Hiring Bodyguards/Personal Protection Officers
You do not want the type of “Bodyguard” portrayed by Hollywood. The movie version is probably not the kind you need protecting you. The bodyguard industry uses titles like “Personal Protection Officer”, “Executive Protection”, “VIP Protection”, or “Personal Security”.
Services pertaining to the bodyguard industry include but not limited to:
- VIP’s Protection
- Executive Protection
- Concert Tours
- Celebrity Protection
- Entertainment Industry
- Dignitary Detail
- Political Rally’s
- Family Protection
- Private Estates
- Personal and Private Escorts
- Jewelry and other Transport Protection
- Assets Protection
- Personal Security for Private Gatherings
- Book Signings
- Special Events
- Business Meetings
- Corporate Lay-offs
- Security Consulting
- Religious/Church Protection
Educate Yourself About Bodyguards
Educate yourself about the range of available services. Bodyguards are more than big guys with guns. Top security professionals are likely to have specialized driving skills, weapons training, risk avoidance skills and medical training.
Many full-service security companies offer training courses for clients. This is a good way to understand potential risks and enhance your security.
Use the Internet for your state or city’s private security regulator commission or department and learn what credentials “Bodyguard” or “Personal Protection Officer” are required to have. Potential bodyguards will need this license in order to work for you. A proper and current license protects the bodyguard and most importantly it protects you the Client. That said, do not assume that a “Bodyguard” license from any state is in and of itself a good indicator. Follow the “Tips” below when interviewing a potential Personal Protection Officer.
The Principal: is the person or persons being protected by bodyguards.
The Candidate: is the potential bodyguard or bodyguard company being interviewed.
Bodyguard: is the person or persons protecting the Principal.
Personal Protection Officer: same as bodyguard above.
Detail: describes the the group of bodyguards protecting the Principal.
Keep your expectations realistic, proper “Personal Protection Officers” are professionals. Look for “Executive Protection” who are proactive like the Secret Service agents, clean cut, educated, articulate, and intelligent professionals. Contrast these professionals with the stereotypical thugs working for paparazzi celebrities. These types of “bodyguards” usually lack any kind of personal protection training and often work as bouncers or bounty hunters “sidelining” as bodyguards lacking any kind of specialized VIP training.
Review your bodyguard candidates professional certificates to verify they are up to date and current.
If you have any doubt contact your state or city’s private security regulator commission or department to verify your applicants status.
If you candidate will have access to sensitive or private information ask the candidate to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before discussing your needs.
Ensure your candidates are graduates of a Government Protective Services or Private Executive Protection course from:
- State Bureau’s
- Texas Dept. of Public Safety Private Security Board
- Federal Training (does not guarantee they have a local or state license to bodyguard).
- United States Secret Service
- US Dept. of State’s Diplomatic Security Service
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
- US Army Military Police School (USAMPS)
- US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID)
- US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
- US Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI)
- British Special Air Service (SAS)
- Private training from recognized and respected civilian executive protection schools (does not guarantee they have a local or state license to bodyguard).
- 21st Century Security Training
- Kobetz (Executive Protection Int’l)
- R.L. Oatman
- Vance Int’l
- The Steele Foundation
Just because someone has been in the military or law enforcement, does not mean they have the right training and skills to perform protection services. For a example a traffic officer does not have the protection training required to become a Protection Specialist.
Using Off-Duty Police Officers as Bodyguards
Off-duty police officers are good for protection when used in conjunction with bodyguards. They also add value to the detail by minimizing unexpected law enforcement issues if and incident occurs. Using ONLY off-duty police officers is NOT the best choice for Personal Protection. Off-duty police officers and other licensed commissioned law enforcement personnel are by law obligated to abandon the “Principal” they are protecting if they see a felony or misdemeanor being committed. If an off-duty police officer does not intercede when they see a misdemeanor or felony being committed they will more than likely loose their law enforcement credentials. This includes officers with bodyguard training and certifications. The off-duty officer can not protect the Principal by removing them from the area without potentially compromising their law enforcement credentials. This leaves the “Principal” completely exposed to danger. Bodyguards/Personal Protection Officers are ONLY obligated to protect the “Principal”. When using off-duty police officers as bodyguards use them in conjunction with non-police bodyguards.
Interviewing Bodyguards/Personal Protection Officers
When interviewing the candidate look for experience, and ask for examples of how the candidate has demonstrated security skills including, but not limited to, the following:
- conducting advance work preparing for trips and events ahead of time
- choreography (standing, walking and moving in and out of vehicles with your or your client
- quick and effective countermeasures dealing with attacks or security threats if they materialize
- specialized driving skills and driving
- firearms training
- executive self-defense training
A good Personal Protection Officer will also interview the Principal. They will ask questions that are meant to make the candidate aware of any potential dangers with regards to the Principal. This kind or information will help decrease the chances of an incident.
Ask the candidate about the clients they have protected. If the candidate gives you a list of names, those names would likely be okay. However if a candidate starts revealing personal or private information it is possible that they are violating non-disclosure and confidentiality statements they agreed to. Good bodyguards are careful about divulging private information about former clients, and will find a way for you to verify their claims without violating confidentiality agreements.
Bodyguard Hiring Tips
Two types of bodyguards.
- Discreet – low profile
- Overt – highly visible
If you are looking for discreet bodyguards hire the ones that can blend-in to your lifestyle. Can they dress and act like you and the people around you?
If you are looking for overt security that are very visible they should be professional and dressed appropriately for the situation and environment.
Look for these traits in your candidates:
- Attention to Detail
Avoid hiring people with big egos or overly gung-ho or combative attitudes. These types can actually make close protection more difficult.
Be wary of websites or brochures that has images of rough looking Bouncers, Ninjas, Samurai, “Secret Agents” or have gun violence on every page.