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Client requests versus your expertise

Two days ago I posted the following question on the NABA site:

You are asked by a “CORPORATE” client to provide close-in protection on a visiting dignitary coming into your town. Your company is licensed to provide these services in this jurisdiction. The in bound dignitary does not meet DS standards for coverage but is a very outspoken political figure. The client authorizes all of the Executive Protection preventive measures you ask for: Threat and Vulnerability assessments, site security assessments, protective advance work etc. The client wants you to be the detail leader but the only caveat is that the protectee and the client want the rest of your team to be active duty or off duty police officers.

The purpose was two fold, 1- to see how specialists respond to a specific client request regarding the protective element and, 2-The common misnomer when clients believe that having police on a detail makes it safer and sufficient. To my surprise the jury was split between those that would readily accommodate the client request, those that would possibly walk away because they wouldn’t let a client dictate how they would perform their protective servises and then there were a couple that showed reluctance at using officers altogether.

I imparted my personal perspective in that, I would consult with the client regarding the usage of officers and the toils that surround that in many jurisdictions. The first reason I stated is that many officers, especially on the east coast, who may be available to work the detail, have no formal EP training. Many departments have strict rules on working part-time, whereby any part-time work has to be pre-approved by the department. There are also departments that restrict officers from working part-time for an agency whose license is regulated by the State. Those restrictions include what we do. I am a proponent of keeping consistency with the shift and limit rotations in and around the protectee as much as possible. Often times when you are dealing with officers, even if using them for static duty, there is an issue with how many days they are available and what days they are available due to days off and availability. In the past where I have used officers for specific duties like: static post, working mag tunnels at special events, surveillance at events etc, I always assign someone with their scheduling alone. In my own personal experience I have used officers in DC for static posts and they were very undisciplined when it came to post integrity, leaving the event to get something to drink. That one event about 7 years ago opened my eyes to the fact that they did not take the detail seriously. It was 4 days of babysitting. One individual was on break and came to the CP and took a nap. When I exited the elevator and walked the corridor to the CP I could hear him snoring all the way down the hallway. The reason? He had just finished his midnight tour of duty.

From a personal perspective when I deal with a new client that makes a request like the above I immediately go into expertise and consultation mode. I cordially ask them why are the requesting officers specifically. I then explain to them everything above in order to educate them. In many cases they understand but if I get push back and that they are committed to using police, I have 2 options, gather up untrained police to work the detail or walk away. For me ALL MONEY IS NOT GOOD MONEY and I will back out. You can never afford to allow a client to dictate your protective principals. If you chase the $$ and dummy down your principals you are asking for problems. You’ll get away with it once, maybe twice, btu eventually that greed will catch up to you.

In closing, I am not saying that police are not equipped to do this job. In fact, according to Guyron Barnes, LAPD has a surplus of executive protection trained officers who are readily available to work part-time. Guyron lives in EP Heaven, because that is the exception to the rule. In many cases the only officers trained are those State Troopers that protect the Governor of their states or the county executives by the county police. The exceptions would be those that have taken courses on their own dime.

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