Category Archives: Athletes

A Day in the Life of a Executive Protection Agent (Excerpt)

A Day in the Life: 

 Assisting On a Protection Assignment

By Edward Nielsen

You are at home getting some rest, and your cell phone rings. It’s the call you have been waiting for. The Team Leader on a Protective Security Detail is telling you they need last minute assistance to provide security for a well known recording artist who is in town during the weekend of a major sporting event.  What do you do? Well let me tell you what I did. I immediately asked where and when I was needed. His answer to me was “now,” and then proceeded to give me the location where the client will be at a few short hours from then.  I quickly got dressed and proceeded to the location, getting more specific instructions while in transit. I arrived at the site and met with the head of security for the venue to see where the client would enter and where his cordoned off VIP area was located. I then contacted the Detail Leader and let him know contact was made with the venue security and all are awaiting his arrival.

A few hours later, and just prior to the Client’s arrival we hit another obstacle – due to the massive crowds, the police officers on site had now blocked off the adjacent streets and would not let vehicles closer to the venue. –No exceptions.  The frustration of the officers was very evident, likely because of the amount of people that voiced their displeasure at them once they learned the routes were blocked off.  I tried a variety of approaches with the officers but they did not intend to change their mind regardless of the VIP.  Of course the Detail leader did not want to hear that, and even in the heavy traffic, I knew they would be arriving shortly and there was no way the client was making the quarter mile walk on foot. I enlisted the aid of the venue security and after putting our heads together, got access to a vehicle from the interior side of the street closure.

Once the Principal’s vehicle arrived, we quickly moved the client and the travel party into the new vehicle and whisked it down the street.  I, however, watched that last part happen curbside, as I was now tasked with parking and securing the client’s vehicle in a location where parking spaces were a valuable but rapidly shrinking commodity.  After finding one, I then knew I had almost a half mile jog to get back to the security detail, all the while keeping in the back of my mind that I am going to have to do this again when it’s time to leave…

…Continued in the Spring 2012 Issue of The Circuit Magazine.   To subscribe to The Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards and the Official Magazine of the North American Bodyguard Association, click HERE.

 

The Circuit - The Magazine for Bodyguards (previous Issue)

Security and Safety at The World Cup

South Africa Times Reports:  South African intelligence services have been accused of being slow to react to warnings of terror threats to the 2010 World Cup

The US Congress counter-terror caucus was briefed on threats to the tournament.  Ronald Sandee, director of the NEFA Foundation, warned the US Congress that:

  • Pakistani and Somali militants are running terror training camps in northern Mozambique;
  • Trainees from these camps may have crossed into South Africa to join or form cells planning World Cup attacks;
  • Surveillance and strike teams planning attacks are well established in South Africa. Terror groups involved include al-Qaeda and their Somalian allies, al-Shahaab
  • Simultaneous and random attacks are being planned during the World Cup

On Wednesday, the National Joint Operational Centre was activated at an undisclosed military base in Pretoria. It is co-coordinating the deployment of all South African security and intelligence structures to ensure a safe World Cup, including 24-hour protection of teams and officials.

According to two insiders, a watch-list of 40 terror suspects has been drawn up.  Police have neither confirmed nor denied the arrest or watch-list.

For the full story:  Click HERE.

It’s tough finding the balance between safety & security along with access & convenience at a world sporting event such as the World Cup.  Lot’s of moving parts, lots of players.   ~ES

Industry Spotlight: Protection Agent Mark “Six” James

Icon – Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry.  Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride.   No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.

Agent Name: Mark “Six” James

Company Name: Panther Protection Services

Website: www.pantherprotectionservices.com

Home city: Atlanta

What made you decide you wanted to get into the Protection industry?

As a former corporate executive I use to fly around the world and when I travelled abroad, I had people assigned to protect me.  I got to see what good protection and bad protection looked like.  Most of it was just plain bad or a good operator assigned to the wrong detail.  I actually got started in the protection business teaching legislators, judicial members and business executives how to shoot for personal protection.  Many of the legislators during campaign season would ask me to travel with them as my firearms skills made them feel safe when they were out on the campaign trail.

I learned early in my professional career that most long-term careers are built on personal strengths used by people who enjoy what they do.  I have always enjoyed firearms, martial arts and helping people.  So Executive Protection seemed like a good fit.  When I was in corporate America, I always enjoyed building high performing teams, and owning a protection agency gave me the ability to do the things I enjoyed while still continuing to help others.

What are some of the differences between working as an Operator and a trainer?  Do you prefer one over the other?

That is a hard one to answer.  As a trainer you have greater impact as a whole as you help others continue to build their skills, and serve others.  As a trainer you are a force multiplier.  When I am working as an Operator, I can only help one client at a time. As a trainer your skills scale. However there is nothing more personally rewarding than when a client tells you, that you make them and their family feel safe when you are around.  No matter how much I train, I will always continue to work directly with clients, as it helps me keep my training contemporary by staying in the profession as opposed to being around the profession.  Both are hard work and whether they are a firearms student or Executive Protection client, they are both clients and you work to serve them, and if you don’t do a good job, you don’t have repeat customers.

Can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far?

The first day, I started working with a client who was a professional athlete I was interviewing him and going over our safety briefing in his hotel room. Before we got ready to go to our big event, I gave him a distress word, a distress sign, and showed him if things go bad and we were involved in a deadly force situation, how myself or a member of my team would move him out of the harm’s way.  He said, no one had ever done a safety briefing with him in the past or had every talked about distress words or signs.  Before we got ready to go down stairs, I took off my coat and got miked up.  He said “I didn’t even know you had a gun on.”  I told him that is why they call it “concealed carry”.  He laughed and said, “I got the damn secret service working for me!”  We have worked together for three years now and counting.

To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give?

Remember we are in the service business, it is not about you, it is about your client.  The moment you forget it, your client will remind you.  Take time out to invest in building you.  Stay hungry, keep training and work on building all of your skills, (advanced work, tactical medicine, firearms, martial arts, study up on the laws in the states you work in, evasive driving etc.).  Remember Executive Protection is a profession, not a hobby; you should be doing something in your profession every day.  Professional athletes train 5 – 6 times per week, Doctors practice medicine every day, attorney’s either research the law or litigate every day, take that same commitment to your development.  Build your skills and the money will come.

Personal Protection Specialist Mark “Six” James can be reached at (404) 349-9117 or Email:  mark.james@pantherprotectionservices.com

Industry Spotlight: EP Agent Hans van Beuge

Icon – Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry.  Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride.   No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.

Below is an excerpt of my interview with veteran Executive Protection Agent, Hans van Beuge Principal Partner of SAVIOR.

Hans

Agent Name: Hans van Beuge
Company Name
: SAVIOR
Website:
www.saviorservices.com
Home city / Country: Australia
Contact info: (email/phone number) hans@saviorservices.com int + 61 418 553 363

How long have you been in the Protection Industry
?

My career began in 1970 as an 18year old. This was well before any licensing or training accreditation was necessary. I was recruited to work for a company that provided security for Rock venues and Festivals and quickly progressed to tour/personal security for various bands and artists.

Can you give our readers a little bit of your background?

I started doing security work to support myself as an aspiring athlete. I was a Shot Putter in the Australian Athletic Team.  I was 6’6” and 240lb at 18 and about 265lb by the time I was 20.  Back then most of the guys protecting entertainers were martial artists or former boxers or wrestlers.  Muscle and physicality were seen as the only prerequisite at the time, however that’s definitely how I got my break into the industry.

Knowing how difficult it is to build a strong, long term base in EP work, what specific skills/traits make you marketable to potential clients?

I think it’s really necessary to determine which areas of Protection you are best suited for.  In this profession you can work in the Government, Military, PSD, Corporate (from CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies to small business owners), or for Wealthy Individuals, Entertainers (encompassing actors, rock bands, individual singers, rappers, models etc) and professional athletes. Although the principles of protection remain the same, the perspectives vary enormously depending in which field you work. Very few guys can transition successfully between all areas.

With the killing of John Lennon in 1980, the Hinckley/Reagan/Foster incident in early ’81 and a host of other high profile attacks on celelebrities around then , I came to the conclusion that the greatest hazard to entertainers was going to be coming from those mentally disordered individuals who for whatever demented reason seek connection with the famous.

I started to study psychology and read and researched as much material as available to understand the mind set of the types of offenders who pose a risk to my clients. I did as many courses as possible and started to interface with clinical psychiatrists and psychologists to workshop ideas and share my on the ground experiences with their more often textbook experience.

Behavioral prediction became a greater and greater aspect of the services I provided and eventually I started to market myself as a “Violence Consultant” rather than a “Bodyguard” to reflect this shift in focus. I also found it a rather untapped area for offering advice as it was in an area that Law Enforcement had no expertise in and the Mental Health authorities had little interest in.

I know that you have some pretty extensive experience dealing with the paparazzi as it relates to celebrity clients.  What do you think are some effective ways to deal with aggressive photographers?

Well, no security or safety program designed for a client is complete unless you have a plan to counter or minimize the invasive/aggressive/illegal intrusions of the tabloid media.  My advice:  Understand what each particular client’s attitude is towards the paparazzi.   Some are nonchalant about them; others want their privacy protected at all costs and most have a love/hate relationship. No matter what their opinion of the paparazzi, I’ve never yet met a client who didn’t want to be advised of the presence/position of paparazzi before a photo was taken.

To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give?

To strive for professionalism in their work.  We see so many people in this industry who lack any vestige of professional demeanor or behavior. Conduct yourself in a professional manner, be well presented and attired, be dignified and be knowledgeable about as many areas of security as possible. Your Clients are going to look to you for answers to all kinds of security issues.  Remember that we are in a service industry. Treat your client as the boss, you are there to support them, they are not there to enhance your career.

(continued)

For the full interview of my Q&A with Hans van Beuge, check the back issues of The Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards, by clicking HERE.