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Oh no, not that car service!

Often times we are working details that use car services whereby the drivers are not security trained or have any protective driving courses under their belt.
In the MTMS course I teach the protective driving operations block. The first PowerPoint slide is titled The driver-“the weakest link”. The definition we use is “non security professional used to transport the protectee and/or security element”.
Sometimes we rent cars and use a EP trained specialist who might not have the protective driving skills. This person understands executive protection and has the where with all to know what a threat looks like, smells like and tastes like but not the skill set to do a reverse 180, J-turn etc. The point here is know who you have behind the wheel navigating the victor.
The non security driver will always, unless instructed, revert back to his regular course of duty. Get out of the vehicle on arrivals and stand outside the vehicle on departures. They won’t necessarily be conducting effective routes plans nor surveillance detection routes. His sole mantra is getting to and from a designated location and hope for a tip at the end of the day.
In many cases we (the security element) are infringing on his normal work habits.
I had an occasion where we were assigned to the son of a well known civil rights activists son. We were hired by the host of the event that he was speaking at. We advanced the venue and was afforded the 2 drivers names and numbers. They worked for a very well known car service.
As normal procedure I called him in an attempt to meet them and drive the route from the pick up to the Washington Hilton (hotel where President Reagan was shot). When I spoke to him he told me that he wasn’t available to meet with me but assured me that he had driven that route countless times.
We were to rendezvous with him 2 hours before wheels down of the protectee. When I arrived at Reagan National Airport and called him he didn’t answer. About an hour and a half (30 minutes before landing) he called and said he was a few minutes out. I had already made arrangements with TSA to be at the gate so I didn’t want to inconvenience them with a change in plan. I told the driver what door to park curbside.
The protectee arrived and we got to the car without a hitch. He began driving a route that was not familiar to me. Instead of coming north on Connecticut avenue, which would have placed the Hotel on our right he came south on Connecticut causing him to make a left onto oncoming rush hour traffic. As we approached the hotel he passed the turn. I looked at him in a way that said, “where the **** are you going?”. He then made an illegal u-turn. He then passed the entrance and pulled in the presidential bunker placing my door and the protectees door against the reinforced brick wall. I couldn’t dismount. The protectee slid across the seat, exited the victor and walked in. Mark Fair knew what was happening and picked up the slack. Meanwhile I’m still with my driver giving him the second look. I then told them to park curbside, stay in their vehicles and listen for their cell phones for our departure. I eventually got out and got in the protective formation.
The event ended in about an hour and the protectee went to the green room for parting words. My instinct told me to go out and get the drivers ready.
Upon reaching both empty cars I started calling them. No answer. I walked to Connecticut Ave to only find my drivers walking up the street with toothpicks in their mouths, looking quite satisfied after an unauthorized lunch break.
I tell this story in our class so that students know how to handle and what to expect with different levels of drivers. As long as you know what you have ahead of time it’s easy to plan, and if you have the time, educate the driver on your expectations.

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