The dreaded halls and walls post. That’s the internal feeling many get when they are assigned to that post. There is a stigma to the halls and walls “static” post. Mostly that it is always assigned to the new guy or the place where you put those specialists that you do not want in the view of the client or the public. In the view of many seasoned specialists it can be a hazing situation because they feel that they are above be secluded in the quietude of some lonely portal. But I have come to know the halls and walls and a character builder. The Halls and Walls post varies from detail to detail. It could be watching an office hallway, back of the house at a venue, or even the hotel floor where the principal is residing. The name Halls and Walls is a Post, nothing more nothing less, but it has been given a bad name and in doing so lessened its importance. I have seen specialist look like their souls were sucked out of them when they get any rotation of the halls and walls.
First, let me get this one point out- NO ONE is too experienced to work halls and walls. Personally I will rotate in the “Push’ and pull that post on it’s regular rotation. Leaders should lead by example, and I never ask any specialist to do a task that I haven’t done NOR that I won’t still do. Most new specialists want to be near what they perceive as the action. Action being the place where there is human interaction and they can be seen and known as an integral part of the detail. But I will opine that the halls and walls post is just as important as any other facet of the detail.
First, the mere fact that H&W’s is a post means that during the initial assessment or protective advance it was determined that this post, no matter how desolate it appears, was an important piece of the overall security of the detail. No one should ever forget that in the midst of pouting while you catch yourself counting tiles and evaluating the architecture. We give post orders so that the specialist pulling that post knows exactly what the purpose of the post is and there is no guesswork as to what the ROE’s [rules of engagement] are. Otherwise you are just a body hanging around waiting for any glimpse of life, a radio transmission or watching the clock tick slowly away until the next push. I added some jocularity here, but there will be times that you have to fight the urge to drift off into lah lah land and fight the mental capacity to drift off mentally. Forcing yourself to focus on the post, its responsibility builds a vigilant character. If a specialist sees the post as unimportant he/she will drift off mentally. Given the same post in the sandbox, you’ll get a different outlook. View all posts as important.
The new H&W’s specialist will quickly learn how to distinguish who belongs in that area as well as an interrogative personality that comes with challenging persons approaching. “Can I or may I help you?” is the normal challenge and response dialogue that is initiated by the specialist. The response by the person entering the post initiates the security mindset of the specialist. That being said, there is a level of personality that is needed when engaging someone that you may ultimately tell they can not proceed and further. Believe it or not, but most complaints come from the interactions with post standers than any other aspect of the detail. Sure, there may be overall complaints about how security measures slow down the flow of people coming in or moving about, but that’s a complaint of the funneling or channeling that we implement, but the one-on-one interaction is where a specific complaint can be levied against a specific person. That being said, leadership should be mindful of who is posted where and when.
Leadership should be mindful that these halls and walls posts can kill morale and attentiveness if not managed properly. We do hourly pushes, meaning every hour on the hour, post standers shift to another post. Normally after 3 or 4 pushes the post standers lands on a sitting post or a break. The rotation gives everyone a different spacial view and avoids getting stale and losing focus. Many times the new post may have a different ROE or responsibility that makes the specialist refocus and recompute his/her purpose specific to the new post. Push’s reinvigorate the mind and mental capacity of the specialist. In many aspects moving from post to post can be similarly viewed in the same way as the close in team views site to site.
My very first traveling detail as a fledgling Vance Executive Protection agent was in Naples, Florida. My first responsibility on my first traveling detail was watching the halls and walls of office space rented in the Ritz Carlton by the client. My shift was 1900-0700. I was convinced that the detail leader wanted to see how much I wanted “IT”. After 5 days of pulling this shift, the detail leader had a different outlook of me as I did of myself. There was NO human interaction for the 12 hour shift and it was tough staying focused when my body was telling me it was bed time. I learned quickly how to stay focused and maintain the integrity of the post. There was no push, there was no change in scenery, NOTHING. Even at my earliest stage of my career, I recognized the importance of the Push and to this day I feel the push keeps the integrity of the posts and the specialists mindset.
Today’s blog was inspired after I viewed this picture yesterday on Elijah Shaw’s Facebook Page and some of the comments, that halls and walls still possess a bad reputation. Halls and walls are not dungeons and dragons but are a integral part of the overall security. Setting up the posts properly coupled with a proper push builds character and integrity of every specialist on a detail. A critical way to change the prejudice of the halls and walls is if the leadership of the detail sets them up properly and treats them as such.