Prevention of intentional injury
By Rick Colliver: Part 1 of 5
Unlike traditional security or law enforcement duties, the mission of protection is more narrowly focused to prevent specific risks from affecting the protectee. At the basic level, the protective mission can be broken into five critical elements:
* Prevention of intentional injury
* Prevention of unintentional injury
* Prevention of medical emergency
* Prevention of abduction
* Prevention of embarrassment
Through effective advance work we are able to steer the Protectee away from these dangers and to facilitate their daily schedules; making us of value to them. And, without steering the debate down another street, let me confess that even though many protection philosophies warn us against carrying luggage or performing other “assistance” tasks, I have carried suitcases and pushed shopping carts once or twice. But, in my defense I could argue that a man following a woman who’s pushing a shopping cart draws a whole-lot more attention that a man pushing a shopping cart who’s following a woman who’s…shopping. And, a shopping cart can be a right proper defensive weapon if used or intended as such.
Nevertheless, many of us are familiar with a variety of examples of where the protection umbrella failed, resulting in a protectee’s exposure to risk, and speculate as to where intervention by security personnel could have reduced either exposure or risk. In this edition we will examine the first element “Intentional Injury”.
When we speak of intentional injury we include such perils as death, assault or other personal harm (or threat of harm) caused by criminal attack. Such assaults on our Principal (AOP’s), can occur by means of striking, punching, kicking, thrown objects and, of course, knives, guns and bombs. As we know, almost any object can be turned into a weapon; from a simple ballpoint pen to a pillow used to smother. Since the 1990’s, we have added chemical, biological and radiological weapons to our worry list as well. Even though these types of formulae have been with us for many years, most private security managers were not overly concerned about them as risks to their mission. Neither were most public safety executives and community planners, until after the first WTC attack in 1993.
Historically though, in the United States, firearms tend to be the weapon of choice among assassins, with varying degrees of success ranging from complete misses to hits on multiple targets:
On September 5, 1975, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was arrested for pointing a firearm at President Gerald R. Ford as he walked through Capital Park in Sacramento California. Though the chamber was empty, the magazine contained four rounds. Following her arrest, she told Secret Service agents that she had ejected the chambered round prior to leaving home that morning. This round was later found in her bathroom following a search.
The attack was rendered unsuccessful due to a quick-thinking S/A Larry Buendorf (USSS Ret) who initiated a sequence we know as the “sound off-cover-evacuate”.
On September 22, 1975, Sara Jane Moore, fired at President Ford from across the street as he exited the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Even though police had confiscated a .44 caliber handgun and more than a hundred rounds of ammunition from her on the day before the incident, Moore was able to take up a position in the crowd approximately forty feet away as Ford emerged from the building. She fired once before being grabbed by bystander Oliver Sipple. The shot missed President Ford, but struck and wounded a taxi driver named John Ludwig. While initial reports indicated that Ms. Moore’s shot was misaimed, author Geri Spieler later determined from interviews with FBI personnel that Moore’s aim had been true, but the sights on the pistol were off. In this case, the attack was unsuccessful due to the distance at which Moore had been forced to fire; by creating a deeper safety zone around the Protectee.
The crowd was not as lucky on March 30, 1981 when John Warnock Hinckley Jr., attempted to kill POTUS Ronald Reagan as he emerged from the Washington Hilton Hotel. Hinckley managed to get off six shots in less than four seconds and wounded President Reagan, Press Secretary James Brady, Washington DC Police Officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service S/A Timothy McCarthy. The Secret Service responded quickly and professionally to the scenario; however Reagan was struck by a ricochet that glanced off the car and made it through the gap between the frame and the armored door of the limousine. Detail Leader Jerry Parr is credited with saving the President’s life after noticing pink, frothy blood coming from the President’s mouth as they sped from the scene. POTUS was immediately transported to George Washington University hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
An AOP needn’t always be as dramatic as this, and could be caused by something as simple and commonplace as thrown objects as was the case in 2003 when someone lobbed a raw egg at a campaigning Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thrown missiles have also been hurled at the likes of Bill Gates, Tony Blair and many other celebrities, often without injury.
As Protection specialists, we need to evaluate the potential for all types of intentionally caused injury when we are preparing for (advancing) a particular event or movement.
When protective intelligence indicates that trouble could lie ahead, we must plan effectively by:
1) Attempting to have the Protectee change their schedule
2) Attempting to move events to different venues, over which we have better control
3) Establishing a deeper security perimeter around the Protectee
4) Adding personnel or physical barriers to separate the Protectee from potential sources of danger
5) Utilizing specialized personnel or inter-agency liaison to develop additional intelligence
6) Learning more about the crowd and the individuals therein
The more we control the Protectee’s environment, the more control we have over the management of risk. Next week, we will take a look at how “unintentional injury” can affect your mission.
Rick Colliver has served as the global security director for two multi-national corporations with operations in 24 time zones, and has managed protection details in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. He is the course developer and lead instructor in the Principal Protection program at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and is an adjunct instructor in protective operations through several police, military and academic organizations. His book, “Principal Protection; Lessons Learned” is due out in summer 2010.