With permission of the author (Frank Gallagher) CSP re-post for review. Frank is a highly respected and experienced practitioner of protective services. Our paths crossed while both working for a large defense contractor (High Threat Protection Services). Easy read and good points.
23 July 2018
I had a very enlightening conversation with a friend last night. He was telling me about a weekend he spent with some former NFL guys and an NFL head coach. I won’t bore you with the details, but one of the NFL players said to him words to the effect of “Can you imagine if you had to spend 5 weeks every year competing for your job with guys just as good as you are? Every damn year?” An eye opening and a stunning revelation to me.
Why? Because the parallels to the security industry are striking. Football is the most physically demanding sport there is. The injury rate is off the charts. And yet, the players have to prove themselves every year to be the best at their roster spot for their team. Or they go home. Can you imagine if the EP or PSD world had the same standard? Or faced weekly physical tests that could result in catastrophic injuries (or death) if you are not in phenomenal shape both physically and mentally?
The EP world has a 7 day course; the PSD world has a 6 week course. You go through the course one time. In the EP world everyone makes it. In the PSD world most make it. There is no retest in EP. The PSD crew has a 2 week refresher every couple of years. Can you imagine 5 weeks of make it or go home every year? The attrition rate would be astronomical.
I write this as a cautionary tale to the all the chest beaters that claim they are super humans. Most state side EP details have little to no threat. The chances of engaging in a potential life or death situation are practically zero. The PSD world, on the other hand faces this very real danger far more often, both as a potential target of opportunity or as a direct attack on your principal.
I have been blessed to do both. And upon reflection I now realize that when I left Iraq that I was broken physically and mentally. My decision, made subconsciously to begin teaching probably saved my life and sanity. And the lives and sanity of the folks on my potential teams.
We can only do this stuff at a certain level for a finite period of time. Unlike the NFL, we don’t have mandatory 5 week tryouts again every year. We need to know when the time is right to step aside. Too many of us do not. The man in the mirror never lies.
Some of you will argue with me, it is okay. As I said most EP details don’t have the threat levels or stress levels of the war zones. Hell I survived 8 years on one state side EP gig. And then did a year in a war zone. Apples and oranges.
It is also the single biggest reason I prefer having former military spec op guys on my teams. I know they have been tested at levels that most civilians cannot fathom or comprehend. But, I digress.