Category Archives: Equipment

5 International Travel Tips for Bodyguards

 

 

Travel plays a big part in the duties of the Executive Protection Agent, and those that make a career out of the profession quickly earn the title of “Road Warrior” –-Bags packed, will travel.   Taking that travel international adds a whole new dimension to protecting the client, so here are a few helpful things to keep in mind.

Make yourself familiar with the travel advisories. –   The US State Department is an excellent resource as is the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).  Also read international newspapers, you may find that news developments vital to the area that you will be in are reported differently outside the United States.

Remember what’s lawful in the US could get you into some serious hot water in another country.  – Make sure you particularly remember this one as it relates to the possession and use of firearms and other weapons.  This should also extend to your client, as even some over the counter medicines are prohibited in some countries.

Keep in mind you are in someone else’s playground.  – Use local resources when possible to aid your journey.  Think about it, who knows an area better than a person that lives there?   At a minimum, try not to come in with a holier-than-thou attitude and piss off the other security/law enforcement teams you may encounter.  Allies are better than adversaries, and that is never truer than when operating in a foreign land.

Plan for delays. –  While there is a universal constant of 24 yours in a day, time can sometimes move different depending on what part of the world you are in.  Just ask anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time in Mexico, Nigeria or India, things just take longer, so work that into your logistics.

Keep cultural nuances in mind to avoid embarrassment. –  Making yourself familiar with the customs and traditions of a foreign country outside of just the security concerns could pay benefits in the long run.  Don’t let a slip of the tongue or a wrong hand gesture draw attention to you or your client.  Bodyguard Blog did a whole article on just this topic, find it HERE.

 

 

Student Experiences After ICON Executive Protection Training

 

“When I consider what the primary difference was which made my ICON experience a greater value and overall experience to my previous training, I believe it is due to the fact the ICON course was  student-centric.  In other words, the course was designed to create and support an environment in which the students actively contributed to their own learning.  To create a course such as this, ICON put in significant time and effort to design and implement experiences which were designed to rapidly transition from the classroom to the real world”.

Donna Angevine

ICON CPC, AEP Course Graduate, January 2012

“I think that reality based training with stress is the best way to learn.  Sitting in a classroom can only teach somebody so much.  Putting people under stress and forcing them to think then act, then reviewing their actions is a much more effective way to learn and you and your staff taught me a lot.  Each member of your staff is a true professional and an effective teacher.”

Jimmy Menzoian

ICON CPC, AEP Course Graduate, January 2012

 

“In my 15 day journey, a total mental and physical transformation took place. During training, I was introduced to hand-to-hand combat, defensive tactics, and firearm training that was in addition to other tactical and dynamic instruction.  One advantage that ICON has over other Executive Protection courses is the top notch instructors who present up-to-date real life experience in the EP industry.   ICON has given me a great head start into the Executive Protection industry”.

Michael Brown

ICON CPC, AEP Course Graduate, January 2012

 

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Next Dates

Celebrity & VIP Protection:  Aug 1-5, 2012 (Financing & Scholarships Available)

Advanced Executive Protection (High Risk): Aug 6-15, 2012 (Financing & Scholarships Available)

To learn more about the ICON Academy Executive Protection Training Course click on the link.

 

 

The Value of Continuing Training – Security Driving

 

I always say people can teach you one of two things:

What to do, or what NOT to do.
Today I learned both.  As part of my continuing training and personal development, I carved time into my schedule and attended Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamic’s Institute.
The course i’m undergoing is their Protective Driver/Evasive program which  is designed for professional security drivers, and Executive Protection specialists looking to improve the knowledge, skills and ability needed to provide secure and safe transportation for clients. The instructors have taught the program worldwide, and let’s be honest, It was developed by the man who literally wrote the book on the subject of Security Driving.
My plan is to write more upon successful completion of the course, but in the short term, I can say that by the end of Day 1, i’ve learn new methods to successfully protect myself and my clients by gaining a deeper understanding of how to make the vehicle do what I want it to, and at the same time identifying it’s limitations.
Elijah Shaw

ICON Executive ProtectionTargets Make TV Debut

…and while it was only for a split second, we at ICON Services Corporation still think it was pretty cool.

It all started when I received an email from Marshall B., an ICON Alumni who was watching the A&E show Storage Wars.  Lo’ and behold, what flashes across the screen when the participants visit a Nevada Gun Range?  Thats right, the ICON VIP Protection Targets.  The Targets, created in partnership with America’s largest distributor of paper targets, were initially designed for close protection bodyguard work, honeing the shooters skills in a variety of true-to-life scenarios.  Since then they’ve expand beyond the world of Executive Protection and have made their way into ranges across the US.  In fact, the target featured in the clip, also has the distinction of being the best selling individual target in the companies line for 2011.

This is following a string of sightings that included, a S.W.A.T member who engaged the targets in a shoot house training exercise at his department.  What made it memorable is because he knew one of the models in the shoot (the hostage, who of course, remained unharmed).  In addition several weeks ago, I received a great email with one of my colleagues overseas in Afghanistan, who mentioned that while he was training with some VERY DISTINGUISHED individuals, he was happy to see the ICON Targets in use at the range.   You can find that story HERE.

If your a fan of the show, you can catch the episode HERE.  (the targets @ 21:15 mark).  Click HERE to see the full line of the ICON VIP Protection Targets.

 

Security Driving Guru Tony Scotti at Oct ICON Training

 

Fact: Tony Scotti , President of Tony Scotti Driving, is considered by many as one of the most influential individuals in the art of Executive Protection.  For over 40 years Tony has conducted training programs in over 30 countries, in 5 continents.  –The stats speak for themselves.

Having trained governments, corporations, law enforcement agencies and military organizations around the globe on the skills needed to survive life threatening situations behind the wheel, the instructor cadre at ICON Services Corporation is proud to have Mr. Scotti make a special appearance at the ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course held October 5-9, 2011.  Tony will be lecturing on Security Driving, a  subject he’s literally wrote the book on.

If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to attend the course, this should help make the decision a lot easier.

To learn more about the ICON Celebrity & VIP Training Course click HERE.

To learn more about Tony Scotti click HERE.

 

 

 

ICON Executive Protection Themed Targets

A couple years ago, I commented to the instructors of  ICON Services Corporation how during the live-fire drills of our training courses I would like to use a paper target that spoke more to our industry as Executive Protection Agents.  Prior to this, we had been using some of the fairly common full-color situational targets that law-enforcement and the military shoot for practice (some of which had to have been photographed during the Reagan-Era).  While some were pretty good, none of them seemed to give me exactly what I was looking for — the scenario where I, as an Executive Protection Agent, has to suddenly pull my firearm to defend my client (as opposed to disarming a masked robber or shooting Bin Laden as many of the targets on the market portray).  As mentioned, we tried a few… then tried a few more, but I still didn’t “love ’em”.
Then inspiration struck.  If I couldn’t find what I was looking for, then I might as well create it.  Long story short, ICON was able to partner with North America’s largest distributor of paper targets to create the ICON VIP Protection Target Line.  Shot by the wonderful photographer Kiki Koralesky of Contact Front Photography, our initial series of 6 has been well received and have been met with brisk enough sales for the manufacturer to request additional targets in the future.  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Fast forward to July of 2011 where I got a note from a good friend of mine working in Afghanistan that referenced the “World being a small place“.  Turns out that while setting up some training with some other VERY distinguished Operators in that area of the world, he took a look at the paper targets they are using and guess what? –Yep, ICON.   While I do keep track though the distributor of the volume of sales, and realize that it’s not just the Close Protection community using them as orders have been place with Law Enforcement and Government Institutions, it was still nice to learn that the targets were serving their purpose in such a hostile area of the world.  The intent was to give the shooter a realistic situational target and in a region of the world where the stakes are as high as it gets, taking the time to train with the line speaks volumes.

Click here to learn more about the ICON VIP Protection Target Line.

 

 

Caption This pt. 12

The weekly  “Caption This” feature of Bodyguard Blog returns as we ask readers to supply their own witty comments to humorous Executive Protection related photos.

Traditionally speaking, I know the story behind the photos before I post them, but I have to say, I’m just as perplexed as everyone else might be with this one???

So jumping right in, let’s “Caption This…”

*to see previous editions type “Caption This” into the search bar to the right.

**edit ** we’ve now turned this edition into the official “Caption This…” Contest.  To participate, leave your comment here AND on our Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/IconServices.  The one with the most “likes” next to their comment will win an article of merchandise from our ICON Apparel Line.   (remember, even if you are not leaving a comment, vote for the one you think is the most humorous.)

The Executive Protection Magazine

While Blogs & Newsgroups might be the wave of the future in terms of delivering up to the minute news reporting, there is still a place for the printed page.  In the world of Executive Protection, The Circuit Magazine fills that niche offering news, tips, interviews, equipment reviews and more with all things related to the Bodyguard & Close Protection Industry.

Now on issue #10, the fine folks at the North American Bodyguard Guard Association (NABA) also with the long-standing British Bodyguard Association (BBA) produce a full-color magazine that covers the A-Z of security industry.

A subscription to the magazine comes free with membership to either of the above organizations, or you can order individually HERE.

If past issues are what you are looking for, I’d also suggest checking out BodyguardMagazines.com, where you can order, and also find a preview of the articles.

Auditors Question TSA Over (mis)use of Funds

The Washington Post Reports – The Transportation Security Administration spent about $30 million on devices that puffed air on travelers to “sniff” them out for explosives residue. Those machines ended up in warehouses, removed from airports, abandoned as impractical.

The massive push to fix airport security in the United States after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, led to a gold rush in technology contracts and services like https://www.industrialauctionhub.com/ for an industry that mushroomed almost overnight. Since it was founded in 2001, the TSA has spent roughly $14 billion in more than 20,900 transactions with dozens of contractors.

In addition to beefing up the fleets of X-ray machines and traditional security systems at airports nationwide, about $8 billion also paid for ambitious new technologies. The agency has spent about $800 million on devices to screen bags and passenger items, including shoes, bottled liquids, casts and prostheses. For next year, it wants more than $1.3 billion for airport screening technologies.

But lawmakers, auditors and national security experts question whether the government is too quick to embrace technology as a solution for basic security problems and whether the TSA has been too eager to write checks for unproven products.

“We always want the best, the latest and greatest technology against terrorists, but that’s not necessarily the smartest way to spend your money and your efforts,” said Kip Hawley, who served as the head of the TSA from 2005 until last year. “We see a technology that looks promising, and the temptation is to run to deploy it before we fully understand how it integrates with the multiple layers we already have in place like using a watch list, training officers at every checkpoint to look for suspicious behavior and using some pat-downs.”

Click HERE for full story.

New Airport Scanner Screening Disaster

The controversy about the new full-body scanning systems implemented by the TSA is heating up the airwaves.  While no one is opposed to increased security, disaster stories like the one below show why public opinion is weighed heavily against the new procedures which subjects you a full body pat-down and has been charged with incidents like the one that happened in Australia to the woman who is actually now using for sexual assault.

And then of course, there’s this:

The airport screener arrested for assaulting a coworker who taunted him about the size of his private parts after his genitalia was exposed by a full-body scanner told police that he snapped after being subjected to “psychological torture” by fellow Transportation Security Administration employees who repeatedly asked him, “What size are you?”

In a handwritten statement given to cops following his May arrest, Rolando Negrin, 45, described the fallout after he walked through a high-tech “whole body image” scanner during a training session for TSA workers at Miami International Airport. Negrin’s statement to Miami-Dade Police Department officers,excerpted here, was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Negrin wrote that, despite his pleas, coworkers would not cease mocking him after the scanner gave them a revealing look.  For the full story click HERE.

For those in the Executive Protection industry charged with protecting our clients image as well as their well-being the new procedures are a cause for concern.   While the word “Private Jet” is thrown around quite a bit, the reality of it is more often than not VIP travel on commercial airlines and as such are subject to the same security screenings.   It will be interesting to see how our industry rises up to address these challenges.  ~ES