“Hey, Hucky,” people ask, “why do you still use the term bodyguard?” Some visitors to the website have been giving me a bit of a hard time about the fact that I still use the word bodyguard, but there is a method to my madness! Let me explain.
The majority of the public does not know the up-to-date terminology for what we do. I know, the preferred job title is EPS (Executive Protection Specialist) or CPO (Close Protection Operative). The fact is, most people who are NOT in the business know the term “bodyguard” and that is what they will type in when they want to go online to find out more information. Google search engines recognize the word and this recognition means my website is ranked higher and thereby gets more traffic. More traffic means more job listings, more stories, more information and in general, more connectivity for all of us in this business.
For example, did you know that people in the film industry who work as crew (gaffers, lighting people, best boy, grips, production assistants) are said to work “below-the-line”? That’s an insider’s term for those positions. You can see how someone who isn’t an insider, who is trying to locate a film production assistant, let’s say, would search by “production assistant” rather than “below-the-line talent.”
Shakespeare said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and I’d like to state. “An EPS by any other name would still save your life.” It’s just a word. I know it’s archaic and brings to mind knuckle-headed over-sized lunks in black suits and sunglasses, but sadly, the rest of the world just hasn’t caught on to the new terminology. Until they do, I will continue to use it in my stories and articles, interchanging it as often as possible with the preferred nomenclature. With any luck at all, the word “bodyguard” will go the way of the dinosaur.
Karl de la Guerra
As I instruct EP in Europe, I have found that the term “bodyguard” generally holds a negative connotation only here in the United States. In other countries, Bodyguard is a standard term used to define a practitioner in the EP business.
In other countries I also find the use of the job descriptions of Doorman and Guard, utilized internationally, identifying two separate professions outside the realm of Bodyguard.
The team positions of Close Protection, Security Driver, Team Leader, Intelligence, etc. all bundle into the same word overseas, “Bodyguard”.
Hucky, I agree completely. When I wrote,”How to Hire a Bodyguard” on WikiHow, I made mention to it becoming a “Hollywood-ized” term, but EPS, PPS, CPO, PPO, whatever, we’re still “bodyguards”.
The general use of the term has been novelized and trivialized by the entertainment industry and those working on the periphery, who in the absence of a national standard license, thought it was “cool” to tell people they are a “bodyguard”.
We all know the genesis of the term “Executive Protection” but as professional practitioners we have been forced to find someway to distinguish our trade from those untrained “big guys” hired on a whim and those that proceeded current disciplines back in the 70s and 80s and attempted to wrap ourselves in a more demonstrable term.
Spot on Hucky. I would hazard a guess that the people who get bent out of shape by the term “Bodyguard” are not running businesses.
As a business owner, I can’t remember the number of times that clients or office managers have called up looking for a “guard” or “guards”. Now, this to me is much more annoying than asking for a BG, but do I lecture them and risk losing a lucrative contract? Of course not. I turn it around and ask them back; “So how many Personal Protection Specialists do you think you will need?”
Personally, I use the opportunity to inform them about the skills my Agents/Operatives/Specialists possess – since I know that the client knows very little by their choice of words.
As you say Hucky – for the most part it’s just a word and people shouldn’t get bent out of shape over it.
From my background “Bodyguard” (BG) is used to identify the CPO that provides one-on-one protection for the principal, members of other security details associated with the task/contract (“P.E.S. – Personal Escort Section, S.A.P. – Security Advance Party, C.A.T. – Counter Attack Team, R.S.T. – Residential Security Team) consist of CPOs, where some teams (e.g. RST) are sometimes augmented by less experienced/qualified security personnel.
The BG often has all the training the other CPOs have and has often got all of their experience as he has often “come up through the ranks”.
Of course there are always exceptions in the civilian marketplace and levels of training/experience/ability can vary a great deal.