How to Hire a Bodyguard"Bodyguard" has become a "Hollywood-ized" term and is probably not what you want. The vocationalname is "Executive Protection" or "Personal Security" and specialists are not hard to find. Follow theseinstructions to ensure youre getting someone truly qualified to protect another persons life and well-being.Understand that "Personal Security" is a professional service, so keep your expectations realistic. Theymust be capable of adapting to your lifestyle and be driven to always remain "Low Profile". As, unlikethe United Kingdom, there are no national training regulations in the US for this profession there areseveral titles a practitioner may use: Executive Protection, Protective Services, Personal Protection orPersonal Security.Like the Secret Service, the best individuals are proactive, clean cut, intelligent, articulate, educatedprofessionals that are trained to PREVENT a threat to your welfare. Contrast these specialists with thestereotypical 400-pound thugs working for Britney Spears or Madonna. These "bodyguards" are onlyable to REACT to a threat and are usually working as bouncers or bounty hunters and "sidelining" as aBodyguard and generally lack the specialized training.Look on the Internet for your state’s private security company regulations. Learn the name of therequired license for “Bodyguard” or “Personal Protection Officer” or something closely related. Thecandidates will need this license in order to work for you. That said, do not assume that a "Bodyguard"license from any state is in and of itself a good indicator of their abilities. The majority of states have norequirements other than a Concealed Handgun License, a few have very stringent training requirementsand the rest have appallingly low training requirements that meet no professionally recognizedminimum training standards. These licenses have names like Personal Protection Officer (PPO) or
Personal Protection Specialist (PPS) and are probably required for the individual to work for you butmost are acquired with very little training that anyone can get if they have a "Security Guard" licenseand $100 to pay for a "Bodyguard" course.Ensure your candidates are graduates of a Government Protective Services course from the; o United States Secret Service o US State Departments Diplomatic Security Service o Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) o US Army Military Police Schools Protective Services Training Course o US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) o US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) o US Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI)For graduates from one of the few, internationally recognized and respected, civilian executiveprotection schools in the US like; o Executive Security International(ESI)in Colorado o Executive Protection Institute in Virginia o R.L. Oatman & Associates in Maryland o National Protective Services Institute in Texas o Gavin de Becker & Associates in California o Vance International formerly in Virginia o International Training Group in California o Texas A&M Universitys TEEX in Texas o US Training Center in North Carolina o Executive Protection International in Massachusetts. o There is also a University that specializes in Personal Protection Management and offers Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate level Degrees (see Henley-Putnam University)
If a candidate attended a school not listed above, ensure that the instructors have extensive experiencein Government Protective Services or a civilian equivalent and that the course was a MINIMUM of 100hours of formal personal security training. As a second choice, consider “Executive Protection/Protective Services/Corporate Security” personnelfrom Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, Dell, Boeing, IBM, etc., with direct (not limited orcollateral) experience.Just because someone has been in the military, law enforcement or has worked overseas on a ProtectiveServices Detail (PSD) DOES NOT mean they have the right mind-set, training or skill-sets to performPersonal Security in the United States.If a candidate claims to have been a member of a US military Special Operations Force, like Army SpecialForces "Green Beret", US Army Ranger, Navy SEAL, Air Force Combat Controller, Marine Corps SpecialOperations (MARSOC), etc., ask them to provide you an ORIGINAL copy of their DD214.This document is issued to all former military service members and will give you the names of schoolsthey graduated from while in the service. If they claim their background is "Classified", they are lying toyou. The only thing actually classified about their military background may be missions they took part in.Get a photocopy of the applicant’s driver’s license, Social Security card and copies of any professionalcertificates.Conduct a background check on the web and pay for a simple criminal history check.Have every candidate sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (available for free on the Internet) beforediscussing your needs or personal information. Look for specific experience, and ask for examples of how the candidate has demonstrated proficiencyin skills including, but not limited to: o Choreography (knowing how to stand, walk and get in and out of a car with a Protectee) o Conducting advance work to prepare for trips and events ahead of time o Effective countermeasures to deal with an attack or security threat if one materializes o Knowledge of physical security and access control systems o Formal training in specialized driving skills, and o Extensive Firearms and Defensive Tactics trainingAsk the candidate about "big name" people s/he has protected. If s/he gives you a list of names, thosenames would likely be okay and can most often be verified by contacting the company, governmentoffice or a celebritys agent or representative.
However if a candidate starts revealing personal information it is possible that they are violating non-disclosure and confidentiality statements they agreed to. At the same time, do not accept the response,"I cant tell you for reasons of privacy." Good bodyguards are very careful about divulging informationabout former clients or protects, and will find a way for you to verify their claims without violatingconfidentiality agreements.Specialized driving skills are generally considered a sub-specialty within Personal Security and arecommonly known as Evasive and/or Counter-ambush Driving that few Personal Security practitionershave formal, in-depth training in. Again, there are very few recognized and respected schools in the USthat teach these skills; o Scotti School of Defensive Driving Vehicle Dynamics Institute o Bill Scott Raceways (BSR) o Bob Bondurant School of Performance Driving o Crossroads Training Academy o Advanced Driving & Security Inc. (ADSI) o Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Vehicle Ambush Countermeasures Training Program (VACTP)