Celebrity Bodyguards and Security Services
Often the price of fame is an increased need for protection. That’s where celebrity protection officers come in. Celebrity protection officers are a type of close protection agent or officer. Close protection officers provide security services for VIPs like executives and celebrities. They may provide security for their family as well.
Celebrity protection specialists are people-savvy. Very occasionally there is a need for force. The need for diplomacy is far more frequent. Celebrities want good publicity, not bad, and that means averting situations before they happen. Celebrities also want to feel relaxed with who they’re traveling with.
Some celebrities do have very visible guards. They want to give that reminder: “Don’t get too close.” Personal security officers may be invisible, however, stepping in when they identity a potential threat. Often this means escorting the VIP away from the area of danger. Dynamic risk assessment is the name of the game. Being a VIP security officer can mean scoping out routes in advance and getting to know the vulnerabilities.
Close protection officers may go by many names including personal protection specialist and close security operative. Some in the celebrity field still use the term body guard. It has gone out of favor among some professionals, in part because it connotes brawn. Close protection is largely about cognitive skills and savvy. Protection officers are experts in human behavior. They scan scenes quickly and notice what’s normal and what’s not.
Celebrity Protection vs. Other Forms of Close Protection
Executive protection and celebrity protection are similar but not identical because different types of VIP have different needs. Celebrity protection officers need to understand the venue as well as the client. Sometimes celebrity protection officers monitor crowds as opposed to standing by the principal.
Celebrity protection officers can have more erratic schedules, though some celebrities need round-the-clock staffing. Celebrities may also need security for their estates. Like their clients, celebrity protection officers may “go on tour”. Sometimes they have more colorful clients, though the stereotype of the temperamental celebrity is just that: a stereotype.
Often the people celebrity protection officers are protecting their clients from really do love them – just too much! One of the duties is preventing fans from getting out of hand. Sometimes, though, actions move beyond overzealous autograph seeking and paparazzi antics to stalking or assault. Celebrity protection specialists often work in teams. Some high-profile celebrities have teams of body guards.
Becoming a Celebrity Protection Officer
This is a branch of security that is hard to break into. It’s a field for professionals who have already earned a reputation. In fact, close security officers typically have law enforcement or military backgrounds. Having emergency medical skills can also be an asset.
Still, close security is its own discipline. Companies look for professionals who have excelled in their careers and they see to it that they’re well trained.
There are a range of skills that may be needed. Some close protection officers also act as chauffeurs. Chauffering someone away from danger is different than simply driving them around – and, yes, this is something people take classes in.
There are a lot of potentially useful courses. They can’t ensure employment, but they can build skills – and some employers do reference them.
A prospective celebrity security officer may want to start out by getting a solid grounding in close personal security, then take one or more additional courses in celebrity protection. Behavioral intelligence is among the offerings (https://www.esibodyguardschool.com/celebrity-protection/).
Opportunities at Different Expertise Levels
For those who like working around celebrities, event security may be an easier field to crack. Events security also have a role in taming the energy that celebrities may invoke. However, they don’t have prime responsibility for any one person’s safety.
Celebrity protection can be a very lucrative branch of security. This depends on who the protection officer works for – and who they work with. A personal protection specialist may need to work his or her way up with regard to how high profile the client is and how great the need for security actually is.
There is opportunity for advancement in the field. Often the person hovering near the VIP or celebrity is only a part of the picture. Work goes into mapping escape routes.
A Look at the Hiring Market
Close protection officers often work for proprietary security companies. Some have a particular focus on VIP services. The same company will likely provide both executive and celebrity services.
The following were among the companies that recently sought new talent in close protection:
USPA International sought officers in multiple cities who would also drive and escort. They wanted people with three years of prior experience who had (preferably) completed recognized courses in close protection. Additionally, they wanted first aid certification and the ability to deploy quickly. The organizations also had some close protection positions noted as being for women/ children for which there was a stated preference for those with military or law enforcement background.
ICS meanwhile sought a Personal Protection Specialist with a passport and three years of experience.
Some states have a licensing or certifying process specifically for close security. This sets minimum standards – meeting them doesn’t ensure that the person will have the skills to excel.
Virginia, for example, has set training requirements for Personal Protection Specialist (https://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/licensure-and-regulatory-affairs/training/courses/32e-personal-protection-specialist-entry-level). 60 hours of training is required. Protective detail operations, civil law, and emergency procedures are among the concepts. This category is for protection officers who provide close protection across client groups.