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Wheels and band aids over bullets and blades

Most of my blog readers know my background and history in this industry and are familiar with my view of EP schools. I have been vocal on the indutsry’s leadership, and the lack thereof. Over the past month or so I have been really digging into the weeds about the PROCESS of the specialist in order to fortify his/her credibility in this highly populated craft. Most if not all aspiring specialists come to the door looking for the best EP school for them that will:

  1. Priced commensurate to their available funds coupled with the logistics of traveling etc
  2. Teach them everything they need to know about executive protection
  3. prepare them in a way that they are marketable in a very competitive industry

Their decision as to the school in many cases is based off of word of mouth and/or recommendations of specialists in the industry. I have spoken to other specialist that have attended schools based on the marketing prowess of the school and when they did a google search that school and additional information about it seemed to mean it was the best to attend. Their website lured them into, “This must be the place.” That’s generally how it goes down.

After they complete the school they stir the pot regarding what is the next training evolution to further exploit the system and make themselves more noticeable. Again, they go back to their trusted colleagues and the internet and start the process again. The majority are drawn to weapoms training and little to none get to the real training that you are more than likely to use than a gun: The driving and the medical. This blog is about the former.

I have not hidden the fact that over the last 3 to 4 months I have interacted with Tony Scotti, however in no way has he or I spoken about this blog. In speaking with him as well as Larry Snow a light went off in my head that I want to share. I have stated before that the industry is too focused on weapons training. I am in no way saying that weapons training is not important, because it is. BUT, we treat protective driving and medical training as add-ons, when in fact, both of them should probably be taken possibly before the EP School. This is NOT an ad or marketing ploy for anyone, but rather a common sense realization of what really is important. As adults, we use our cars for everything and no matter if you have a concealed carry weapons permit, you have a driver’s license. If you don’t have a driver’s license you aren’t reading this anyway, however everyone in this craft will in one way or another be driving in some capacity and that’s a fact.

Let’s take away the craft for a moment and deal with the individuals that comprise the industry. Unless you were military or law enforcement or an avid hunter, many would not be weapons fanatics, yet most if not all would be driving a car and possibly surrounded by family and/or friends that may need some form of medical attention. We all have experienced the drunk uncle choking off the hot dog at the family cookout or the child with the sprained ankle. But when was the last time you had to defend yourself with a weapon. Of the examples I’ve given driving a car is an everyday part of our lives.

So what am I saying? We need to stop treating these 2 vital training platforms [protective driving & medical] as ADD-ONS and in some cases possibly as prerequisites. If we use the USSS as a model, then you should know this. Every agent, whether he is on PPD or assigned to a field office goes through a protective driving course before he graduates and becomes an Agent. The guys in PPD attend an advanced course. The message here is driving is instilled at the beginning. Why not here?

Those specialists that have already entered the craft without either, you should really think about this before you attend the next Annie Oakley shooting course and those who read this blog thinking about entering the craft should seriously think of investing in both of them before you attend your first EP course. Having one if not both under your belt when you successfully complete your EP School puts you higher on the list of qualifications. Steering wheel and band aids over bullets and blades.

3 comments

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  1. Rick Colliver

    How right you are! I always point out that twice as many police officers and US Secret Service agents have been killed in motor vehicle accidents as by gunfire. And, statistically, if your Protectee is under the age of 45, they are far more likely to be killed in a traffic crash than any other form of death.

    I try to keep an open mind about the myriad of protection schools out there but when someone tells me that they want to go to a 3-day school and they have to have a minimum of 750 rounds of ammo…uh…do the math. It’s a shooting school, not a protection school!

    I’ve been working Protection since 1977 (well one college NROTC detail for President Ford in 1974), and have not drawn a firearm within the context of any detail. However, I have administered first aid and modified motorcade routes to miss traffic or other obstacles, dozens of times. Finally, when you’re OCONUS, unless you’re on official government business, you can’t take your gun with you anyway, and if you pick one up locally, you’re probably in violation of the host’s laws. Training is necessary, but expensive…so, spend your money wisely!

  2. Rex

    I wrote my response, and shared it on FB, you certainly hit the nail on the head about specialist entering the field without the knowledge, I call them self appointed experts, Law Enforcement is full of them, and every time they talk, it becomes a embarrassment to them.
    I have known some great instructors, Such as the Late SGT. Robert Phillips of the Calif, Highway Patrol, Senior Instructor Joe MeDowell, Robert Richter,and Mike Robb of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, who have a never ending quest for knowledge, of all types of advanced driving, and course Tony Scotti, whose dedication is unequaled.
    Thanks for the Blog it was, and is need to be discussed much more.

  3. Tom

    Eric,
    Well said! My 2cents I’ve been involved in this business for a long time. The schools do a very good job of doing what they do best TEACH. I have found that your reputation is everything, this comes from my start with U.S.M.C. Embassy School, followed with 12 years full time with Columbus, Ohio Police S.W.A.T, 6 years protecting two Mayors and family members,I retired 8 years ago I’m still working contract Details, and for 2 private family’s. I’m still teaching firearms that I believe is still a very important part of E.P. but it’s just that. Medical training for what ever reason seems to take a back seat! One of my first questions during my interview with anyone I protect is,I need to be aware of any medical problems you or any member of the family has. This has helped me and my clients several times working a detail.

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