While it might look like a potential traffic jam waiting to happen, every vehicle in the motorcade serves a distinct purpose. The amount of resources dedicated to moving the President of the United States from place to place by the Secret Service is staggering. With that said, the security motorcade is not unique to just diplomatic arenas. You will find scaled down versions in almost every other area of Executive Protection. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of attacks occur in and around the vehicle so the rings of protection have to extend beyond just arms length.
By Einar Myklebust
While recently attending the ICON Executive Protection Academy I found that one of the skills they stressed over and over as vital to an individual working in the protection business was to have knowledge of motor vehicles and how they work. I mean as protectors working with clients, we spend a lot of time in and around cars. When asked for their recommendation, one company name kept popping up. Tony Scotti and his Vehicle Dynamic’s Institute. With that in mind, I did some additional research and made the decision to attend as to add “more tools in the toolbox”. Fast forward to me on the road to southern New Jersey to attend Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute (TSVDI) for their Protective Driving Course.
When I arrived at the track at 11:30 PM the night before the class began, I was met at the gate by the Director of the TSVDI Program, Joe Autera, who was there to greet me, make sure I got in ok, give directions to the lodging, and additional information on how to find the part of the track where lessons were going to be conducted.
Started with a few hours in the classroom, where we learned a wealth of information about cars and their handling properties. One topic was G-force and the importance of calculating it for each specific car. Another topic covered during the day was the importance of, often overlooked, tire pressure and preventative car maintenance in general. Along these lines, there were many other details about cars that I had previously known nothing about, but which turns out to be paramount to vehicle dynamics.
Then we were told we were going to be evaluated on where we were as drivers, skill-wise, so we could chart our progression as we continued through the course. A weather related note: as we walked outside to start our driving — It was raining hard and the wind was blasting. We had standing water in many parts of the training track. In my mind I thought, “Well this can’t be conducive to high performance driving”. Boy was I wrong. Thinking back, I am glad it was raining that hard as it afforded me the opportunity to learn a lot about car handling in adverse weather and see what a car is capable of in a controlled environment.
Started at 8am with a short briefing on the day’s exercises, followed by a full day of driving. When Joe tells you “we teach to a standard, not a clock”, it’s not just words. TSVDI actually does it. We got back to our rooms around 9:30 PM that day. They ran the attendees through our paces, over and over, until we got it right. And if anyone wanted a few extra runs for good measure, all you had to do was ask and it was done. We performed J-turns, backing up drills around cones, into garages, slalom, braking drills, straight in turns at high speed. You name it we did it.
Another early morning with the students finishing up a few drills, then back into the class room for a briefing on lessons learned from security driving to car jacking’s stories. We then entered the testing phase, appropriately named Carjackistan. A timed event encompassing runs on the track of the drills we had worked on over the 3 days of class, with unknown obstacles and a few surprises tossed in.
No review of any school or program can be accurately complete without also mentioning the instructors. TSVDI’s instructors are top notch. From their lead instructor (Janine Paul) on down the ranks, I have nothing but good things to say about their enthusiasm, skill, and attitude. I would highly recommend this school to anyone seeking to add security driver to their resume and I am confident that I came out of the program a much better driver than when I went in. As Mark “6” James of Panther Protective Services so aptly put it in one of his remarks on the program, “You can find different, but you can’t find better.” I agree with every word.
Einar Myklebust, ICON Alumni.
Jenni Rivera, the U.S.-born Mexican-American singer and her entourage were killed in a plane crash. A U.S. aviation investigation board confirmed that Ms. Rivera died in a Learjet 25 crash, which disintegrated on impact Sunday in rugged territory in Nuevo Leon state in northern Mexico.
Additionally, there have been several high-profile crashes involving Learjets, passenger aircraft popular with corporate executives, entertainers and government officials.
A Learjet carrying pro-golfer Payne Stewart and five others crashed in northeastern South Dakota in 1999. Investigators said the plane lost cabin pressure and all on board died after losing consciousness for lack of oxygen. The aircraft flew for several hours on autopilot before running out of fuel and crashing in a corn field.
Former Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker was severely injured in a 2008 Learjet crash in South Carolina that killed four people.
Additional details HERE.
While in the past several years, private aircraft use is certainly down in the world of Celebrities and High Net Worth Individuals, it still is the preferred method of choice. As with every other method of travel in which an outside service provider must be brought in, screening, consideration and due diligence must be made, and that means knowing the right questions to ask or having the right people on your team to ask them.
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.
I always say people can teach you one of two things:
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.
Looks like moonlighting for a celebrity came back to bite these law enforcement officers in the long run…
6 Metro Nashville Police officers were suspended for driving Taylor Swift’s security team after being denied permission to perform the outside work.
5 Officers were suspended for 10 days, with one Sargent suspended for 12 days.
The officers sought approval for the driving job, but their request was rejected, according to the department’s internal investigation, which was completed in May.
Elrod, who recently retired from the department, said in an interview that they continued doing the job anyway, hoping supervisors wouldn’t find out.
He said they needed the $30 an hour the work provided.
Click HERE for the full story.
A short time ago, Harlan Austin of BodyguardCareers.com sat down for an interview with Security Driving Expert, Tony Scotti, President of Tony Scotti Driving for The Circuit Magazine. The wonderful conversation between two industry professionals, covered Vehicle Dynamics, Executive Protection and Tony’s views on the current state of the industry. Read an excerpt below.
Circuit Interview: With Tony Scotti
Tony Scotti is considered by many as one of the most influential individuals in the business. Like Bob Duggan and Dr. Richard Kobetz, he is a true pioneer in the field of executive protection. Tony’s niche is driver’s training; he is the most recognizable name in that field. Since the 70’s Tony has catered to the training needs of industry and public service agencies. He has trained governments, corporations, law enforcement agencies and military organizations to avoid the terrorist threat. For four decades Tony has conducted training programs in over 30 countries, he has trained students from 64 countries, and conducted training programs in five continents. He has conducted more training programs in more locations than any other private training institution in the world.
Question: Who or what inspired you to get involved in the field of executive protection?
Answer – It began with a moment of opportunity, which was followed by a life time of inspiration. In the mid 70’s the concept of training people to avoid an ambush while in a vehicle was not common, and in fact almost unheard of. In 1974 two gentleman, Diego Arguello, a Cuban National, who worked security in Venezuela, and Steve Van Cleave, a security consultant and an original member of ASIS, took a chance on this new concept called “anti terrorist driving”, of which I was offered the opportunity to teach. I spent the mid 70’s conducting training throughout South America and the Middle East. The inspiration came from the positive results of the training and discovering how rewarding it was to apply my education as an engineer to this type of training.
Question: Do you think there is a particular personality type that is drawn to the executive protection business?
Answer – In my opinion, it attracts risk takers – not taking risk while on the job but taking the risk of getting into the business. They all seem to have a strong personality, have a high sense of morality and honor, and find that protecting people from harm is noble calling. I have found that the successful ones tend to be no ‘BS’ people and have a low tolerance for incompetence.
Question: What is the biggest misconception about executive protection?
Answer – This question includes more than one misconception. First, the misconception of those that hire the EP Agent is that the job can be done by anybody with a law enforcement or military background. Also, I feel it varies in accordance to the market. An example would be corporations who have a handle on what it takes to be an EP Agent. For the EP Agent, the misconception is that you can go to a school and come out and get a job. But by far the biggest misconception is that the job is all about reacting to a problem, when in my opinion the job is more cerebral than most in the business think it is.
Question: Tony many clients believe you can put anybody behind the wheel of a car; from your perspective how important is it to have a qualified driver on your detail?
Answer – I’m a bit prejudice about this subject. Driving is a measurable skill, and statistics point out that the likelihood of a problem occurring while the person is in the car is very high. For reason of safety and security, it is imperative that the driver be trained and their skills measured. In fact, corporations now demand in their job descriptions that a driver must attend a training program that measures skill – it is a liability issue.
Question: What tips might you have for new people trying to break into the executive protection business?
Answer – Training, Determination, and Perseverance. Attend a recognized training program, one that has a good network of former students and teaches the core skills: driving – advancing – surveillance detection. These are the skills that show up on job descriptions. Be willing to start at the bottom. Become a student of the profession – learn as much about the business end of the industry as you would about the operational end of the industry. Network – network – and then network some more. Emulate those who are successful in the business – do the right thing and pass it forward.
Question: How has Executive Protection evolved over the past 25 years?
Answer – This could be and will eventually be the subject of a book. The first issue that comes to mind is that there are more people and training companies than there have been in the past and I’ don’t think the number of jobs have kept up with the pace of people entering into the business. There are new markets available that were not available as little as 7 years ago. Iraq and Afghanistan have changed the landscape of the business. As the threat evolved so has the skills and training needed to defeat the threat. The market is much more diverse than it has been in the past, but it is much easier to network and communicate with others. The job is much more sophisticated than it was in the past and those that hire are more demanding.
I always say “if you want to be the best, learn from the best.” With that said, if you want to learn more about security driving, I can’t think of a better instructor than Tony Scotti and his organization. Here are some of the upcoming courses he has on the horizon:
The Security Driver Seminar: A guide to providing same & effective Executive Protection Driving
SEPTEMBER 30 – OCTOBER 1, 2010
A 2 day seminar custom tailored to further enhance the capability of security practitioners – from entry-level to experienced professionals – to meet the challenges associated with one of the most critical aspects of executive protection – planning, managing and providing safe and secure ground transportation.
Through a series of intensive and informative discussions, participants will gain valuable insight into industry recognized best practices and proactive strategies that have been proven effective for detecting, deterring and responding to the full range of likely risks and potential threats which may be encountered while getting the principal from Point A to Point B…and beyond.
Key Topics to be Discussed Include: • The Role of the Security Driver and How it has Evolved • The Three Critical Factors of Secure Executive Transportation • Fulfilling Security Needs While Meeting Expectations • Legal Questions and Considerations • Protective Intelligence; the Foundation for Success • Surveillance Detection and Why it’s So Important • Integrating Security Driving into the Broader EP Function
This is a rare opportunity for the practitioner to gain valuable insights from some of the most recognized experts in this highly specialized field today
Security Driver & The Business of Protection
OCTOBER 22nd & 23rd, 2010
Industry Expert Tony Scotti will be conducting 2 executive protection seminars in the Boston Massachusetts area on October 22nd and the 23rd. Day one will focus on Security Driving, while day 2 will concentrate on the skills needed to succeed in the executive protection industry.
Click on links below for additional information.
Security Driver Seminar
This one day classroom program, developed and instructed by Tony Scotti, based on his 38 years of experience conducting training programs and vehicle operations in all types of environments.
A Seminar on the “Business of Protection”
The most common commodity in this country is unrealized potential – Calvin Coolidge
You can spend more time on training that increase’s your potential, or you could spend your time on training that releases your potential. Unless you can get your potential to the market place, all it is -is potential.http://www.securitydriver.com/training/business_of_protection_seminar.html
A very small sampling of the drills that go into honing skills in the Executive & VIP Protection Industry. These are the building blocks that create the total package that clients, Detail Leaders and decision makers are looking for.
The guys that attended the recent training course were from all backgrounds and walks of life, but I think what was so impressive is that regardless of their pedigree’sthey put their egos on the shelf (well mostly) and engaged in the physical and mental exertions that form muscle memory. Continue on that path and at when the moment of truth comes, your actions (or reactions) are on autopilot.
For more information on ICON Executive Protection Training, click HERE.