“The most comprehensive EP course I’ve taken……”

man-surprised-The most comprehensive EP course I’ve taken, where the instructors combine science with years of application and real time global experience. While relatively running underneath the radar, these United States Secret Service trained individuals represent graduate level training for those desiring to enter the industry on a solid foundation.

James Wright, former chief of police and recent MODAD Threat Management Solutions [MTMS] graduate

Those were my thoughts, in April 2014, when I completed MODAD’s Threat Management Solutions Close-in Personnel Protection Specialist five-day course in Columbia, Maryland. The primary instructor, Mark Fair, is a member of the Boanerges Group. This course was the first step, in what I believe to be many, for me. Now that I have had the opportunity to digest the course content and material by synthesis, analysis,  application, comprehension, knowledge, and finally, evaluation, I wanted to memorialize my time there and commit pen to paper or in our technologically advanced world, send a text message.
To date, this is the most comprehensive course that I’ve taken relative to the craft; it was packed with potency. The breath and the depth of the information covered in the curriculum is astounding to say the least. There is a tremendous amount of information covered and the instructors are tacticians. It is like a ride on Southwest Airlines – no frills, no fluff and worth the airfare. After my first day, I mentioned to a past participant and alumni, you don’t know what you don’t know. I came to learn and see how the protective advance work (PAW) is the wheel or the centerpiece of the entire CIPPS. Eric Konohia’s Circuit article, ‘Has the advance become the at-glance‘ shed some additional light on the subject and certainly was important in completing the class exercise. Even from a law enforcement perspective, I can see in days past, while assigned to the mayor and commission detail, there were many things that I missed while carrying out my assignment. So to those that believe that just because you spent time in the military or served in law enforcement that you don’t need to attend a course…YOU DO! It is a course that challenges you to answer the hard questions; was I functioning as an EP specialist or was I just a cop? This course represents theory with years of practical application and real world experience. It’s one thing, in my mind, to read about a person of interest, it is another to be taken behind the iron curtain and get a glimpse, in real time, who that individual is and the ‘spirit‘ behind what they believe.  Mark and the Boanerges Group have shown me what it means to operate and function on a particular plane. The course also provided me with some additional insight into the thought process and dynamic personality of the individual who I asked to mentor me in this field of study. It brought me full circle to that which had been imparted, that which I have observed and our conversations over the past year including why this really isn’t a hobby for him. Collectively, the faith, the central belief system of the church or the group thought process is ‘The Protective Mindset.’
Just one day after I commited to memorialize my thoughts, I attended an event for a former president of a country located in the Western Hemisphere. He was the president of his country on two seperate occasions and someone who has met with the current United States President. I was asked to be there as a part of the envoy for the city that hosted the former dignitary. I saw no one that I was able to identify as an advanced specialist even though I arrived two hours prior to his arrival. Once the eight-car motorcade arrived, it stopped right in front of the location. Blocking the lead vehicle, on the public right away was someone’s personal vehicle. If there was an attack on the principal or if the motorcade was required to leave in a hurry, the entire motorcade would have had to back out of the location. As I’m watching from a two-story window where the other elected officials, consulate personnel, photographers, interpreters, and A-listers were staged, the detail brings the principal through the front of the building when there were clearly other routes to limit exposure. The principal enters the building, then elevator, walks in, we all stand and he greets each of us. I’m still looking for his security detail. As remarks are concluded before he makes his public appearance before a crowd of about 1,000 persons, he exits first, the entourage and they wait for the elevator. I took the stairs down just to see what this would look like exiting the elevator, it was no better. As I left the building, forgoing the public speech, I find the six-person security detail chopping it up, outside the venue, with local law enforcement. Maybe I’m wrong and he had no security.
Science, Art, or Religion?
Is our craft science, art or religion? Oftentimes people confuse science with art and think they are interchangeable; I thought they were. I discovered that science is more objective where art is more subjective. Here is what I deduced about the faith of The Boanerges Group: that 1) there is a standard that we have set in the industry for ourselves 2) there is a standard by which all persons in the industry should operate by and 3) that people in this craft should not continue to operate, for the rest of their lives, with the same mindset that they had before…and after they have taken the course.
Let me illustrate: Luke 5:36-39 NKJV36) then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37) And no one puts new wine into old wine skins; or else the new wine will burst the wine skins and be spilled, and the wine skins will be ruined. 38) But new wine must be put into new wine skins, and both preserved. 39) and no one having drunk old wine, immediately desire new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'”Jesus says this at a time when the religious thinkers around him are criticizing him for the behavior of his disciples. They are challenging him because his disciples were different from the disciples they were accustomed to (it doesn’t take all that, we know short cuts). They did not adhere to the traditions and philosophy that were popular at the time. Jesus’ disciples (the Boanerges disciples) had a different mentality and different philosophy and Jesus did not apologize for their uniqueness. When you are different you get criticized. Jesus did not let the criticism deter him from his mission. Rather than succumb to the criticism, he challenged the religious leaders of that day to come up to the standard that he was teaching. Through various illustrations he begins to challenge them to understand that you can’t taken a garment that’s old and try to prepare it with new fabric. Because if you do that, in the process of time, it’s going to rip again because the garment is not prepared to hold both the old and new together because of the stretching (a lot of people don’t want to be stretched, don’t want to learn, they are comfortable in doing things the old way even if it’s wrong). The new garment and the old garment will not hold together because they are two different textures and have different experiences. What Jesus is saying is when you get something new don’t try to attach it to something old less you ruin the integrity of both things. In essence, the group challenges you to go beyond your thought process to explain why you do what you do and not to rely on your old thought pattern. I believe many in the industry today are at the place of …’ The old is better.’ In closing,

Be all in or get all out. There is no halfway in this industry.

1 comment

  1. Muhammad Bilal (Shadow)

    Excellent article and yes, I agree, many in our industry are stuck in the old way of doing things and some of us are doing it the way we were taught 100 years ago when we went thru that old EP course. We must continue to advance our education (most states require COE experience for license renewal). If we are comfortable with what we are doing in the protection arena and the missions start to become way too easy, we have to challenge ourselves by experiencing new TTP’s and other protection details if for nothing else, for comparison. I totally understand the biblical book of Luke, Chapter 5, Verses 36, 37 & 38, like buying a new car and putting your old tires on it. New tactics in the EP industry may evolve because new technology is evolving every day, we have threats we never dreamed of before. As for verse 39, the old is better – sounds to me like the phrase “well we’ve always done it this way

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