By Bruce Alexander
Protectees are magnets for stalkers and various emotionally disturbed persons (EDP). Years ago, one of my protectees would routinely receive love letters from an obviously emotionally disturbed woman who would regularly propose marriage to my protectee as well as request that my protectee announce their marriage to the Queen of England and a host of other notables. While it was a distraction from the norm, it was never a joke.
The volatility of some EDP’s was a constant reminder of what could become a very dangerous situation at any moment. What compounded the threat of this woman and others like her, was the awareness that identifying any pre-attack indicators would be very difficult since as a lone individual, the signatures would not be readily apparent.
Did an absence of communication mean she had turned her attention elsewhere or was she developing some sort of plan involving attempt to make a physical contact with the protectee? Fortunately this individual eventually stopped sending letters and as far as we could determine, had found someone else to court. Nevertheless, the concern about EDPs was a constant given the public profile of our protectee.
In this Officer.com article, Ms. Pamela Kulbarsh, RN, discusses EDPs and other categories of mentally ill persons from the perspective of stalkers. She provides detailed explanations of the various categories of EDPs and the mentally ill and the threat they pose as stalkers. Stalking is a serious threat and protected persons are not immune from stalkers either.
Many entertainment celebrities have been victims of stalking with serious consequences such as that experienced by Jodie Foster and the case of John Hinckley. Understanding EDPs and the phenomena of stalking is an important dimension of Executive Protection. There are both threat management and protective considerations for addressing the EDP stalker.
Managing the threat of EDP stalkers includes understanding the motives of these stalkers and anticipating likely courses of action on their part. This article is a very helpful guide in recognizing the various categories of stalkers and what makes them tick.
Bruce has touched on the absolute essence of protection. After all, how do we decide how many human and physical assets we need for a protective assignment, without assessments; assessments of vulnerability, assessments of risk, and behavioral assessments of individuals?
For readers not yet familiar with the ECSP (1998), you can develop some foundational understanding of the threat assessment process by visiting the USSS National Threat Assessment Center and reading the free publications there: http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac.shtml
Other pioneering work in this field is found in “Hunters and Howlers”, by Frederick “Ted” Calhoun and Steve Weston.
Key in making threat determinations is the identification of predatory and affective behaviors indicative of a potential attack. In short, determining who “poses” a threat as opposed to who is merely “making” a threat.
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