From a childhood dream to reality; from a small country town to walking with presidents and kings - I was lucky!
While on my high school senior trip to Washington D.C. I chanced to walk past an office building displaying the flag of the United States and a flag of the United States Secret Service in the window. The caption on the door read: "United States Secret Service, Training Academy." I remarked to my school friend who was with me, "Gee, I sure would like to go to this school someday"!
Several years later, while I was a freshman in college, and working on the school security patrol, I had an opportunty to direct traffic at the Redding, California Airport while President John F. Kennedy was arriving and departing. He had come to dedicate the Whiskey Town Dam a month prior to his assassination. I was thrilled and excited not only to see the president up close but also to meet some agents of the Secret Service. I didn't know it then, but I would come to know and work with many of them years later.
In my college senior year and while working full time for a police department, I applied and took the Secret Service Agent exam. A month or so later, I received a telephone call from the Special Agent in Charge of the Saramento Secret Service office inviting me to an interview. One of the questions I was asked, in general conversation, was if I could ride a horse. I replied that I could as I had owned a mustang a few years before. During the President Ford Administation that ability fulfilled another boyhood dream. One summer I was assigned to the president's son, Steve who was working on a ranch in Montana. A summer of "playing cowboy"! The summer concluded with a two-day cattle drive of 1,000 steers. Along on the drive were five times all around rodeo cowboy, Casey, Tibbs, and western movie stars "Slim" Pickens and Ben Johnson.
Sometime after that interview and a lengthy background investigation, I was sworn in as a Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service. That wish from my high school senior trip was a reality!
During my Secret Service lifetime I met many VIP's, Celebrities, Kings (including THE king, Elvis) and many interesting people including working at the White House for three presidents. The two special people who left the most lasting impression on me are former President Truman - (long after he retired). - I was with him in Independence, MO for 35 days right after I got out of secret service agents school. The very first night we had to take him to the hospital. During my time with him we only exchanged a few words, but it was a trip back into history for me and I believe I read nearly every book in his library. He even gave me three autographed books (later stolen from me).
The other person was Abba Eban, a founding father of Israel. He was to Israel what Thomas Jefferson was to the U.S. He came to the US in 1972 and was given a full presidental sized protection team. In 1998 he and his wife came to Los Angeles. I was his only protection detail. For two weeks it was just the three of us as I drove him and his wife around to their meetings and provided whatever they needed in the way of security. We had some great conversations and I learned a lot of history of things I never knew, such as the founding of the U.N and creation of Israel. ..... Lasting Lifetime memories.
We are here to Help In February 1955, the Los Angeles Police Department conducted a contest for a motto for the police academy. The winning motto was “To Protect and Serve” submitted by Officer Joseph S. Dorobek. “To Protect and Serve” became the official motto of the police academy, and it was kept constantly before the officers in training as the aim and purpose of their profession. With the passing of time, the motto received wider exposure and acceptance throughout the department and many other municipalities throughout the nation.
Excective Protection Executive Protection practitioners have followed this concept and believe it refers to the role they play in conducting their profession of “protecting and serving” their client(s). Who could argue with that reasoning because realistically speaking, that is exactly what protection specialist do, perhaps even to a greater extent than police departments. Protection and service are the definitive explanation when briefly describing the responsibility of providing a “safe, secure environment” for a person or entity having a necessity for protection.
When asked the question, “Why have you chosen the law enforcement profession, the number one answer given by police recruits and veterans is, “to help people”. Only the uninitiated respond with “to protect and serve”. When a follow up question to that response is, “What do you mean by “to protect and serve”? the answer is usually a befuddled and confused answer, following a stereotypical scripted bureaucratic answer.
When recruit and veteran executive protection specialist are asked the question, “Why have you chosen this profession”? the number one answer is “To help others…” or “to help those who need my protective skills and are unable to provide for themselves”.
With “to help others” as a number one reply, it is only simple deduction that “We are here to help” should be the official slogan and practice of a protective enterprise.
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