But what if I told you there was a national standard? What if a national standard has existed for years right under our nose and we simply didn’t see it?
Well, surprise, there is a national standard and we as an industry just need to officially recognize it. Where did it come from? Well if you look at two different federally accredited and one state regulatory-approved training program that most respected civilian training programs have used as their model, you can extrapolate the curriculum that is “standard”.
When ISA course designers were in the ISD process of curriculum development we looked at the US Army Advanced Law Enforcement Training Centers Protective Service Operations Course and reviewed the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers 11-day PSTOP course, and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Personal Protective Specialist Course.
What we found in all three programs were similar topics and training methods. For instance, all three covered some form of the history of protective services. This included writing a paper or preparing a presentation for a case study. All three included legal and regulatory briefings and a block of instruction on professional ethics and protocol.
Classes on operations and planning include threat assessments, open-source intelligence operations, risk mitigation planning, and establishing the cordons of protection to include both personal protection and physical security measures. Advance work and site surveys are universal as are arrivals and departures, walking formations, and emergency reaction drills, so where is the confusion?
Of course, longer programs have surveillance and counter-surveillance training and at a minimum basic medical, CPR, AED, First aid, and introduction to motorcade operations. So again, where is the confusion as to what constitutes a standard EP training program? If these are the common topics in all three programs, and all three programs were designed using the ISR process and then approved and accredited by agencies such as FLETA, DOD, State law enforcement agencies and bodies of higher education and most importantly civilian training providers claim to copy these courses then I would suggest that a program with these topics is in fact following a national standard.
Now how do we move forward with recognition of this curriculum as the “standard”? Well, first we find a national security industry association that is not staffed by training providers with their own bias and motives. We voluntarily adhere to this “standard” and build upon it, make it our own, and make it better. The end-users, the clients, and hiring managers need to say this is the minimum acceptable standard as well and I figure the normal market forces will take over from there.
Now, one big caveat, there are those schools that conduct an introduction to EP and some are more buffets with a little of everything thrown in. These programs have a place and are a great first step for those undecided about becoming EP agents. I would encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing and be as unique as they can.
Other programs are regional in their design, intended to meet the needs of their clients in a specific geographic area. Those are also highly recommended because they may not cover one of the listed “standard” topics, but what they do cover is focused on the needs of the clients and the agents serving them.
In the end unfortunately some schools have added so much fluff to fill in the time and to justify the cost of attending that a standard curriculum like this would cost them money. Of course, instructors would need to be certified to teach this standard material, and we all know the anti-regulation folks will never accept even the appearance of a national standard or instructor certification. That would infringe on their rights to teach nonsense at an obscene amount of tuition. I mean horseback riding, mountain climbing, and topographical map reading are all critical skillsets for an agent in say Boston or LA. SMH..
No, my industry peers, we can have all the surveys from well-meaning organizations and review the years of data from classrooms across the country, but in the end, it will be about the money and until the clients and hiring managers demand a certain basic level of formal training we will only see lip service to standards and certification and no real progress. But that is ok…
It’s ok because ISA will continue to re-evaluate our program against the needs of the client, the requirements of hiring managers and because students need a basic foundation of training before they take horseback riding lessons.