The Role of a Security Driver: Forgotten or Well Respected?

Evasive driving consultant Anthony Ricci looks at the concerns of executive protection drivers


You were contracted by a Miami-based client to provide protection for the principal and family while they stay in New York City for their business duration. Unbeknownst to you the client's staff has hired an outside limousine service to provide all transportation. This normally could be a helpful gesture but, this time, due to business relations, the client hired a familiar firm that they have done business with on prior occasions. Not being able to select the transportation service creates a problem for the protection team since this transportation service is home based in Boston.

When you brief the drivers on the current situation and their responsibilities for the upcoming weeks that lie ahead, you quickly find out that they do not know the environment very well. You find out that they have very little security knowledge and worse they have never been exposed to a security detail of this magnitude. The two drivers usually provided basic airport runs for executives and worked many entertainment events for their companies' clients.

Although this detail is not really considered a high threat of danger and everything is expected to run smoothly; there is a slight chance of interaction with an aggressive group of demonstrators. This group does not share the same beliefs and views toward your client's work. They have created very embarrassing situations in the past, however they are not expected to be violent to the point of causing physical harm. It is probable that it will only be a matter of time before their aggressiveness turns from just protesters pranks to badly hurting someone whether accidentally or intentionally. You certainly don't want your client injured or embarrassed on your watch!

In your first briefing with the drivers you start to address basic route awareness issues starting with points along route that could be vulnerable to the element of surprise. You also address zones of predictability which are places along your routes that your detail will be unable to avoid on a daily basis as well as important safe havens, locations where you would go to in the event of an emergency such as police stations, airports, and hospitals. The drivers look at you with a blank stares as they are much more interested in finding out if a gratuity will be figured into their paycheck and if they get a lunch break everyday.nAnyone with some basic knowledge of executive protection can finish this story.

These are basic ingredients for disaster. The drivers do not know the environment very well at all. This will cause problems with route selections in whether to bypass a problem or just to avoid traffic jams. Will the drivers know how to react and where to go if a major hospital and/or safe haven was needed? What alternate emergency routes to take without the detail leaders assistance? You have done your job and investigated your teams thoughts and subject knowledge, since there was no indication of an open-minded attitude, one that could accept the fact that they may be inconvenienced or have to make a sacrifice for the job and/or the guy who ultimately signs their check (the principal). So should the Agent in Charge (AIC) or Detail Leader (DL) try to take on the job with the current drivers that they are faced with? This could blow up and that famously dreaded finger would point directly at you, the contact person for the protection team. You would hear how "You could not make it happen, we even got you professional drivers".

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