Personal Protection has always been viewed as a physical or tangible thing that could be measured by effort and labor put into creating and maintaining a program. Since the Internet first allowed for the publishing and dispersal of personal information, the public has obliged the technology by accessing and downloading billions of terabytes of information containing personal sensitive information.
If you find it necessary to carry a firearm and build a protection team around your client you should give the same attention to simple ways of educating your client and his/her close family and working circle regarding simple security awareness tips.
We are not suggesting you have to train them as security professionals but just giving them the basic education and information regarding security and safety awareness could make it easier to protect them.
The reason I wrote this article today was because of something that came to my attention while I was surfing online.
I came across an article regarding a 17 year old boy based somewhere in America who has became a ‘’living legend’’ in social medias because of his provocative pictures and comments on on-line networking sites, where he poses with golden pens, packs of $10.000 bills etc. Doing a little research on his profile and crossing information here and there, I discovered that the kid is from a very wealthy family. What made me think seriously about this kid was how something like this could expose him and his family to the wrong attention.
It took me around 25 min to locate this kid and get good information regarding his identity and location so I wanted to test to see how much it would take for someone not in the security industry to find him using information found online. It took less than 2 hours for a 22 year old who has nothing to do with security to gather good Intel on this kid, using the pictures and information he had posted on his networking sites.
With all the information provided online It doesn’t take an expert or even a person related to the security industry to be able to find out about someone.
We have all seen examples like this one from other celebrity kids, or from the children of very affluent CEO’s or Politicians who have fallen into the trap of social media posting including pornography. What these kids and even their parents don’t consider is that the sophistication of the criminal has developed with the technology of the internet itself. A simple photo of a person by a tree could lead to the identification of the person’s address because of the shape or species of the tree or maybe because of the license plate of a car parked in a driveway across the street, visible in the corner of the photo.
So the question is: “Are you aware of your exposure through the information posted on yours or your children’s networking sites?”
Now I will ask the same question to all Security Professionals. Not only do you need to consider your client’s exposure but have you considered your own? As ridiculous as it seems, there are actually “Body Guard” companies that publish photos of their clients and even their agents on their company websites. And more ridiculous is the client’s agreeing to it.
Have you taken the time to sit down with your client and explain what he/she can do to avoid not being exposed? We are aware that not all clients will sit down and listen to your professional suggestions regarding their safety however they hired you because you have an experience and expertise on a specific matter, ‘’SAFETY’’, and you are there not only to provide a body but also provide consultation and suggestions that are addressed to lower the threat level.
Nobody wants to live in fear, and for sure no one will feel comfortable with the idea of his/her children being in danger, so address your professional concerns regarding safety to your clients. Be polite, be logical, avoid difficult professional terms and explain to them in simple words why a specific habit that they find harmless can be very dangerous for them. Not all will listen and practice what you suggest, but even if 1 out of 10 clients do as you suggested it will be a progress. Of course there will always be information leaked intentionally or unintentionally that will give away information. The goal is to reduce the negative effects of the practice thus making your job easier.
Founder & Worldwide Director
SECURITY RESPONSE TO GLOBAL CRISIS, a Conference Sponsored by Executive Security International and Executive Protection Institute
For all professionals working in Security Industry you don’t want to miss this opportunity: Two of the most well known internationally Security Training Providers, Executive Security International and Executive Protection Institute are joining their efforts to offer an epic Conference that will take place in Las Vegas, from November 30 to December 2, 2012.
The 2012 Conference is a historic alliance of the two largest executive protection membership alumni associations in the country: Executive Security International’s ESI Alumni Association and Executive Protection Institute’s Nine Lives Association. The top two Executive Protection schools in America have joined together to co-sponsor this annual conference. ESI is the host of the conference in 2012 and EPI will host the conference in 2013, alternating hosts thereafter.
A TIMELY THEME
The Associations of Nine Lives and ESI Alumni have selected a conference theme that focus on contemporary critical issues:
Security Response to a Global Crisis
Corporate Response to Internet Vulnerabilities
Keynote Speaker: Cynthia Hetherington, Founder of Hetherington Group,
Cynthia Hetherington, has been working with private investigators, security specialists and law enforcement professionals since 1993. A widely published author, Cynthia authored Business Background Investigations and co-authored The Manual to Online Public Records. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Internet & Online Intelligence Newsletter, and she is recognized for providing corporate security officials, military intelligence units, and federal, state and local agencies with training on online intelligence practices.
Data about your client, members of their family, business partners reside on the Internet. Everything about their world is readily available, including street level and satellite images of their residences, credit records, physical and intellectual assets. Some of the information is loosely posted on social media – Facebook, Small World, My Space, Linked-in and others that can be mined for images, schools attended and work places can be located and placed under surveillance.
This workshop will teach attendees how to find this information and steps to removing it as an essential to protecting your clients from unwanted exposure and inappropriate contact.
*Early registrants to the conference will receive a free copy of Hetherington’s book, “Business Background Investigations”
Corporate Crisis Management
Multi-national corporations confront the whole range of challenges from natural disasters to active shooters on property, stalkers of employees and executives, and kidnap & ransom policies in foreign environments. The conference will have representatives from major corporations to discuss these pressing issues.
Speaker: Peter Dordal J, Senior Vice President, Garda World
Emcee for Corporate Crisis Management Forum and Panel
Pete DordalPete Dordal began his career with 8 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Beirut, Lebanon with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion and then at Quantico as a combat skills instructor. He has a degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of over 25 formal military, law enforcement and security training courses. Pete graduated from ESI in 1984 while still in the Force Recon Unit, and Pete is the principal advisor and consultant on ESI’s PSD Protective Operations training program.
Mr. Dordal began his private security career with Vance International, which Garda acquired in 2006, where he served as executive protection team leader for a Middle Eastern ambassador to the U.S. and trained the Saudi Arabian Secret Service in advanced protection techniques. During the first Gulf War he went to Saudi Arabia to train that country’s Secret Service in advanced protection techniques.
Pete is Senior Vice President of Garda World, the Consulting and Investigation / Global Risks Group of Garda World Security Corporation. In his position, he is responsible for the delivery of security services to a variety of government and commercial clients in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Speaker: Filippo Marino, Director, Executive Protection & Intelligence | McDonald’s Corporation
Crisis Management in the Age of Global, Real-Time Communication:
We will first revisit the core principles of successful crisis management practices and the organizational features that contribute to resilient, global enterprises. The second portion will focus on how these practices have had to – or should – evolve to address dramatic changes in the media and Information & Communication Technology (ICT), and specifically why Executive Protection holds increasing relevance and influence in this arena.
Filippo Marino is responsible for the design and execution of McDonald’s Executive Protection efforts impacting senior corporate leaders and other at-risk personnel, and for shaping global best practices. Additionally, Filippo leads corporate initiatives in the areas of Global Risk and Early Warning intelligence, Crisis Management, Workplace Violence Prevention, and Major Events’ security. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Filippo’s career in the Risk Mitigation industry started as an officer of the Italian Army and spanned across almost 20 years, many of which as a successful adviser to Fortune 500 companies and High Net-Worth individuals. During his tenure as founder and CEO of Securitydirector, LLC, he lead operations ranging from Open Source Intelligence and Threat Assessments, to Crisis Management and Executive Protection across multiple geographical and cultural boundaries, for some of the largest and most complex organizations in the world. As an author, adviser, and entrepreneur, Filippo has contributed to several process innovations and best practice models for small and large organizations, and security professionals alike. He holds a Magna Cum Laude B. A. degree in Behavioral Sciences, and has obtained multiple certifications in security and protection services. He is a California certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and an accomplished firearms instructor, scuba diver, skydiver, mountaineer, and survivalist. He speaks fluent English, Italian, German and some Spanish.
Speaker: Beth Brown, Manager, Corporate Command Center, Target
Beth Brown is currently the Manager, Corporate Command Center (C3) for Target and has more than ten years of experience as a business and crisis management professional. She has held roles in operations, workforce management, and Target Financial & Retail Services.
Her areas of responsibility include Target’s Corporate Command Center, a 24×7 facility in Minneapolis that monitors Target’s business operations, travelers, and potential disruptions around the world, and leading Target’s cross-organizational response to business disruptions and security incidents.
Speaker: Charles Randolph, Director – Executive Protection & Intelligence, Microsoft Corporation
Charles Randolph has seventeen years of experience in the protective security industry and over 20 years as a military officer has uniquely qualified Chuck to take on a typical day’s work of planning, strategic development, tactical deployment, and management of both a global sized executive protection and an intelligence unit. Having previously been the Director of a protective security company with Fortune 500 clients, Chuck has the experience and insight needed to provide Microsoft with top-level protective and intelligence leadership, and the business acumen for corporate budgets and fiscal matters. He is responsible for both the Executive Protection Team and the Microsoft Intelligence Unit – globally placed teams that produce critical data on which the enterprise relies for making decisions.
Since joining Microsoft in 2000, Chuck has taken on ever-increasing responsibilities and expanded the scope of the services and assets his teams provides the company. Under his leadership he has transformed the executive protective services and intelligence unit to function beyond their traditional roles of body guarding and information provider, tothat of a strategic enabler.
Running Protective Operations in Mexico
Keynote Speaker: Rick Sweeney, President of Secfor International,
Rick oversees all of Secfor International’s (www.secforintrnational.com) training, protective details and recovery investigations. He has been in the security field for 25 years and specializes in high-threat protective operations, spending much of his career leading security teams in places like Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Iraq, and for the last 5 years, Mexico. When not on detail, Rick teaches security subjects to civilians and Military personnel and has Program-Managed U.S. Government Anti-Terrorist security training programs for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Special Operations Forces. Secfor has been featured on Discovery Channel’s ‘Kidnap and Rescue’ series, as well as in the Washington Post and other journals and publications in the U.S. and Internationally.
Mexico Security Operations
Mexico is a unique and challenging environment to provide protective services. Many believe that their experience in Iraq, Afghanistan, Military, or corporate security positions, may have prepared them for a Mexico posting but, we have found that Mexico is unlike any other environment our experienced staff has worked in. Other high threat working environments may develop certain skill sets that are pertinent to Mexico operations, though the specific threat in this part of Latin America is very unique and may be different than anywhere you may have worked in the past.
Below are topics that will be covered in the seminar. We will cover the types of details you can expect, specific threat to your client and your teams, kidnap mitigation strategies, tricks of the trade directly from our agents in the field, additional training that must be considered when working in this region and practical advance packages that every agent must have before heading south.
Some specific points that Rick Sweeney will cover on operating in Mexico:
- Why Mexico is a unique operating environment for Executive Protection Specialists?
- What are the legalities of working security in Mexico – Licensing – Visas
- What companies are working in Mexico and what they look for in new agents? (What not to put in your resume or CV)
- Different types of details you are likely to encounter in Mexico
- Realities of the violence in Mexico – Difference in Northern & Southern Mexico
- The kidnap threat and current methods
- Life saving driving tactics operationally proven on the streets of Mexico
- The firearms question: Who can be armed? Can Contractors work in Mexico?
- Working with local security forces – The pros and cons
- Local law enforcement – A double edged sword
- Communications: Local Mobile phones – US & foreign carriers | Nextels | Black boxes
- GPS Tracking | Vehicle | Personal tracking devices | The Chip
- Medical issues: Local capabilities. What medical training, and gear, you should have before working in Mexico?
- Intelligence: What is reliable and what isn’t? What you’re not being told, CAN hurt you
- Mission Package preparation: What is it and why you must have it.
- Surveillance Detection Techniques specific to Mexico. How they will watch you & what you can do about it. Recovery Investigations (Kidnap & Ransom support)
Who Attends the Conference?
The unification of the two largest training academies and their respective associations as the sponsors of the 2012 Conference will provide new opportunities of networking and professional connections. The EPIC-Lifeforce Conference is organized to meet other working professionals face to face.
Talk with your professional contacts from other training schools. We are truly moving this conference into a “come one come all” professional event. We all know highly qualified, professional members of our industry that have not come through the ESI and EPI pipeline and we want them to come and share with us the great training, the networking opportunities, and to meet other alumni – to break bread with our brothers and sisters from around the world.
If you are a newcomer to the field – or an experienced professional looking for new opportunities – or simply interested in the networking opportunities provided by the conference, this is a must event. Many regard the NETWORK event held on Saturday afternoon the most important part of the conference, providing a chance to learn about jobs and the industry companies who employ the professionals.
We are offering an incentive to Alumni Members who bring two non-members to the conference by reducing Registration fee by $50 for first time attendees. It is a unique and inexpensive opportunity to find out more about the protection field and to talk with professionals who are working in the field or operating their own business.
The EPIC-Lifeforce Conference actively solicits Corporate Sponsors to offset the cost of Guest Speakers and running the conference. For those sponsors who contribute will receive special recognition before and during the conference and a Free Table at NETWORK. Sponsors can set up a table at the conference and receive honorable mention in all promotional material. We are looking for more. Corporate Sponsorship schedule is the following:
SILVER $500 – GOLD $1,000 – PLATINUM $1,500.
EPI AND ESI PLANNING COMMITTEE
|Bob Duggan, President ESI||Jerry Heying, Executive Director EPI|
|Fonda Delcamp, Vice-President ESI||Gene Ferrera, EPI Director of Training|
|Cory Smith, Executive Services, Target||Rick Colliver, Eaton Corporation|
|Barry Wilson, President, Anlance Protection||JJ Sutton, President, Foremost Security|
ESI or EPI ALUMNI ASSOCIATION MEMBER……………….$295.00
FIRST TIME ATTENDEES DISCOUNT………………………….$50.00
PRE-REGISTRANTS PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1, 2012: Free Copy of Cynthia Hetherington’s book, “Business Background Investigations”.
To register online please visit: http://www.esi-lifeforce.com/alumni-association/alumni-association/conference-registration.html
During our career in security industry we will have to work along with people who don’t share the same work beliefs, qualifications, training and experience background with us. So even when we ‘like or dislike’ someone we shouldn’t never allow it to affect our professionalism and make us loose our target, which is client’s safety. If the client is safe then we and our team are safe too.
As we all know Close Protection is a profession that doesn’t have unfortunately until today, professional standards requirements. Each country, even each state has its own licensing requirements and in many times no training is required at all. So with this said, you can realize that you have to work and lock as a team with people who bring with them different experience, skills, training disciplines, standards, professionalism, culture, and ethics.
It is very important each one in the team to promote and maintain good communication and work cooperation with each other, the client, and of course other people who we may be in contact with (house personnel, office staff etc).
Some of the people you are working with may have more skills than you or less, may be younger or elder, so in each situation you must address your inquires to them with respect. Never offend anyone no matter the reason, never correct someone while there is anyone else in present. If you believe he did a mistake because of lack of experience or training you can ask if he/she will like you to give them some tips or advices. Not many people are open to get advices by others. If they refuse, respect it and leave it as it is.
In our work it is very important when an issue occurs instead of loosing time to find out why and how happened or whose fault is, to take immediate action and fix it. Later you can do your research within the team members and find out what happened, why and who is holding the responsibility for it. Finding who did the mistake is not for the reason to be put in the light spot and be blamed, but, inform, correct it and prevent any other similar issues in the future.
Have in mind if you are not the team leader or the supervisor then it is not your responsibility to call and talk with the person who acted unprofessionally or did a mistake. You can inform your supervisor or team leader about the fact of the incident, make sure you leave out ANY PERSONAL CHARACTERIZATIONS for your colleague who did wrong.
The main focus should be how you can operate as an individual within a team but also as a team member who its main target is clients and teams safety.
It is sad but very true and we see it almost every day in online networks or forums, people who hide behind a pc screen and a ‘’nickname’’ accuse colleagues or talk bad about them. First not professional at all, second it is not fair to accuse someone whose identity you have make sure is open and yours remain hidden and most important not able to be verified (your skills, experience, professional stand).
Personally I consider security industry forums, mostly as places for people who like to behave like crying babies, have plenty of free time (cause they are not working) and fill their lives with blaming others. Yes, definitely there are un-professionals and there are professionals as well, but a forum is not the right place to show who is who.
Be careful when you come to juxtaposition with others online, no matter the information or names they are using in networking places still you don’t know with whom you are talking with. Try to avoid those kinds of situations, and if not always try to be polite and not lose your temper. When someone is attacking you online have only one motivation, to break your inner self. Either is an ex colleague, a competitor or someone who want to fill his empty life with causing harm to those who are successful, always try not to feed them by reacting or responding to defend yourself. You, your colleagues and your clients knows who you are.
Closing one of my favorite sayings: IF YOU CANT CREATE IT, RESPECT IT
Athena Academy Founder
Sometimes maybe you wonder what kind of relationship you are allowed to have with your client because of the nature of your profession. You are spending many hours with him, sometimes good moments, sometimes bad. You are the one who is in presence in his important business meeting, or in his ‘’private and personal meetings’’. So what is the role of you in those kinds of situations?
I have been asked many times by new professionals how they can deal those kinds of challenges. ‘’what if my client asked me to go for a drink with him? Should I accept?’’ or ‘’ what if my client ask me to do things that are out of my responsibilities?’’.
If you are a female close protection operative then be prepared to deal with even more difficult situations.
First of all, it is very important and primary action when you accept a job proposal to do all the necessary Intel about your client’s case. Try to learn as many information you can about the client, his/her family and professional background, (in our days with the internet is very easy to gain a lot of information). Do your own research on the threat level, no matter what client is revealing about the threat he/she is dealing you need to do your own threat assessment based on your work education and experience, so you know what situation you are dealing and most important what is the threat level.
Times are hard and security industry is a cut throat work industry…but you must not accept any position just because someone is paying you well. Ask from your client to be honest with you, you are there not to make him reveal his secrets and feel embarrassing but to understand the true risks and take action. There are different risks levels for different people (pop stars, politicians, businessmen).
After you have done your threat assessment ask from your client to have a conversation, explain him the real situation, don’t hesitate that you will make him be afraid. He needs to know exactly what he is dealing with and what else he may need to do, or what different actions he need to take. After he has understood the threat level, explain him what are your responsibilities. Don’t rely on the fact he has worked before with previous close protection operatives and he will know. Also do not expect all your suggestions on security matter that will be taken into consideration from all the clients, some are open to hear from security professionals and trust their opinion, some let’s say will give you just few ‘’tools’’ to work with and you have to adjust to it.
During your working hours you have to be serious and pay attention on your duty, not paying attention to the lady at the bar.
You are not there to eavesdrop when your client has business meetings or any other dates. Whatever you see or hear during your duty remain secret. This is something you have to mention to your client. We don’t talk about our client’s personal life or professional details to others (remember how unprofessional is for some bodyguards to reveal their ex clients personal hot details to the press after they have been fired or quit, if you were in a need of a bodyguard would you hire someone like them? I’m sure you not). First is not ethical, second is not professional, third it will cost you your reputation in security industry.
Keep secret from others the identity of your client. Even if it is ex client, don’t brag about who your client was. If someone wants to hurt him he will come to you for details. So silence and privacy are the most important characteristic of your job.
As a close protection operative your job is to protect client’s life and image. You are not there to: take your clients clothes from laundry, carrying his briefcase, shopping bags, etc. How can you protect his life when you are carrying his briefcase? How long it will take you to drop the briefcase and take out your gun to shoot if it’s needed? It sound unprofessional but we are seeing it even today that some colleagues are doing it.
Don’t be afraid to say NO when you are asked to perform duties which are out of your role, the client is hiring a bodyguard not a maitre or a battler. It makes you more professional to deny something like this instead of accepting it and put in danger his and your life. He has hired you to provide security services not any other kind of services.
That’s why it is very important you earn your clients professional respect. He must see you as an educated, well trained, experienced and professional person, and that’s only up to you to earn it. If your client respects you then any of your suggestions over the work are will be accepted by him positively.
Keep secret from others the identity of your client. Even if it is ex client, don’t brag about who your client was. If someone wants to hurt him he will come to you for details. So silence and privacy are the most important characteristic of your job.
Now what about your relationship with your client? Should it be strictly professional or also include a friendly relationship?
To be honest being in this profession for 11 years now, I have found it hard to answer it myself. Every one of us, client or close protection operative, we are different, have different social background and if you add to that a different culture then be ready to deal more difficulties.
What I use to do far now is imagine there is a line, on the left is the Strictly Professional, and on the right is Friendly. I decide to operate somewhere in the middle. From my personal experience I found out when I was acting strictly professional the client was ‘’afraid’’, my position there was to make them feel safe but when you appear ‘’untouchable’’ they believe you don’t understand their fear or you don’t feel what they’re going through. It is very important for them to feel you understand them. Is not easy to be the client….Sometimes they will open up and talk to you and you must show you can hear them.
From the other side if you go on the right side and be Friendly…then automatically your professionalism level will be down on your client’s eyes, not because he doesn’t trust you anymore but because your professional suggestions in future won’t be dealing as in a serious way. Have in mind how Psychologists work, they cannot offer professional counseling to people who belong in their family or friends and one of the reasons is that’s because sometimes listening someone who is out of your environment and an expert in that specific part gives his words more credibility and makes him more reliable.
Not to mention if you pass the friendly level, your client will start to ask for favors or do things out of your duties again.
It is understood that you may have to have many hours with the same person, your client. Can you start and have a friendly chat or gossip? NO, talk to him only when he talks to you or you have to say something that include his safety. During the hours you are spending with him you may need to have lunch together, this is ok, but remember to pay at the beginning in case you need to leave quickly. Your relation also with his family members will have to be the same. Don’t look too friendly cause both of you will be emotional involved and maybe it can cost you your viability. Don’t look too untouchable because he will think you don’t care. Have a middle position toward your client which is addressed by professionalism.
Alcohol? Well we don’t have to mention why it is forbidden during your duty hours. But if your client calls you for a drink or coffee while you’re not on duty what would you do? In that case you have to have in mind why he is calling you? Does he see you as a friend or do you think he is flirting with you or he just want to talk about your work? You have to take the decision by using your common sense and professionalism.
And last but sometimes the most dangerous trap a close protection operative may fall is to have sexual relationship with his client or the client’s wife. Remember Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard movie sleeping with his client? Oh yes art sometimes copy real life.
Being emotionally involved with your client no matter how unprofessional we see it, it has happened with some colleagues. We can’t judge someone’s heart, but we must make you aware that in a relationship like this the one who is in a negative position is the client. And that’s because he/she is ‘’depended’’ on you. Just imagine it as a relationship doctor-client. However if you think you found the love of your life, someone else can take your professional place and you can always protect them from another perspective.
Now if you are a female close protection operative then you better be prepared to deal also with some cases of sexual harassment, either from your clients, their family members or even your colleagues. Sometimes there are people who believe that because they hired you to protect them you are there also for ‘’extra services’’ (that’s a belief some clients have in countries with a different cultural treatment on women). There have been cases like those which have been unreported to authorities but a common secret within female professionals. This is something that is up to you how you want to deal with and how far you want to go with it.
Athena Academy Founder
Lately we are getting some questions from prospective students and we would like to answer to those questions and give to those who are interested to join the industry more information about our profession and what to expect.
– How fit you need to be to manage the CPO-training?
Being in security industry you have to be in good health condition, have good resistance and ability to react fast. There is no specific height or weight scale that you must fit in in order to become a Close Protection Agent. Some security service companies when they want to hire may ask for specific height and weight, although this have been very rarely. What you have to have in mind is that you need to be ”in shape”, our job is very demanding not only physically when it comes to conflicts and maybe hand to hand combat but also being many hours standing up out of a door or a vehicle waiting for the client.
Some training providers also use to put specific standards on their application like push ups, sprint etc in order to be accepted to their training course. Personally, i don’t agree with the idea. As i believe the majority of our profession is based on mental awareness and brain skills than physical skills (of course you need also physical skills, but you don’t have to be the best weightlifter or sprinter!). Neither you can make a student in 8 or 12 training days during CPO course super fit or change his shape maze. That is something that every CPO has to be responsible and work hard day by day to achieve it.
– How the job market currently lo0k for bodyguards, would you get any jobs/job chanses after the CPO-training?
In order to answer to this, you have to think that attending a CPO course you are getting professional skills and education like attending in a College. Before you spend your time and money you have to think it well if this profession suit to you and also study the market. No training provider can guaranty you will find a job after the training or when…(if some do so consider it as a red flag), can anyone guaranty you a job position after your BSc achievement? No.. it is up to you to do your homework and market yourself accordingly.
Security industry is considered as a ”well paying industry”, but until you make it up there you need to start from down steps and work every time.
-Why the CPO-training is “so expensive”?
Actually, CPO training’s are not expensive at all if you consider the fact that by attending one you will receive the skills and knowledge to do a job that is well paying. Maybe it seems expensive because people see the short term educational program in combination with cost, so an 8 or 12 days courses for $2000-$3000 may look expensive for some prospective students.
Having gone through University education and Security Related courses the last eleven years of my life i can definitely say my University education cost me much much more.
You have to have in mind as well the fact that in our profession we need to go under more training courses all the time to develop our skills and be prepared better. Don’t think just because you attended a CPO course you are ready to go, that’s only a course to start. But would be more easy to you when you are already working and making some money to attend in more courses later.
-Why some training providers don’t run trainings in their (prospective students) city/hometown, as some think its a long way to different training facilities.
Running a CPO training requires specific training facilities, something that has costs a lot for the training provider to built. In some states and countries you even need a specific license from the government to run a training facility like that, so as you understand it is not easy to ”move all equipment” in another part of the country that would be closer to some students.
If you are interested to become a bodyguard your first step is to be willing to travel a bit/long way to get a good CPO-training. If you´re not ready to travel to a new city, or perhaps a new country to take this kind of training, then you are probably not ready to be a bodyguard and travel with a client either, cause traveling is a big part of beeing somebodys protective shadow. You as a BG/CPO always follow your client whereever he/she goes, and it can continue for hours, weeks, months and even years, depending on the contract.
Sometimes you may even need to move into another area, state, city that can offer you more job vacancies than the one you are living in.
-And last but very important the LICENSE issue….
There seems to be some confusion around the topics of bodyguard certifications and licenses. I think this is a result of prospective female bodyguards trying to break into the industry and trying to sift through the multitude of training schools, associations and the “puffery” being perpetuated by misleading marketing language. I seem to answer this question a lot from prospective students. So I would like to put this out to all those who haven’t asked for some reason or another, but want to know.
There are multiple ASSOCIATIONS for bodyguards, most of which charge a fee to be a member. Some are better than others as far as what benefits they offer their members. An Association is nothing more than a business created by someone who thinks they can provide a service and try to make the bodyguard industry better. They usually have experience in the field and would like to further the industry as a whole. Some do a good job of that and some don’t. Either way, there is nothing special needed to create an Association other than the desire, willingness and a business license. They are not usually “sanctioned” by an overarching authority. They intend to BE the authority.
Most Associations are trying to “standardize” the industry by offering their own CERTIFICATION. Their Certification is a set of knowledge, skills and abilities that they think a bodyguard should have to be successful. There again, the association chooses what to include in the Certification, there is not one set of standards. They are trying to create that set of standards. There are many differing opinions in this industry so you have to weigh how much credibility each one has. A Certification is NOTHING MORE than a piece of paper proving you attended a course that you can put on your CV to show to a prospective employer. Some Certifications will make you look better than others because of the school’s credibility.
A LICENSE is what the governmental unit of your area grants to individuals that allow them to work as a bodyguard legally within their jurisdiction (area). Certifications are not Licenses. Every governmental unit has different requirements to get a license. Some may not even require you to have a Certification because it doesn’t mean anything to them.
There are some students that are coming to us saying that they want an international bodyguard course because they want to work internationally. Keep in mind though that just because the course is called an International Bodyguard course, it does not give you any more privileges than a course called Bodyguard Training. They might give you instruction slanted towards how to operate across country lines but there is no international license. There is no authority that could grant such a license because there is not a governmental unit that governs the whole earth. You still have to get a license in every country, state, area, province, etc that you want to work in.
Some of prospective students have been led to believe that they will be trained by US Federal Agencies. This is not true. US federal law enforcement agencies do not train bodyguards. If a school makes that claim, it should be a red flag. Pay careful attention to the language. It may be that one of the instructors used to teach at a US federal law enforcement academy prior to training bodyguards, but the curriculum you will learn is not sanctioned by that agency. There are companies that have contracts with the federal government to provide training, but again, if you are not part of the agency they are training, you won’t get that training material. You will get a civilian version or a close protection version, but not a military or law enforcement version.
So, as far as associations and schools go, no one can tell you which one to join or which school to attend. Only you can decide what’s in your best interest for your career. You should get as much knowledge as you can from many different sources. Just make sure the source isn’t making you think it is more than it really is.
Athena Academy Founder