Friday, October 14, 2005

Executive Protection More than a Gun

ÔÇťOrganizations often turn to law enforcement officers when seeking someone to protect their executives. They do so primarily because law enforcement personnel are trained to use a gun. But an executive protection specialist must be much more than a hired gun.

"Security professionals must educate top management regarding the need to get beyond this 'guard mentality'when thinking about executive protection. Not only are law enforcement skills insufficient for executive protection, they may also be detrimental.

"In fact, to be good protection specialists, law enforcement officers must unlearn some of their police-related training. For example police officers are taught to insert themselves into adverse situations.... But first and foremost, the executive protection specialist must be focused on avoiding threatening situation.

"Also of concern is the need many law enforcement officers feel to have a gun. The executive protection specialist may often be in situations where a gun is not allowed. If the specialist is not prepared to handle situations when unarmed, he or she will be at a disadvantage.

"The underlying and unifying element shared by all specialists who do the job well is an understanding of the frame of mind required.

"Executive protection specialists can come from many backgrounds and some of the finest protection specialists may be former law enforcement officers. But for anyone who transitions to this field and for the clients who hire them, they should remember that the true executive protection specialist is far more than a hired gun."

John A. Schafer

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