The Executive Protection base operations is usually a team effort and comprised of drivers, advances, multiple team members and leads. In the most sophisticated, you can add analyst and cyber teams creating a concentric web to mitigate risk.
In today’s environment however, many principals prefer a single protection officer. This gentleman uses a “jack-of-all-trades” functionality for the detail. His is the task of managing the needs of the protectee, going beyond the basic coverage.
We have all been told that one is none and two is one, but what happens when your principal wants a lower profile, or no matter how much you advise, they only want a singleton. How do we cover every angle, while keeping a watchful eye on the situation?
There’s really no acts of random violence. Criminals look for patterns and predictability of movements. And in some cases, this involves a venue in which they understand the clientele, and have done multiple scenarios in their head.
As one riot, one Ranger, the specialists job is to make movements as unpredictable as possible. Sometimes take the stairs, sometimes take the elevator. If the principal has a favorite store, don’t always use the same path. Leave and return at different access points and varying times if you frequent the same locations.
Use reflections and mirrors to watch avenues of approach or prescreen your next route. Pay attention to who may be watching you, covering down while you’re in the store.
While your client may be predictable, you don’t have to be. Vary your proximity to your principal, closer when in crowds, and give adequate space in an open environment (situation dictates). As in observation, if I am closer to the object, I obscure my ability to see around and take in multiple environmental factors.
You do not want to have blinders on in solo protection. In my experience, I have seen newly minted protection agents staring at the principal, when in fact they should be paying attention to the surroundings. Consider the technique taught in observation of ground, with the principal coming into view in an overlapping manner, a technique taught during SOTIC. Again, your environment will dictate where your primary concentration should be.
Things to consider:
- Check reflections and shadows
- Multiple sightings of the same person(s) or vehicle over the course of a day
- Individuals who pace around the same venues as you
- If in an eating establishment and a person doesn’t eat or leaves when you do
- Know where your exits are and where they lead
- Use your back to the wall as often and operationally as possible
- What If – Go through multiple scenarios in your mind; pros and cons of your actions, what will the principal do, what will the perpetrators do…..
Understanding the challenges of this occupation, being certain of ones acts is key, and no one wants to be “chicken little”…the sky is falling, know when to speak with your principal and trust your gut.
Communications with Principal:
- If you suspect you’ve walked into a criminal ring, or you’re at the very least being followed, calmly find a way to communicate without alarming your principal or the threat, as this may escalate either of their actions.
- Do not confront any of the individuals or give them the idea that you have noticed their demeanor
- Depending on your protocols, inform others of your location and movements, and contact the authorities. (know your safe-havens and linkup procedures)
- Keep In Memory (KIM) Game – If you never played it, or don’t know what it is, now is a good time to learn. Know the details of your assailants. (but don’t forget you have a phone as well)
Head to Toe Scan as you Go
Describe Suspect – Make a note of anything you can remember about:
- Facial Hair
*A thought that can certainly be addressed with the protectee beforehand, is another protection agent in close proximity, shadowing your moves, ready in the event you need assistance.