Looking Back: ISA and Dignitary & Executive Protection for Candidates Running for Elected Office

Dignitary & Executive Protection for Candidates Running for Elected Office

Here at ISA, we look back at our previous training programs and we evaluate them for three things,

  1. Was the curriculum properly designed to address the training needs of the students, and meet the requirements of our accreditation agencies?
  2. Did the course fully embrace our policy of including up to date technology, procedures, and equipment?
  3. Was the syllabus and training methods standardized against those of the federal training academies, both law enforcement, and military?

  January 2015: Dignitary protection training program in New Hampshire. Not exactly a high threat location, but New Hampshire with its first in the union primary hosts candidates for President and other serious VIPs every four years. And with the pending election cycle and the steady number of VIPs that visit the University of New Hampshire campus, former University of New Hampshire Police Detective Anthony DeFrancesco invited us to bring our accredited dignitary protection program to train local law enforcement.
 Hosted by Police Chief Joseph McGann at the Madbury Safety Complex, ISA and its guest instructors Andrew Peden, Paul Markey, and Rob Kelly conducted seven days of training both on and off campus and with the special assistance of UNH Student role players.


Did the course fully embrace our policy of including up to date technology, procedures, and equipment?

ISA believing drones would be a valuable tool to EP operations as well as a threat invited Paul Markey a local drone specialist and pilot to demonstrate the use of drones in EP and physical security. This demonstration included an introduction to the drone visor system, similar to the system used by attack helicopter gunners to aim and fire the weapons on the old AH-1 Cobra and AH-64 Apache. 

This commercially available system allows an agent to control the camera on the drone simply by looking around, and when at a suitable altitude the drone is all but invisible to those on the ground. For those who wish to use drones for a weapon, this system allows a pilot of a drone to aim and fly a drone into a target at speeds of 40 MPH or faster depending on the model of the drone. 


Was the curriculum properly designed to address the training needs of the students

 In 2015 we also felt agents were not completing medical threat assessments for their clients as recommended, especially on short-term details, so we invited Andrew J. Peden, MBA, NREMT-P, PPS  to give a briefing on medical threat assessments, effects of stress on the detail, and emergency response. 

 The effects of stress on the agents is often overlooked because of the “can do” attitude of the agents, but also because some EP providers want to maximize profits by extending work hours and not having a second shift. Why pay a second agent when you have one willing to work 18+ hours. But the disrupted sleep patterns, missed meals and constant state of alert of the agent causes an excessive level of stress that can be a danger to the client and the agents’ alike.    


Was the syllabus and training methods standardized against those of the federal training academies, both law enforcement, and military?

 For higher levels of threat, the use of K-9 explosive detection dogs is standard for law enforcement and the military, but what about the private sector? Often recommended, especially for political events and conventions, many agents don’t understand the work/rest requirements of the dogs.  So ISA invited Rob Kelly the President/CEO of Crusade K9 Academy LLC who was a student to give a briefing and demonstration on the use of K-9 in EP. The briefing was well received and valuable given the high level of political activity every four years across the state of New Hampshire. 


Now in 2018, we see drones being used as a tool for assassins and paparazzi as well as a method to smuggle drugs into prisons. And we have partnered with the North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy to further prepare our students to use and counter drones.

Political leaders and key supporters were targets of mail bombs this past October 2018 and we have seen explosives used in Boston, New Jersey, and New York since the class in 2015. Now K-9 use is almost a given in the private sector. 

Looking forward we will continue to prepare our students for the threats of the future, but never forgetting the lessons of the past. 

Originally Posted MAY 8, 2015

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