That badge alone doesn’t mean anything to me

Brian (Omega investigations) emailed me asking for my past blog on military versus law enforcement in EP. He said he got into a heated discussion with some officers at the range who said thy police officers, specifically these guys, could do EP as good, if not better than anyone else.

Brian was a Maryland State Trooper with me. We, former Maryland troopers are very conceited and cocky about our prestigious agency. When I went through the academy in 1982 we were a REAL academy. They woke us up in the middle of the night to PT us as if the running and daily PT class wasn’t enough. We ran everywhere we went once you exited the building. Nowadays they don’t do that because someone sued them that because it was extra hours that should be compensated with overtime. Pansies. Anyway, I come from a very prestigious background and feel my past can stand up to anyones. HOWEVER, I am probably the biggest critic on law enforcement capabilities and EP. A beat cop, street cop, road trooper, whatever you want to call yourself, does NOT and can NOT perform effective EP with just basic police training.

No academy, to my knowledge, teaches a basic EP curriculum in their academy. There are specialized units that are assigned to local officials who have supplemental training in protection

That being said, you may think you’re doing EP but you’re not doing EP as we know it. Bodyguards with badges are not EP professionals.

And for those of you who are supplementing your details with Law enforcement personnel; know what
you’re getting.

Badges are symbols of knowledge of rules of the road and local laws it does not automatically mean they can work a formation.

I will gladly break down the police mindset and training and how it is in direct conflict with the EP training mindset.

Brian, this one is for you. Send this to them and have them call me.


  1. Minister


    As in my course you and I occasionally have to explain the need for "Personnel Protection" being respected as a separate discipline. For those interested Eric and I tag team law enforcement officers (LEO), him, and military personnel (MilVet), me, on what they think they know based on their respective experiences and previous training as it relates to protection. While both disciplines are great accelerants to becoming a protection specialist any TRUE professional could run a clinic on what BOTH backgrounds are lacking in the delivery of a truly complete and comprehensive executive level service.

    Your comparison to Bodyguard is spot on but not for the obvious or in degradation. If you will allow me to climb on my soap-box I would like to explain. There is a client out there that does truly want the “bodyguard” service and is satisfied with it, most are what we call notables commonly referred to as celebrities. The reason is simply due to application, likely threat and of course investment of resource and related costs. So yes, if an obvious deterrent or purely reactive response to a threat with limited cost is required than a bodyguard or untrained LEO or MilVet is adequate. If a client requires a higher level of service with a comprehensive MANAGEMENT of a median to complicated threat or protective culture than a formally trained specialist is required.

    I think you were far to kind in limiting the example to formations. Crisis management pathways, team and resource placement/management, proactive actions and choreography as well as just the mindset required to respond appropriately in seconds is the formula. Unfortunately so many of the untrained think that protection is just that last part, responding appropriately. The reality is, if you assume that your military or law enforcement training is adequate you will do just that and respond instead of doing the appropriate planning, management and choreography that puts you were you need to be before you actually get there, (forgive my Yogi Berra moment). So, in saying that please consider this, just because you thought about something doesn’t mean you thought about it correctly…

    One of the best multi dimensional views of this reality is in the Reagan attempt; you can see what a trained protection professional will do, what a trained professional LEO and MilVet will do. USSS got big and immediately focused on the principal and the shielding of; MPD ducked in search of cover to respond to the problem and a retired Lt Col in a canary yellow sweater reacted to the threat by fire or close combat. Everyone did what they were TRAINED or WIRED to do.

    EP is such a gray box and requires not only tactical capability but also a keen appreciation for the intimacy of the product. EP can never become a commodity like uniformed protection has become because of that intimacy. Its not about bags of meat standing over the right shoulder of the principal, or a body with a gun sitting in the driveway, unless of course that’s all a client wants. There are so many other applicable checklists from a tactical, strategic or client relations standpoint that only trained professionals can provide at a premium rate for service demanded by us or the level of service expected by the client under the designation of Executive Protection. The unfortunate reality of service relations in our industry is that so many very smart and successful people are absolutely ignorant in the purchase of our service.

    There is just as many supposed professionals that look and talk the part and are never challenged on what they know or what they think they know. We cannot document what we prevent so justifying the homework and proactive measures required are sometimes difficult or wind up being discounted by a client. Thus the satisfaction with a badge, a DD214 that states that the holder was the one that shot Bin Laden is assumed to be adequate or in the latest craze, “I was born in Haifa”. While those may be good beginnings they all still need some sanding on the tactical as well as attitude/mindset front. Not to mention the appreciation and understanding in the difference of the basic mission sets. EP, EP for HRP or HTP. Just because you can do one doesn’t always justify you doing the other. If you’re great at tactics but your mindset is on cocaine you will probably irritate that c-suite executive you’re covering while you move through the streets of Monte Carlo. If you are in the three seat on an HTP mission and everyone likes you yet you cant comprehend the difference between the follow-up responsibility and the CAT mission you and your muzzle will probably not be in the right place or do the right thing when needed. Now if all three of those platforms are within the field of protection and specific training is required for tactics, skill and mindset why wouldn’t the same logic apply to two respected and similar fields outside of protection? I answer that with a question, how do you view the service and how do you view yourself within said service, are you a protection specialist or are you a Bodyguard?

    It has always been funny to me when I ask someone to “put me in” and they either say “yea, traveler will be over there and we will stand over here” or hand me a 500 page advance yet provide no collective pathway or response, be it natural man made or direct, based on those 500 pages. Until you have done more than just follow someone around or simply check badges at a special event its hard for me to literate here and gain your appreciation for the value of formal training AND OJT experience in knowing what to look for plan for and how to relate to a client in a fashion that builds trust, confidence and discipline to counsel in or before a crisis. This is critical, especially when seconds matter or when the 20 other members of his or her staff say to do otherwise; and here’s the rub Stanley, the crisis isn’t always the golden bullet thus requiring “said” professional to slide across the hood of a car. Just because you look the part or a piece of paper states the part, doesn’t always mean you are ready for the role.

    Protection deserves its own unique respect to discipline thus specific education and training to proficiency and mindset.

  2. BPI Security

    Spot on. Let me just put another spin on my position. I don't think either discipline is an accelerant to an EP professional. I think both are a base foundation to what a complete EP specialist is and can be. To me the accelerant is an open mindedness and understanding that your respective discipline is devoid of or contradictory in some of the EP ways of doing things. Coming to the table with your cup half full is the accelerant. It allows you to process faster with what your baseline foundation. Other than that I agree. I just didn't want get preachy.

    Ultimately, I get burned up when officers think that the badge is the answer to this craft. I can scream my position because I've been there and done all of that from a patrol car, sitting in a living room doing a kilo deal to sitting in a prison cell working a case on the prison guards. Yea, that was me!

  3. BPI Security

    Simply put
    Hard work will always beat talent,
    When talent refuses to work hard!

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