I hope my articles could be instrumental in helping the entry-level agent and also a simple, easy refresher for the seasoned professional. I also hope it makes the guys and girls who have “been there done that”, share some insight on tried and tested procedures. I will never call myself an expert in the field. I have associates and truly known professionals, who can and do run circles around me. I just want to share some of my Executive Protection experiences and how I handled certain situations, that others may learn from.
The Perfect World Executive Protection Advance
The primary reasons for advance work;
- Reduce your clients exposure
- Provide a safe area before your principals arrival
- Facilitate your clients time
I was extremely fortunate early on in my Executive Protection career that I was assigned to an international PSD team that was escorting a high ranking manufacturing executive. The team had several EP agents, armored SUVs, communication equipment and the full spectrum of what a text book EP detail should be loaded out with. Every week we were given our assignments and they consisted of anything from being the lead SUV security driver, PSO or assigned to the chase SUV. We even had enough agents that we could go out on a two man detail and advance locations that the principal would be visiting that week. When I was assigned to that task, it was game on. To me it was the most important part of being an EP agent. The system that worked for me is as follows. Like other forms of intelligence gathering, EP advance work is a multitude of facts that needs to be collected, studied and stored in the EP agents mind and or database.
- Thoroughly review the principals weekly schedule
- Meet with the principals personal assistant (it they have one) twice a week face to face, to go over every line item of the schedule and any changes
- Make sure I had all the necessary cell numbers, point of contacts, maps, GPS, laptop, camera, extra two-way radio and battery and any other equipment in my go bag (future articles will cover items I carried)
- Performed route surveys, documented check points along the way
- Plotted and inspected hospitals, medical clinics and dentists in the area
- I made contact with local law enforcement and as a courtesy told them we would be operating in the area
- Checked in on the local restaurants and hotels that the client and guests visited and made sure I built a strong relationship with them.
- Introduced myself to local vehicle repair centers, tire shops in the area of operation
- Once the advance was completed, a file was put together with photos, point of contacts and all other pertinent information
My advance team were able to cover a lot of ground, make great contacts and made sure my client was at the proper location, at the prescribed time and in a secure area with all of the rings of security covered. Job well done!
The Real World EP Advance
With the onset of 2008 and the financial crises that set in, all companies started taking stock of their expenditures, and finding ways of not only cutting budgets but saving companies. As with all security organizations attached to large companies, we are considered overhead and didn’t mean profit for them, (in my future article I will cover how an EP team can and does add value to the clients company). At this time I was assigned as the detail leader and was tasked with cutting the EP team’s budget and making it manageable with providing the same level of protection. I went from 10 full-time agents to 1 security driver by 2014. It was challenging, frustrating but at the same time, a great learning experience. So you may ask, how did I pull off doing advance work with one or two agents? Basically it was a very condensed version of the Perfect World EP Advance.
- I pulled all the advance files I had stored and loaded them into a thumb drive.
- Still met with the client’s personal assistant twice a week, and stressed and was able to get them on board about giving me real world updates electronically.
- With the assistance of a local agent, I was able to keep all the vehicles up to date on repairs.
- When the client was locked in meetings or a certain facility, I was able to keep one security driver on standby with him while I went out and advanced locations for that evening and the rest of the week.
- I fully took advantage of every hour in the day and after hours when the principal was home to check routes.
- On short notice when a schedule change came up or a last minute dinner was arranged, I was able to get to the location and vector to my agent when he was arriving with the client, even if the agent was not familiar with the area. I would be on the ground ready to meet the client.
Some items I like to reference when doing advance work.
“The Art of Executive Protection” by Bob Oatman. Great read and he is always available if you have questions.
“Executive Protection Specialist Handbook” by Jerry Glazebrook and Larry Nicholson. Good little check list and quick reminder for advance work.
AS Solution, ADVANCE app for smart phones. I just downloaded this free app and have been practicing with it. Very user friendly, able to load maps, GPS tracking and checklists. Great tool for the EP kit.
I constructed my own database of checklists over the years that I can pull up on my laptop or print up when needing a quick checklist for advance work.
This day and age with companies watching budgets, it is up to the EP professional to assist his or her client in making the security program cost effective. Your position is to facilitate your client’s day. The better you perform your facilitating duties, the more your client will find you cost effective. It doesn’t matter on the size of your detail, you have to stay calm, and open minded and resourceful to get the most important process of your escort accomplished.