Security for Celebrities

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Although the movie The Bodyguard didnít win an Academy Award, it did accurately portray some of the intrinsic challenges of providing security for celebrities. Beyond the glamorization of the profession, professional security agents frequently find themselves working long hours, traveling on short notice and catering to the needs of some very high-maintenance clients. As a rule, the level of security service required is directly proportional to the celebrityís fame and notoriety.

In November of 2008, an infatuated fan committed suicide in front of Paula Abdulís home. In August of 2010, Paris Hilton awoke to an intruder armed with two knives who was trying to break into her home. And, in March of 2011, a man tried to break into Mile Cyrusís house. Fortunately for her, he had the wrong house.

Incidents such as these are on the rise due to a myriad of socio-economic conditions and celebrity focused television programs. Fans are stirred into a frenzy by blockbusters movies or, tragically, scandalous behavior. Whatever the lightning rod is, more and more celebrities have found themselves genuinely concerned about their safety.

At what cost are some of Hollywoodís most elite paying for their safety? ďRapper 50 Cent admitted that he shells out a pricey $20,000 weekly for private security for his mansion in Connecticut while Britney Spears spent around half a million in 2008. Simon Cowell stepped up his security detail, at an undisclosed price, after finding a tracking device under his car.

Although the vast majority of clients prefer to have armed bodyguards, some opt for unarmed agents skilled in hand-to-hand combat and self-defense. In California, the State regulates and licenses security guards and companies. Recent amendments to existing California law now require all guards, even guards hired directly by the client to be licensed. To carry a concealed firearm, agents must either be a current or retired Law Enforcement Officer, or, have a valid Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW) issued by the County Sheriff.

Whether the celebrity requires 24-hour protection on the road and at home, or only during limited occasions such as the Academy Awards, ďWe always recommend that a client contract out for professional security services,Ē says Mark Van Holt, President of Platinum Protection Group, Inc. ďAs an employee, the celebrity runs the risk of assuming the liability of any action taken by the bodyguard, such as a claim of excessive force.Ē ďFrom a risk management stand-point, contracting with a licensed, bonded and insured company is a wiser choice,Ē asserts Mr. Van Holt.

Personal protection, especially for high profile clients, requires a high degree of competency, professionalism and most of all, discreetness. Contracted companies and their agents sign non-disclosure contracts and agents are prohibited from becoming personally involved with the Principal or their families. Itís oftentimes a difficult task for a bodyguard to not get personally attached to their clients and family, especially if kids are involved. A devoted bodyguard has an innate instinct to protect the client and family at any cost.

If youíre seeking the spotlight, fame and fortune, being a personal protection agent is everything but that. Like the Secret Service, the best bodyguards in the industry go unnoticed. Itís not what a bodyguard does each day, itís what he or she may have to do.

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