Preparing to work alone

The last 2 days were not intended to scare you, or give you inhibitions about working alone, but it was intended as a reality check of the industry.  Here it is: You have more of a chance working alone under the conditions that I wrote about in the last 2 days than you will in a 7 man multi-car motorcade detail.  So why not prepare for that possibility.  To date, I know of only one school that is specifically training for the one man detail.  It is the Best practices by the solo practioner course by Tony Scotti.  I have not spoken to Mr. Scotti about this course however he truly understands the industry by catering to the real possibilities that you will encounter.

There are measures and things you can do to prepare yourself for every time you will operate alone.  These suggestions are not all encompassing but will set a standard template that will help you deal with any possible curve balls or hurdles thrown in your path.

  1. Request from your company sufficient time to do all facets of protective advance work.  For the sake of this category I am including route planning and route security.  The protective advance work will make or break you once you go “HOT”.  Arriving at any location in the blind is asking for trouble at the highest levels.  I am not speaking about an off the record movements here.  I am referring specifically to those places that you know you will be taking your principal.  There are specialists out there that will not risk their reputation working any detail that they are not allowed to do protective advance work.  Their reputation means more than making $300+ a day.  From a specialists perspective I get that.
  2. Always contact the POC’s [point of contact].  In many, many cases you will not meet the principal until the day of the OP.  In lieu of that, your POC is always the next best thing.  He/she knows the principal as well as has some level of understanding of the day’s agenda.  The other POC’s that should be contacted are the ones at the venues you will be visiting.  When you speak to the client POC you can procure any other POC that they have been dealing with.  There are also times when you have to make you own POC.  For instance, clients rarely if ever have any contact with security managers at hotels and venues.  Those are the ones that you have to make on your own.  Heads of security can get you access to things and areas that an event POC can not.
  3. Walk the phase lines of the event in each venue or event.  This is almost like an internal route plan of the venue.  Always have CMP’s [crisis management pathways].  Those are the auxiliary avenues you will use under a crisis or duress.  Identify and know your safe rooms, green rooms and holds and identify who will be in them if and when you have to enter them.  There is nothing worse than taking your protectee in a green or hold before they go on stage or in a meeting to speak and there are staffers in there eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches dipping them in hummus.
  4. Always identify your driver EARLY.  If you don’t remember anything I have written here, mark #4 on your hand.  A non security driver is the weakest link on the detail.  Moreover, just because someone has attended a protective driving course does NOT mean they understand the ins and outs of protection protocols outside of the victor,  AGAIN, just because someone has successfully completed a protective driver course does NOT automatically mean they know or understand the ins and outs of a protection detail.  Yea they can tell you the difference between a yaw mark and a skid, but do not give them an automatic pass that they know everything you are doing.  Get them started on the route planning and route security, with an understanding that you will want at the least a primary and secondary route plan.  Do not settle for less.  For me, not having a secondary route and break out points from the primary to secondary route is trouble in the making.  Word to the wise, if you are using a non security driver you will have to take control of this matter early in the engagement.  They will swear they know what they are doing and short cut the process.  Take control
  5. Run through the day’s event in your head when you have down time a day before you go “Hot”.  You don’t want to be digging in your pockets while you are operating trying to figure out what is next.  Flipping through pages of an itinerary is not a good look.  If you have a problem with memorizing alot of information, use 3×5 cards with bullet points that you can slip in your pocket and discreetly take a look when it is safe to do so.

These items will help you prepare for the solo detail and make your job easier to concentrate on protection and not overwhelm yourself with unrelated items.

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