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Sykes Group LLC
Law Enforcement/Security Training & Consulting 
Failure Is Not An Option
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Training for Law Enforcement, Security, EMS and Military personnel.

Condensed History of Executive/VIP/Close Protection

The exact begining of the concept of the Bodyguard is not known, however the Japanese Samurai have been traced back as far as the 5th century A.D. The samurai were basically bodyguards who were tasked with the responsibility of keeping their Lord alive and in power. It is a duty that the samurai took very seriously. If the samurai failed in his duty shame and dishonor would descend upon him, the samurai method of atoning for his failure was to commit Hari Kari(suicide).

In Norway sometime between 800 and 900 A.D. gangs of warriors allied themselves with the Royal Court to serve as bodyguards. These warriors earned the nickname "Berserkers" because of their habit of removing their clothes in battle and working themselves into a murderous frenzy.

The King/Queen of England have been protected by the Yeoman of the Guard from the 1400's right up to the present day. As part of a total protection system these protectors have gone as far as sampling the food of the royals to protect against poisoning.

In America between 1865 and 1977 there were several incidents including the assassination of 3 Presidents (Abraham Lincoln: 1865, James Garfield: 1881 and William McKinley: 1901) and 4 attempted Presidential assassinations that set in motion a series of changes that has brought the U.S. Secret Service to it's present day level of competence and expertise in protective operations.

Security within the U.S. Department of State was formally established in 1916 under Secretary of State Robert Lansing and was headed by a Chief Special Agent. Special agents protected distinguished visitors to the United States.

After the war Secretary of State Edward Stettinius requested the FBI review and make recommendations on physical and personnel security. One important result of that report was the separation of security functions. A new security office was set up, separate from the Chief Special Agent's office. This new Office of Security (SY) had a program of regional security staffs in the United States and security officers at missions overseas. Later, these two security functions were merged and, in 1948, Foreign Correlations (an intelligence service) was incorporated into the office, bringing in that aspect of security. Also in that year, the Marine Security Guard Program was inaugurated at U.S. embassies.

Beginning in the late '60s, several ambassadors and Department officials were kidnapped or assassinated. These actions highlighted the possible exploitation of U.S. diplomats for political purposes. To meet this new threat, SY increased its protective capabilities. The rages of terrorism created a new and increasingly dangerous threat to U.S. citizens and missions abroad, as well as to distinguished visitors to the United States. SY responded to the emerging threat by hiring over a hundred new agents under the "Eagleburger Plan" and began purchasing vehicles, radios, and other support equipment to meet this challenge.

SY started producing handbooks on terrorism, providing advice for overseas personnel. Security officers received more intensive training and learned new skills, like defensive driving.

The intensity of terrorist attacks increased. In the period between 1979 and 1983, there were over 400 terrorist attacks against Americans. U.S. citizens and installations were the primary targets for terrorist attacks. In 1984, Secretary of State George Shultz formed an advisory panel to make recommendations on how to minimize the probability of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens and facilities.

On November 4, 1985, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) were officially established.

The Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act was signed by President Reagan on August 27, 1986. The new Bureau had a clearly defined mandate outlined in legislation and structured along the lines of other Federal law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies.

The Bureau would coordinate all security at U.S. missions overseas. The panel pointed out the need to improve coordination between the Department of State and other federal, state, and local agencies, as well as foreign governments, to build better security programs.

Protection of foreign officials and their consulates in the United States was the subject of 17 panel recommendations. These recommendations suggested improving the competence, training, and professionalism of protective details.

By the end of the '80s, DS began sharing information electronically with the international American business community. Also, the Bureau expanded to provide state-of-the-art security to the Department's communications and information systems.

Shortly after his election in 1965, Governor Calvin L Rampton of Utah called Col. Lyle Hyatt of the Utah Highway Patrol and requested a driver. S/Sgt Mike Gale was sent and drove the Governor to his appointments which included the Inaugural Ball. This became a permanent position and was the beginning of the Executive Protection branch of the Utah Highway Patrol. The Department of Public Safety still provides protection for the Governor today!

Many other City, State, federal and Private agencies have created various protective service programs to protect Govenors, Mayors, Judges, Corporate Executives, Celebrities and other VIPs who need protection.

Today the level of loyalty displayed by professional protection personnel is no less than it has ever been.

The terminology that is use in the field of VIP Protection has undergone significant change in recent years also. Today the term Bodyguard is no longer favored by most of the personnel working in the protection field. Terms such as Personal Protection Agent, Personal Protection Specialist and others are now the preferred designations for what used to be called the bodyguard. This has come about for two main reasons;

1) To try to increase the professional stature of the protection agent and:
2) To try to distance today's protectors from the hired thug image that many people have of bodyguards.


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