a completely different idea of what the profession is, based on what they have heard or what Hollywood tells them it is. This lack of “truth” either leaves them disappointed or leaves them vulnerable to making mistakes while on duty.

It is common in our industry to see many of our colleagues posting pictures on the internet social media sites of “selfies” taken in first class airline seats or in the client’s private jet. More selfies show them with their feet up on a suitcase claiming ‘’another flight’’, or posting from 5 and 6 star hotel rooms or from the finer restaurants, or next to a limousine parked next to a jet.

The reality is that the majorities of these pictures are either staged or were taken while not actually working a security detail. I have seen colleagues, ask or even offer to pay  to stand next to a private jet. They put on their best 100 dollar suit, shiny 30 dollar Timex watch and 12 dollar dark sunglasses and “pose” next to someone else’s 10 million dollar jet. And I have seen aircraft tail numbers show up in these photos and for fun, ran the numbers, located the owners, and even tracked the flights.

The reality is anyone can pose anywhere and anytime and make it look like they are working. Anyone can ask a limo driver to take a picture of them next to that limo. When you are in such dire need to brag about your job to others that you put your client’s health and safety at risk, who in our industry would ever work with you or recommend you to others?

If I could only call out the people I know who were on vacations with their families and they post pictures pretending to be on a detail. I even know people who traveled to third world countries to meet their ‘’online’’ girlfriend or boyfriend and they posted pictures as working a detail in those countries.

The reality is, when you work for someone, it is rare to have a first class airline seat next to them on a 6 hour flight. Most clients, no matter how wealthy they are will book you an economy seat. Yes, there are a few clients who will book first class for their CPOs but to qualify to work for these clients you must already be well established in the industry and have a plethora of industry history and references.

The reality is that when you work with a well-trained team, you will work on rotations and schedules that allow for only two things: keeping the client safe and getting to bed to get enough sleep to be able to do it again tomorrow. Anyone who has the time to ‘’enjoy’’ taking pictures has probably too much time on their hands and maybe isn’t working at all.  And if you are working alone, you cannot spare the laps in attention to your client to focus on yourself.

I have been in rotations where after work I was so tired that I didn’t have the energy or interest to call my family. This is usually due to working long shifts alone which is a situation worth discussing in another article.

The reality is when your client travels, they may be working or on vacation but if you travel with them, you are always working. You will always get less sleep than your client. When they finally retire for the evening, you are up another few hours planning and preparing for the next day. When they wake, it might be because you are responsible for waking them, which means you are up a couple of hours before them.

While working, you have to focus on your client’s needs. Finding time to eat and go to the bathroom is not your client’s responsibility or even on their mind. If you want to eat, you have to find your own way to do it quickly. If you need to empty your bladder, you have to leave sight of your client and return quickly. If it is not safe to leave your client, then you choose to either hold it, or make other arrangement. This is hard enough as a male but as a female, it is nearly impossible to improvise. Again, a subject for future articles.

The reality is you will need to find time to eat, sleep, shower, go to the bathroom, write reports, call your family, pay your bills, clean your clothes, charge your equipment batteries, train, stretch, exercise, and accomplish other normal life tasks and all outside of the client’s view.

You will find yourself doing things you wouldn’t do in your personal life, because you have to adapt to your client’s activities. And you will need to be an expert in your client’s extracurricular activities to enable you to not just accompany them but to identify threats to their safety. Riding elephants or horses, scuba diving, skydiving, hunting, mountain biking… And if you know you are not qualified, learn when to partner with or hire your own replacement for the activity.

You will find yourself in presence of heated family conversations and you are asked to take a side.You know its unprofessional to choose a side and you have to find a diplomatic answer within seconds. You will see behaviors and listen to words that will challenge your own personal and professional ethics. And again you will adapt or fail.

You will find yourself in challenging environments too. (I developed asthma working in Mumbai), you may get food or water poisoning, malaria, and even get worms from food.

You will have to work with people who have no training or they have been trained differently than you. Some “professionals” in our industry are great with weapons or driving but have no concept of controlling body odor. They speak 4 languages but can’t drive a car, they can cook any meal out of any cookbook but can’t provide first-aid on an insect bite or gunshot wound.

The reality is that people who come from different cultures and have different perspectives regarding punctuality, performance of their duties, and the common traits of professionalism have no clue that every decision they make from their clothing, language skills, hygiene habits and skill are all measured by the clients who would hire them.

The reality is that true professionals will not let themselves be photographed by others and certainly would never photograph themselves while working. And they will not want to work with those who do.

Professionals will know the difference between ethics and etiquette and follow the rules of each. Doing anything to compromise your client’s business or personal privacy is not just a mistake, it is a catastrophic attack on my industry and my ability to earn a living in it. I will continue to counter these attacks with my articles.

Professionals will know how to dress for any occasion their clients may invite them into and know how to negotiate with the client to avoid unsafe activities and conditions.

Professionals will know how to do one-hundred things in the company of their client that will never be acknowledged or appreciated and a thousand things near their client that will never be seen or known.

The reality is if you seek recognition in this industry for the function you are being paid to perform, you are not a true professional and have no business in the Executive Protection Industry. You will be looked upon as a cancer to those of us who remain silent and invisible while in the company of our clients.

 

Denida Zinxhiria

Founder & CEO

Athena Worldwide LLC

Athena Academy

Nannyguards

http://www.athenaworldwide.com

http://www.nannyguards.com

 

 

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Female Close Protection Operatives Training, Level 1, September 1-9, 2012, Atlanta, GA

Athena’s Close Protection Operative certification is the next generation in Close Protection training. Our course has been adapted to meet the particular training and educational requirements, specific to female close protection operatives.

Basic Training:

Including:
-Principles of Executive Protection/Code of Conduct
-Solo Protector & in a Detail -Physical Security
-Protective Escort -Surveillance & Countersurveillance
-Protective Intelligence & Advance Operations
-Armed and Unarmed Combat/Krav Maga
-Anti-Terrorism (identification and and the terrorist cycle)
-Improvised Explosive Device
-Basic Pistol Training & Firearms Safety
-Event & Estate Security
-Behavioral Intelligence and Attack Recognition
-Dealing with Media & Paparazzi
-First Aid & CPR/AED

Our instructors are from Israel, Greece, and the United States. They brings ATHENA students unparalleled real world experience in protective service operations. Instructors that have served Prime Ministers, celebrities, CEO’s and other influential leaders will be teaching you.
We have an excellent success rate and once the course is completed we continue to work with our students to progress their development and assist their entry into the Close Protection world.

To learn more please visit: http://www.AthenaAcademy.com/

For additional information and applications please e-mail: charla@athenaworldwide.com

Athena Academy official FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Athena-Academy-International-Female-Security-Training/267075996663008

Course cost is $2,000 with payment schedules available to those who qualify. Deposits for this course are $500, and full course fees paid 3 weeks before starting date.

Application date open until July 30

Section: Professional Advises from Experienced Close Protection Operatives around the world.

By Dan Toon 

CONFLICT AREA MANAGEMENT

“PREVENTING BAD THINGS FROM HAPPENING TO GOOD PEOPLE”

OPS@CONFLICTAREAMANAGEMENT.COM

DUNS Number: 797878209
CAGE Code: 4R8R9

          The job search and application process can be a challenging, long and tedious one, consisting of many phases of recruitment, civil and criminal background checks, physical and psychological testing, and meeting each specific companies standards as a prerequisite of employment.

An individual contemplating how to start in the security, defense and protective services field, must ensure they are taking the proper actions before they apply for and begin the process of obtaining any position

These steps include having a clean civil and criminal record, having specialized training that is standard in the industry, being physically fit, and ability to adapt to rapidly changing conditions.

Once a prospective applicant has received the training, credentials and qualifications in their specialty, the search for employment begins.

Hundreds of private companies exist around the world supporting contracts awarded them by their respective nations and the international community.

Most companies are using computer based applications, requiring numerous hours of time to submit personal and professional information to company recruitment databases (for larger multinational companies) that utilize computer aided search programs to begin to match up prospective applicants to their needs.

Once this information is sorted, a recruiter begins their process of screening each applicant.  This includes verification of past background, employment history and thorough review of the candidates resume or CV.

Each position opening can generate many applicants to sort. Since the CV is the first document the recruiter receives from the applicant,  a professionally formatted CV begins to stand out from hundreds of poorly written CVs that come across a recruiters desk.

A CV / resume should be tailored to the specific position advertised by a company.  This may require an individual to possess a number of resumes representing the different specialties of the applicant.

The debate over cover letters continues, a cover letter enables an applicant to go into depth regarding their career aspirations and goals.  A brief strengths summary at the beginning of the CV is recommended as a means to gain the attention of the reader, in this case, a recruiter or project manager that is conducting the review.  Applicants should write a cover letter if it gives the option. Listing their qualifications and how they meet/exceed them due to past training and experience.

After a cover letter or summary, a chronological list of employment experience, with the most recent position first, and depending on employment history, previous positions held.

Employment summaries should include company name, position title, dates, and responsibilities summary as concisely as possible. Many potential applicants do not take the time to clearly explain to the employer what their skills and qualifications are.  An applicant may feel they do not need to list these skill sets on the application. Many recruiters  have not worked in the defense or protection services field. Make sure that each job description on the CV explains in detail how it pertains to the job being applied to.

Once previous experiences have been listed, an applicant may choose to list any other education, training, awards, qualifications and certifications received or held. This should also be in a chronological format with most recent listed first.

Separate from the CV should be an up-to-date list of professional references with name, job title, current address and / or contact information.  Some companies request references with the initial application, while others may wait until initiating a background investigation.

Many applicants become disappointed after going through the process of submitting their information to a company for a position, they never receive acknowledgment or updates on the status of their application.  Most apply to a few positions and are discouraged when not immediately contacted by the company.    With so many companies in the industry, an applicant during their initial employment search and application phase, should submit their information to each company that has current advertised positions and on-going recruitment efforts.          Each company may offer multiple positions within a specific field, applicants should apply to each position that fits their skills and qualifications.

Even with a strong, marketable resume, this process may have to be completed a number of times before a company recruiter contacts the applicant.

Every email, reply, and phone call from a company should be documented, to gradually build a personal database of recruiters, human resource professionals, program and project managers, with as much detail as possible keeping the  information current.

When able to obtain a company recruiters contact information, phone number or email address, then contact can be made from time to time as to the status of the applicants processing.  Applicants should be as helpful as possible to the contact, this will keep ones name and information on the mind of the recruiter, who may have hundreds of names and personal information from other potential job seekers, circulating around them at any given time.

If at this time there are still no potential leads or resources generated from the application process, electronic applications that have been submitted to companies should be updated and resubmitted every six to eight weeks.  This may require entering every piece of information again, phrased properly to be resorted to the top of the recruiters list.

Applicants should never expect immediate contact from companies, sometimes the process of screening can take up to a year from initial submission.       A job search can never rest on its laurels, even when gainfully employed, the best time to look for work is when one already has a job.

Networking through personal and professional contacts who may be able to assist or advise, seeking to keep diverse skill sets, training and qualifications, a strong marketable CV or resume, being friendly, helpful, and respectful to every company contact made will allow the job seeker to achieve success .

Tactical Medicine and the Close Protection Operator.

What is Tactical Medicine? 

Well, it does exactly what is says on the label: Tactical Medicine is the provision of lifesaving skills in a tactical environment. First Aid is a daunting enough task for many people but it takes a special set of skills and mindset to be able to provide care under fire. Of course it’s not all gunshot injuries, it could be a  whole number of occurrences from a stabbing to a major medical issue such as a heart attack following an assault.

In the environment of the CP operator there are serious tactical considerations to be made when medical skills are required. Is there still danger present? In what condition is the casualty? Are they alive or dead? It would be foolish to risk your own life to assist a dead person. Sometimes it is better to stay in cover and deal with the casualty from afar by using binoculars and shouting commands. This may seem an odd concept to some and has certainly caused controversy amongst some operators over years past.

The fundamental point of Tactical Medicine is summarised nicely in the opening pages of the US Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook – “The best medicine on the battlefield is fire superiority”. Of course CP operators are not generally Special Forces but the idea that the threat must be suppressed before treatment can be given is an important one and can be difficult for some to initially grasp, particularly those from a predominantly medical background (such as myself). Only with realistic and coordinated training can we grasp the true nature of Tactical Medicine. It needs a level head, tactical awareness and minimal gear to achieve what can be the difference between life and death for an entire team not just the initial casualty.

Tactical Medical courses are available around the world. You should choose one that best suits your needs. It may be that a basic, short course will suffice. If you have an aptitude or need for further skills, an extended course may be perfect for you. A point that I like to instil in everyone that cares about their skills is that a course is only the beginning. It does not make a perfect “medic” out of everyone straight away. It is the start of a journey of discovery and wisdom. Good tactical medics continue to learn throughout their careers and are never afraid to ask for help or advice. Training is simply the doorway to this passageway of learning. I wish you all luck in your quests for knowledge.

I welcome any questions, comments or requests for advice.

Marc “Doc” JohnsonMarc “Doc” Johnson

Director

TacMed International

tacmedinternational@yahoo.com

www.tacmedinternational.com

skype: tacmed_international

Close Protection Operatives aka Bodyguards, do you know who they are?

Many people seem to have a confusion about what a CPO is. Because is one of the professions that doesn’t have specific standards to follow, unfortunately there many non professionals who are giving the bad image in our industry.

A Close Protection Operative is:

– The person who is in charge to protect his/her client’s life and interest.

– Have gone through specific Close Protection Training, so be aware of ex-law enforcement personnel, ex-military, ex-federal agents, and generally any ex- in something professionals who want to play in security industry field UNLESS they have specific Close Protection Training as well. Everyone has a specific training experience and field of knowledge, if you have a heart condition you will seek help from a Cardiologists, you won’t go to see an Orthopedic although they are both doctors, you need the one with a specific specialization, so why not doing the same when it comes to your safety?

– As the person in charged for his/her clients safety his suggestions over the security issues and plans must be respected and followed from the client, his family and his colleagues. Don’t make harder the work of someone who is there to protect you.

-Being a CPO mean you will be with your client and in present in many important personal or professional decisions or incidents will may follow. So your duty as well is to be discreet and silent about what you see and hear. There are enough many cases already of ex bodyguards who found the author in them and started putting in a book their ex clients ‘’spicy personal details’’. Professional and acceptable? I don’t think so.

A Close Protection Operative is Not:-A martial arts pro or black belt holder necessarily. In order to work as a CPO you must be in a position to know basic fighting techniques in order to protect yourself and your client. Be able to react in any possible attacks during your duty. But that doesn’t mean that you must have a black belt in any kind of martial arts or have practicing for years. Yes some Close Protection Operatives has gone through many years of training in martial arts practice and may have gain black belts but that is a result of their life and works prior their occupation with security industry, or as a personal choice. Have in mind when you start working as a CPO you won’t have that much time to attend any full time martial arts classes. So you need to learn something that will require less time but also be as much effective it can for you to use in real life and situations.

So a CPO is not a killing machine with a license to kill or beat anyone up.

-A CPO is not a Federal Agent or Law Enforcement personnel, they don’t have any access to any ‘’governmental sources or databases’’ or even ‘’call the brigade’’ options (unless some of them have the right persons in the right positions to gain any information out of the record), in some countries they have no rights more on duty than a simple citizen in his daily life. So don’t try to play the authority when you are not the authority. You must do your best to do your job and keep your client alive with what you have while not falling on a citizen’s rights. By that said you cannot do any body research or arrest anyone! Last incident in Greece, one of the CPOs of a Parliament Party Leader, threaten his clients supporters that those who will come closer to him at 1 meter will be arrested! And that while his client had a public speech.

Don’t think just because you are working in security industry that Law Enforcement personnel are your colleagues and should deal you like one. If they want to help your while you are working that’s more than fine but you can’t require or demand it. You need to follow their directions and orders when you are not in your client’s territory.

-A CPO is not a gang member, a doorman or a wrestler. Yes there are some cases when people who belong to ‘’night activities’’ have been hired to protect clients but that’s up the clients choice and belief that they can protect them better and know how to deal in hard situations. False and wrong idea… yes.

-A CPO is not responsible to carry his/her client’s shopping bags, laundries etc. Not only because has not been hired for that job, but doing any other activity or carrying anything will make his/her reactions slower if any attack occurs. Many clients require it, so refuse it by being polite and explaining the reasons.