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Personal Protection: The Team
by Jim Myers, P.P.S. (Class 10, Advanced Class 1)

If you are active in personal protection, you may eventually find yourself on a team or charged with the responsibility of setting up a team for an assignment in protecting one or more principals.

Having had the challenging task of setting-up several protection details from scratch, it has become apparent that nothing really is as it seems.Somewhere along the line you may have heard the expression, "Expect the unexpected." This is most true when a call comes at 10 or 11 p.m. and you are asked what you are doing for the next couple of weeks and if you could catch a plane the next day to some location in another state. The caller states, "No, I really can't tell you more than what I know, and I've already told you that." Then, it's up to you to go and find out what the situation really is.

As your team assembles, usually from several different states, it quickly is evident that no one knows any more than you. Also, it is likely that the team members are all strangers to one another. If you are lucky, all the team members will be N.L.A. trained and have their heads on straight. A very common problem quickly raises its head, and you realize that no one else knows what's going on either. My experience has been that neither the principal or the principal's employer is really prepared for your assignment and/or doesn't think your services are necessary.

Many times, the team members have only worked on established details which are on-going and everyone knows what to expect. A hastily arranged protection detail necessitated by some overnight threat does not allow for that luxury. This is a fact that must be understood and dealt with. It's the real world and will separate the professional from the non very quickly. All the lessons learned on detail assignments during the N.L.A. course quickly come into play and you realize that attacking one problem at a time is necessary and really does work; interviewing the principal, taking care of advance preparations, making team assignments, and on and on. Be prepared for the problems to multiply if there is more than one principal to be protected. Also, there will be necessary arrangements for the team itself in determining what's needed in the way of accommodations, number of team members, automobiles, communications, etc.

It is important to understand that all of the above mentioned problems, or challenges must be, and can be dealt with. Two of the biggest problems, though, are in getting people who can work on the team and who can then work within the team. Believe it, it's harder than you might think. One must be prepared to make a quick and decisive decision when asked to participate on an assignment, since time is critical and the one having to call around to find team members must move on to someone else if you can't make up your mind. Also, it's important to keep at least one credit card with enough available credit to get by on until funds are available to the team for reimbursement. Sometimes, we just have to "make do."

In January of this year, I, and several other N.L.A. members had the task of protecting two principals from threats of a terminated employee for a large corporation. All of the problems mentioned above came into play, but the ten-day assignment was successful, mainly because everyone was able to work together. Many thanks to Julio Melo (Class 10), Scott Kempkens (Class 27), Marc Mazzeri (Class 34), and Robert Galeone (Instructor).

Copyright © 2003, Executive Protection Institute