Executive Protection Academy

Executive Protection Academy

Executive Protection: the fatal resistance to change

On Sunday, March 17, there was yet another tragic event for our profession. The Pátzcuaro regional commissioner of the Michoacán Public Security Secretariat, México Cristal García Hurtado, and two of her bodyguards lost their lives in a brutal attack on the Zirahuén-San Juan Tumbio highway.

The victims were ruthlessly murdered, and after turning on the patrol car they were in, their bodies were decapitated. This act of violence took place near the town of Santa Ana Chapitiro.

According to official sources, an armed group intercepted them, forced them to get out of the vehicle and killed them. The commissioner was decapitated in this tragic event.

This unfortunate incident is one in a series of attacks that have occurred over the past 19 months. During this time, in Mexico alone, 15 executives and 31 of their escorts have been killed. The executives and their escorts have been massacred in each attack, even when accompanied by up to 10 agents armed with long guns.

Reflecting on what went wrong in this case, the answer is simple: the same thing that went wrong in the 14 previous cases. Executive Protection is conceived and practiced only as armed escorts who follow the protégé around without any strategy, waiting to react at the last moment.

Improvisation, ignorance and a good dose of arrogance that assumes that one knows what one does not know, generate these disastrous results. Victims are accumulating and it is still not understood that executive protection must take place far from the protected, both in time and space. For this the most important tool is proper communication and persuasion of the executive to achieve actions that reduce their risks. Once this is achieved, intelligence, counterintelligence, counter-surveillance, protective logistics, early warning and everything that reduces the vulnerability and accessibility of the executive to different threats must be known and applied. It is very unfortunate that, despite the number of victims, it is still not understood that changes in executive protection have no alternative. Only in this way can we make this profession safer for both protectees and protectors.