Bodyguards have been part of the lives of politicians, heads of state, celebrities, athletes and their families since the idea that any of these people may be in danger. Julius Caesar might have benefited from a few well-placed bodyguards. Timothy J. McCarthy took a bullet to the stomach in an effort to shield President Ronald Reagan from an assassination attempt in 1981. The United States Secret Service is a select group of bodyguards that are in charge of safeguarding the President. Another U.S. agency, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, is a specialized grouped of bodyguards that protect government personnel overseas, as well as the U.S. Ambassador, and the Secretary of State.
Bodyguards are more often being referred to more technically as “personal protection specialists” and are performing more duties than traditional bodyguards. Hollywood celebrity Britney Spears hired a bodyguard/nanny to help get her and two children around town. Many become more famous than the celebrities they protect and move on to have their own careers in television, movies, music and sports. Before his Oscar nomination for The Green Mile, Michael Clark Duncan worked as a bodyguard for such celebrities of Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J.
With the increasingly public lives of celebrities and politicians, bodyguards are in much higher demand. Many public figures employ several bodyguards, either through private employ or via an agency. The clients of a bodyguard are usually seeking protection from kidnappers, paparazzi, stalkers and anyone wishing hard, or even death on them. Though safety is the first priority of a bodyguard, privacy is a close second. Public figures will employ bodyguards to shield them and their families from the prying eyes of the media and gawkers.
A bodyguard does more than simply defend their client from danger when it occurs. They will also plan the client’s schedule in a way that will protect their safety and privacy. This often involves attending special training courses to help know how to handle certain situations. These classes may range from self-defense and defending the client to public relations and schedule coordination. Today’s bodyguard wears many hats and is not just size and muscle.
Knowing how to handle the paparazzi is one attribute that many celebrities and public figures find an absolute necessity in a bodyguard. Because safety is important but so is image, it can reflect poorly on a person in the public eye if their bodyguard is physically violent toward every photographer or well-wishing fan. A good bodyguard knows when it is ok to allow for photographs and autographs and when to hold the crowd off. It is not always necessary to get verbally or physically violent toward potential threats, so it is important that a bodyguard knows how to handle the different situations.
Particularly for politicians and public governmental officials, it is important that a bodyguard is able to perform security sweeps of the surroundings. This means home, office, vehicle, hotel, airplane and anywhere else they may be spending their time. The bodyguard and security staff will also secure the location and carefully screen anyone attempting to come in. In the current climate of suicide bombers, car bombs and threats, a government official cannot afford not to be careful.
Whether it is driving a vehicle to escape paparazzi or threatening pursuers or simply as a status symbol, bodyguards are a prominent part of the celebrity culture. The good ones today know how to act, how to dress, can hold up their end of a conversation and is a hundred percent committed to protecting their client. Anything less can cost the client their privacy, safety, and even their life.