Thoughts on Providing Personal Protection
© copyright 2017, tim boehlert
Personal protection/asset protection/VIP Protection/Bodyguard – all similar fields seemingly?
Providing personal protection for a client is perhaps a daunting prospect. Coming to terms with that prospect takes some training certainly, some planning, and some courage for sure. Every client will be different, and every detail will have it’s own challenges.
Here is a list of things to consider before making any decisions.
1] Determine what the client/asset requires.
2] Assess your skills and ability to provide those specific services.
3] Evaluate everything – risks specifically.
Depending on your state’s laws, your credentials, and other factors, you may have to turn down some opportunities. You may also find yourself involved with a lot of politics, especially if your client/asset is a public figure, or working in those circles where politics is a predominant factor.
Your work ethic, your values, your abilities will be on public display for all to see, even if that’s not what you intended. In fact, a lot of your detail assignment will consist of being in and around the public – pieces which you cannot control.
In fact, a lot of what a detail revolves around is control – controlling your client/asset, his/her movements, his/her interactions, his/her environment and everyone and everything that the asset comes into contact with.
A large part of asset protection falls under the guise of personal assistant. You will be expected to be part valet, customer service representative, butler, messenger, chauffeur, guard, and gopher. All details will offer new challenges – i.e. leaving the asset alone with unknown contacts.
Exposure is always present, and may be unmanageable – politics rears it’s ugly head in some instances. Managing that exposure will create some upheaval, meaning changes in your plans.
A public figure is an interesting prospect to explore:
1] They are highly visible – recognizable
2] They represent a concept, an institution, a philosophy, etc…
3] Their reputation is a prominent factor in their public image perception
4] You will find yourself in contact with pro & con forces
Remaining neutral is not possible. If you take on an asset you take on the added responsibility of blending in without being noticed.
You will need to be aware of the threats to the asset due to their stance on certain issues/topics, etc… Even if you are not supportive of those views, you need to protect their right to them against those that do not share those same views. If you can’t separate yourself from those views, find another detail.
Some issues to consider:
1] Carry concealed, open-carry or no-carry
2] Visibility aspects – uniformed, or plain clothes.
3] Scheduling – meals, continence – forget breaks.
4] Managing unscheduled events/guests
5] Managing unknowns – those that want to be connected
6] Managing specific assets tied to value – money, product, etc…
Point 1: Weapons
A] Are they necessary?
B] Are they advisable?
C] Will they create an atmosphere that is negative in nature?
Defining necessary – is the asset under sufficient threat to even consider a firearm as necessary? If some are there other professional services employed that can either supplement or replace that necessity for you?
Defining advisable – is the threat strong enough to consider NOT being armed, due to the current political atmosphere and public perception of open-carry, or even concealed carry?
Because gun violence is so prominent in the news, do we put ourselves and our assets at risk due to political pressures that are pushing an agenda like gun-control?
Point 2: Visibility
Providing security in plain clothes and in uniform are two different jobs. They both send signals to the same but also different groups. A uniform is highly visible – recognizable as a sign of authority. It also provides a target, a focal point. Plan clothes is more subtle, but still recognizable once discovered, and it’ll be impossible to NOT be discovered if you’re doing the job correctly.
Point 3: Scheduling
Time is an asset that will need to be managed. As an asset, it has no clearly definable dimensions per se. Depending on what the asset requires, your schedule will need to accommodate a rapidly evolving landscape of events over the course of a day as an example. Not only are you responsible for managing the assets schedule, but your own and your teams – that’s meals and bathroom breaks mostly.
Point 4: Extras
During the course of your detail and while managing your asset, you will be expected to manage and accommodate their guests, acquaintances, family members and their groups. Things come up, plans change – flexibility is your friend.
Point 5: Close Personal ‘Friends’
Your asset is a celebrity – there are those that will try to make a personal connection for their own purposes. They may have zero connection, or have strong connections, but may not be wanted in the moment. Your job may be to discourage and/or deny access. This can be a daunting task. It’s part political, part personal, part diplomatic. You represent your client/asset, and future employment will depend on your ability to be diplomatic and charming at the same time. Saying NO takes special skills. Performing NO takes extra-special skills.
Point 6: Other Exposure
Your detail may involve handling other material assets – money, product, services, tickets/passes, meals, etc… Can you manage that AND your asset simultaneously? As part of the diplomatic process you may need to facilitate greasing the wheels that revolve around your asset. That means exposing yourself to the public at large, and becoming a secondary point of contact for those waiting in the wings.
Some other things to consider:
You are now a ‘target.’ Those with evil intent will look to take you out FIRST.
Your low-profile design has now turned into high-profile status for someone. You NEED to notice that change, and prepare for off-duty encounters, where you may be tested. You will run into someone you’ve ‘let down’ or otherwise pissed off druing your work detail. Expect them to recognize you and perhaps give you a play. Some will take a run at you to try to elevate it back to the asset – attaching blame to the asset for profit. This is not the only field where you can expect someone to cause an accident as an example to turn a profit based on what they think they might cash in on. The higher-profile the gig, the more the likelihood of an occurrence of this nature. So, if part of your detail is transport, you’d better bone up on your defensive driving abilities.
There are many more items and issues to consider. You may find qualified instructors, and yet like MA, it’s going to be a crapshoot. Most of your training will likely be garnered through employment opportunities. Make the best of your down-time to educate yourself – study, observe, train.
© copyright 2017, tim boehlert