Merging Protection and Driving Disciplines into One!
In the late 70's, my personal path in security went from support role, to security management/law enforcement liaison, and then to executive protection and protective driving. I often interfaced with protection teams and looked up to those that were doing executive protection and executive driving. When I initially accepted a protection driving assignment for the eldest son of a prominent, wealthy, controversial, and extremely high risk family, I had no formal training in either executive protection or evasive/protection driving. I quickly attended a dignitary protection course sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) that was taught by a former Secret Service Agent, and I sought the advice of well-known driving instructors. What I found was that there was a divide between the protection and driving camps; the protection side advocated that there be a driver and a protector, and the driving camp absolutely advocated the same with a greater emphasis on the value of the driver. These theories indicated that you could only do one or the other. At the time, I agreed, but I had to do both as did many others in the same situation.
The Creation of EPI’s Protection Driving Program
I began a long course of studying the two separate disciplines of protection and driving and how they could be merged together as Protection Driving, or "EP Behind the Wheel". Over many years, I attended many protection schools such as the Executive Protection Institute, as well as numerous Security/Evasive Driving Schools and obtained multiple Instructor Credentials. In 1989, I established the International Protection Group (IPG) and began providing executive Protection and secure transportation to the public after having done it for so many years for a private client.
In 2009, I had the privilege of purchasing the Executive Protection Institute where I was not only a graduate, but had been and Instructor for nearly 20 years. In the process of updating the programs and reviewing every aspect of EPI’s training, I once again began to take a close look at the protective driving aspect of protection.
I discovered that the two disciplines had to come together into one merged discipline to support the evolution of the Industry. That is when I decided that EPI was the perfect vehicle, excuse the pun, to facilitate “Protection Driving” training and therefore established the Protection Driving Division of EPI.
When designing the Protection Driving Program, the Executive Protection Institute followed the same philosophy established in 1978 to deliver a course that was not a run, jump, scream type of program. We recognize that hard driving skills may be needed, but we need to do everything in our power to avoid having to use them; and at the same time, can facilitate the needs of the client daily with a concierge level of service. By integrating both hard and soft skills into one program, we created a good balance between the two and the student will greatly benefit from this holistic approach.
It is essential that protectors have and maintain those skills that we hope we don’t ever have to use. What about the skills we need every day? The Protection Driving Program uses “driving physics” to calculate what a specific vehicle can or cannot do within a specifically designed exercise at various speeds.
EPI decided to focus on the subtle differences between security and protection. While some may think they are just words, as we know, words often invoke concepts and meanings that often differ depending on who you ask. The development of the EPI Protection Driving Program marks a new beginning of encompassing the two skill sets of driving and protection into a complete package; the Protection Driver.