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Trooper Entitlement – Agent Invincible

This will be the last time I blog about the recent USSS scandal in Cartegena, Colombia, but I wanted to talk about the mindset that occurs from having Federal, State and local government powers.  As you all know I was a Trooper with the Maryland State Police.  During my time when you completed the Academy you possessed a sense of power that you could do anything and that anything was expected to be granted to you once people saw that gold badge.  When I started interacting with the federal agencies with Task Force cases I clearly saw the same phenomenon with many of my counterparts.

After a full day of working undercover or surveillance, the group that was going off duty usually go together for drinks.  Not bad you say?  Yea, until you add in the fact that for the most part we used our agency vehicles and in many cases some left with a BAC above the law’s limit.  “We are the police and nothing is going to happen.” was the code.  In fact, we were all in violation and risked losing our jobs.  Having the UC’s and surveillance teams altogether was another violation.  All it would have took was to have a suspect walk in and put us all together.  We were “off duty” yet we were still bound by the rules and regulations of our independent departments and agencies.

Once a year all of the Undercover officers and federal agents got together for a huge conference in Virginia Beach under a cover name.  This conference was set to interact on new UC procedures and laws.  In fact, every year Federal prosecutors attended to give sessions on evidence handling, title 3 wire taps, search and seizure as well other admissible undercover operations.  This was the INTENT of the 3 day conference, but the unwritten purpose was to party and partying was what we did.  The majority of the officers and agents carried on like a bunch of frat boys on spring break.  It got so bad that the conference center forbid our return the following year.

One year in particular, the after hours events were so rowdy that the hotel/conference center called the local police.  Badges were flashed and the local PD left without incident. This is the nexus of the issue that occurred in Colombia.  Long hours, hard work and the badge are a cocktail for disaster for the undisciplined.  The alleged behavior in Colombia rings too familiar to me.  This is no different than the Navy’s Tailhook issue.  We all know it’s wrong but the Entitlement/Invincible mindset prevails.

Now let me bring it all home for us.  Some specialists [not all] take our position in the security society in the same way.  The former law enforcement specialist and many former military guys bring the invincible mindset to the industry.  Work hard play hard has to be done with limitations.  Unlike, law enforcement, when we are off [not off on an active detail, but in between details] we are not necessarily bound by a sworn responsibility.  If a police officer is off and gets arrested for DWI, he has to face the court system as well as his department’s administrative policies.  In fact, the department can use the outcome of the court case as further leverage in his administrative hearings.  This is NOT double jeopardy, it is the policy.  The executive protection specialist can do the same and would only face the results of any criminal proceedings.  The companies that he works for can decide if their internal policies would allow him to work further when the next detail comes up.  For BPI, depending on the charge it would dictate the outcome.

I treat traveling details in a way that even if you are off your shift, you are still on the detail.  All behavior affects the reputation of the client/protectee and BPI Security.  I get alot of kick back for that rule, but I am comfortable with it.  No one is exempt from it under my flag.  I don’t patrol the bars after hours but it normally gets back eventually.

I only blogged about this today to give you an expert’s insight on how this can happen and what you don’t want to do.  These are all probably great personnel who let the entitlement/invincible mindset get them in the jackpot.

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