When researching or shopping for protective services it’s likely that you’ve come across two popular terms that may seem synonymous. Read about some of the key differences between Executive Protection (EP) & Bodyguarding and learn how to determine if you’re getting the appropriate type of protection for your needs and risks.
It goes without saying that an Executive Protection Agency should be led by professionals with years of relevant experience. Executive Protection is a highly specialized skill set that requires years of practical experience, and often hundreds, if not thousands of hours of formal training and education to achieve mastery of the craft.
Agency leaders must be formally trained in the full-scope of Executive Protection principles to effectively manage high-quality EP operations. Professional certifications are often a great way to support a leader’s level of expertise and display their dedication to continued education.
When choosing an Executive Protection firm, it is important to ensure the firms under your consideration have experience providing the specific type of protection you require. All EP agencies will offer general close protection services and bodyguards, however, not all will be truly capable of performing the other common specialties at high levels.
Examples of other specialties include Residential Executive Protection, Celebrity Protection, Executive Travel Protection, Corporate Protection, and Covert Protection.
An agency’s training program must have relevance, in that it supports real day-to-day protective operations. Training to shoot through vehicle windshields is much more exciting than studying appropriate doses of medications for a heart attack or an allergic reaction. Statistically speaking, which situation is an Agent more likely to encounter? Professional Agents possess a wide range of abilities that encompass both “the hard skills”, i.e. hand-to-hand combatives, defensive driving, or maybe, shooting through windshields; and “the soft skills” like, emotional intelligence, etiquette, or conflict resolution. A professional agency supports those competencies with structured and regular in-house training.
The EP agencies in your consideration should have a well-designed training & development program for their agents. A quality program will include general overviews of protection operations; which include current industry trends and updates, best practices, and basic information agents need to be effective during day-to-day operations. It will also cover the layers of security and how they work together to ultimately reduce risk for protectees. Continuous specific skills training is necessary for providing the highest quality protective solutions, knowledge of non-verbal cues, pre-attack indicators, advanced first aid, verbal persuasion, defensive tactics, and protective firearms use are some of the most important examples of perishable skills that must be trained annually at a minimum.
An Executive Protection Firm can not exist without a network of highly skilled professionals actually carrying out each protection detail. Some signs of highly effective EP Agents are maturity, integrity, emotional intelligence, calm under pressure, decisiveness, and professionalism; and these are but a small fraction of the list.
Most commonly, prior to entering the EP profession, many agents serve as Law Enforcement Officers, Military Personnel, and/or nightlife Security. These can all be excellent launching pads to very successful careers in Executive Protection. However, none of these alone, qualify an individual to perform quality close protection operations.
Verification of agent licensure is an essential part of selecting an executive protection firm. Both armed and unarmed agents must be licensed in their state to legally conduct security and protection operations. Common topics covered during state licensure include; Legal Aspects of Private Security, Role of Private Security Officers, Security Officer Conduct, Principles of Communications, Observation and Incident Reporting, Safeguarding Information, Physical Security, Interviewing Techniques, Emergency Preparedness, Safety Awareness, and Medical Emergencies.
Contracting an unlicensed or uninsured agency to conduct protective services will expose you to extreme levels of avoidable risk and liability. Verifiable licensure is the most critical consideration when shopping for a close protection security provider. A firm should have all required licenses for operating a security or investigative agency within each state they originate services.
Further, an agency’s insurance policy must meet or exceed the minimum general liability coverage. In addition to verifying an agency’s licensure and appropriate insurance coverage, it’s also essential to verify that the agents being tasked with carrying out protective operations are fully licensed to do so within the operations locale.
Complete knowledge of, and compliance with, federal, state, and local laws are also a prime consideration. Enlisting the services of an agency incapable or unwilling to operate within the confines of applicable laws is another way to be exposed to unnecessary and avoidable risk.
Unprofessional agencies have been known to operate without necessary licenses and insurance, hire unlicensed and unskilled agents, and offer services they have little or no expertise conducting in the interests of cutting costs and maximizing revenue.
We hope you feel better prepared to protect yourself, your assets, and your investments by knowing what to look for in a quality Security & Protection provider.