Most people in the security industry know what executive protection is. Even a lot of people outside the industry understand what it is, it’s pretty much a service provided to high profile clientele who have security concerns. They hire out companies to provide them close protection, and it goes by other names such as close protection, personal protection, in some cases, bodyguards.
What is executive protection?
There are two different types of executive protection. One is where they protect the person themselves. And there’s also residential security, which I think kind of falls under that umbrella as well where they protect the residence of the person. Executive protection has different scales. It can be small, and some are high-level. Small usually have one to two personal bodyguards, and there is a high-level executive protection where VIPs or government officials hire private companies for protection.
A good executive protection companies usually have 14 teams. They will go into locations ahead of time to scout the best place for whatever the client wants to do or plan. Whether it’s eating or an activity and then we’ll go and forward and scout locations ahead of time to see which will meet ther security needs.
Another thing that they do is they have armored vehicles. These are like the classic black Chevy Tahoes that you see in movies. Armored vehicles come in all shapes and sizes; there are SUVs, sedans, etc. One of the biggest companies is International Armored Vehicles. They specialize in providing armored vehicles for government and executive protection.
A lot of companies also have intelligence gathering where they can research threats against the client. These are all kind of components of executive protection, a lot of them behind the scenes that a lot of people tend not to see. But they all work well to serve the clients and whatever their security needs are.
Bodyguards tend to be a little bit different because they tend to live with their protectees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. They may live in the house or an adjacent house, whereas most executive protection teams tend to go home, and they worked on a shift basis where they’ll work so many hours and then go home and then come back the next day.
For a duration of time, it could be one day could be six months. And this is kind of where bodyguards tend to be a little different than your standard executive protection.
Bodyguards tend to live with their protectee versus executive protection agents tend to work on a shift basis.
How do you become an executive protection agent?
There are two kinds of different parts to it -the regulatory and the practical. When it comes to regulations, executive protection is regulated at the state level, which means that the state sets whatever parameters you want to operate as an executive protection agent or company.
Agents have different levels of security license in level two, level three, and level four, which is classified as personal protection. In the state of Texas, you need a level four license to do so. You will need an armed security license given up by the state police and then also a concealed weapons permit given up by the same agency. It is highly advised to look into your state regulations to determine what you need to do to be able to operate in that type of capacity. That’s regulatory. Practical, on the other hand, is very difficult to get legit executive protection work. Most executive protection companies want guys who have experience whether that is in the private sector or whether that’s from a military or law enforcement background, but they tend to want experience.
Now there are schools that you can go to that will teach you a lot of the trade and parts of doing the type of VIP and executive protection work. Since there isn’t a regulatory agency that oversees the legitimacy of these schools, you need to make sure that what you’re getting what you pay for and not the person teaching the course. Has a real-world understanding of how executive protection and bodyguard services work.
However, a lot of times, school isn’t going to be enough. Again, most companies are going to want real-world experience, and the question is, how do you get real-world experience?
Without getting a real job, you’re going to have to do a low level or bottom of the barrel jobs and kind of start building up your resume and references to get better clients or get picked up by a company that wants to hire you as an executive protection agent. Be very wary of companies that state that they perform executive protection services, most of them don’t. There are few companies in some states that offer real personal protection or clothes protection services. There aren’t that many, and most people advertising either embellished actual jobs that they’ve done or they don’t offer the service at all. But they have it up on their website as pretty much something that they can boost the reputation with.It is highly recommended to research into companies. If you’re going in for what appears to be an exit, kind of like an executive protection type job, you need to ask a lot of questions like what type of training their personnel to have, and quite a few others. So you need to do due diligence because we don’t want to see anyone get scammed by a school or take a job. This is an overview of this industry as a whole and some more general expectations.
Desiree Macy is the Editorial Director of SIA Online Magazine which is frequented by security executives, corporate security officers, and private protection professionals each month. Desiree’s interests revolves around cyber-security, and business continuity.