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It's all about protecting the principal

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

As an executive protection specialist (EPS) you must learn to dance. Working the principal is a choreographed method in moving with the principal whether it's a team or a solo operation. A combination of a risk assessment and of course the preference of the principal determines what actions will be needed by the EPS. In this post I'll discuss the methods of protecting the principal if it is determined that close personal protection is warranted. A trained EPS can blend in to settings or the culture of the executive to not look like the "bodyguard" type. Some might refer to them simply as a staff assistant.

The principal of course is the boss but in contrast the EPS must be willing to take charge when necessary. In fact, one high ranking official told his EPS; "stand close enough to protect me, but not so close that I have to introduce you." There is never a good time to let down your guard when protecting a principal. You get your principal to a meeting safely and now it's time to mentally rehearse scenarios. What if this happens? Then I will do this. Mental rehearsal should be constant. In a team situation it needs to be communicated to the team.

Advances are a common practice and very necessary for a good operation. Between the advance and the operation things can change; construction to a building, meeting room moved due to maintenance issues, a person you have been dealing with has called in sick leaving you a different person entirely. When an attack occurs all the training, tactics, and instincts come together. The response must be expeditious and without thought.

1. If an attacker is at close range, meaning within arms reach close range, at that point you should move in to immobilize. In a team situation you can use other EPS team members. A solo operator will need to use a trusted staff assistant and there are usually plenty. The staff members get the principal to safety and the EPS will immobilize the attacker.

2. If the EPS sees a gun or knife it's always proper to sound off and yell "GUN!!!" Instinctually the team or staff should get the principal to safety while the EPS takes care of the threat. It is proper to even yell out a location; "GUN-RIGHT!!!" This tells the team or staff the direction and gives them a point to exit.

3. If the threat is seen from a distance or an EPS has just yelled "GUN!" and/or is dealing with a threat the principal must be covered. The EPS uses their body as a shield rto cove the principal or the team covers the principal like a shield.

4. The total mission of an EPS or EP team is to evacuate the principal to safety. It may be deemed that a principal is taken to a designated area within a venue, also referred to as a safe haven. Or, the EPS or team evacuates the principal to the vehicle and then leaves the area. Remember, even in the vehicle the principal is not yet safe. If injured then the evacuation will be to a hospital. If the threat is still imminent and there are no injuries it may be a police department or a pre-designated safe haven.

Evacuation of the principal is top priority. Identifying and bringing into custody the attacker is second and may be left to the law enforcement authorities to figure out. As usual stay safe and be vigilant.

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