In a recent CPO class I was teaching, a student asked me what I would suggest as further training to add to his skillset. The first thing that came to mind was First Aid and a defensive driving class. He said he hadn’t thought about those so I took the opportunity to ask him what other training he was thinking of. The answers I got were a Tactical Shotgun and Rifle class and a weapons disarming class.
Now before I continue, understand this was a student who was just entering the close protection industry, with no prior training or work experience in the field.
Having been in the industry for a long time, I realize that continuing education is critical to any professional’s success. I simply believe that as we live we learn and in this industry we have to be better prepared and educated than the bad guys or even our ‘’competitors’’. Before you spend money on your next course, ask yourself a couple of questions:
What position are you currently holding?
Are you a new CPO? Even if you are making a transition from LE or military to private sector security, you may be over trained and under experienced. This makes you new. If you are a new CPO, you will not gain any credibility for having advanced skillsets if you don’t know the basics. How to speak, dress, manners, social etiquette, First Aid…
How do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
How far do you want to go in this industry? How do you envision your career? What do you want to achieve?
There are people who are satisfied working in lower “Operator” CP positions due to their family status or just because they are comfortable with it.
If you are a security guard seeking advancement or interested in working in the United States as an armed Security Officer, your primary weapon would be the Semi-Automatic Handgun, so why would you need carbine rifle tactical training? Since your primary focus is to remove your client from the hostile environment, how would you use a two-handed weapon when one is needed to guide your client? Why would you attempt to master the “tactical rifle” if you don’t know basic and advanced First Aid or even how to tie a necktie?
How much money and time are you willing to spend for additional training?
Training in our industry costs a small fortune. Add to the course the time off of work, accommodations, meals and travel to a training site and your cost could exceed $8000.00 dollars U.S. for a week-long course.
There are many training courses available. A training provider/company is a business, not a charity so they want your money. Many of them will use unethical practices in order to sell you their courses so be extremely careful and vet the provider before sending them your money. Especially if you are a U.S. Veteran using your GI Bill.
I have seen courses offered to CPOs such as horseback riding, helicopter rappelling training, commando survival techniques and subterranean exploration, (Cave crawling). Now even if those classes sound cool you have to ask yourself if they are within your professional range of use.
If you want to break into CP industry then start with a nice CP course, get your basics and start building from there. Attend a Basic First Aid and work towards advanced First Aid classes and even Combat Lifesaver. A Security Driving Course would also be valuable. Any Threat Management class, Computer Forensics, and yes, even Photography. Think about your imaginary “perfect client” and educate yourself toward being the perfect CPO for them. What do you think that client needs you to know? Driving in Germany is not like driving in Iraq or the U.S. And driving in New York is not like driving in Dallas, Texas but First aid or the ability to communicate or knowledge of how to dress to your client’s needs are universal.
Prioritize your training on the needs of your assignment and your career path. Remember that there are over 3300 security specialties. To be a specialist, you need to master only one. A PSD Personnel Security Detail “Operator” can but does not have to be a socially refined individual and a CPO can but does not need the advanced physical skillsets of a soldier. If you are in a combat or warzone, operate as a PSD Operator, in all other cases operate like a CPO. Know the difference and train to your interest.
Some of the training providers that Athena Academy endorses are:
In the U.S.
Vehicle Dynamics Institute, http://www.vehicledynamics.com/
White Star Consulting, http://www.whitestaroftexas.com/
Global Options & Solutions, http://gos911.com/
Independent Security Advisors, http://www.dignitaryprotection.us/
VIP Protection Group, http://vipprotection.gr
ANG Protection, http://www.angprotection.co.uk/
Odyssey Security, http://www.odyssey-security.com/
Cyrus Strategies & Tactics, http://www.cyrusstrategiesandtactics.com/
Founder & CEO
Athena Worldwide LLC