Most of the time we see bodyguards in movies, or television shows, and it looks like a very glamorous job. Actually, we have no clue as to the actual responsibilities their job entails. Of course, the United States Secret Service is one of the first occupations that comes to mind. They are highly trained officers, many of whom have combat experience. These agents are willing to lay their lives on the line, if necessary, to protect their President, his family, other Executive Officers, former Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
Weaponry that bodyguards may use depends on the jurisdiction where they work. Some may legally carry concealed handguns, batons, pepper spray, or taser guns. Others with more high-risk vocations may carry sub-machine guns or assault rifles. Specialized weapons such as sniper rifle and shotguns, may also be used to protect clients. Secret Service Counter Assault Teams are armed with a large variety of guns and rifles. Those in high-risk assignments also wear body-armor vests, and carry folded bullet-proof shields that look like briefcases. The United States Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security protects U.S. missions overseas. Officers that were agents of the U.S. Treasury Department are now assigned to the Department of Homeland Security.
Being a bodyguard involves all types of detailed work, such as pre-planning every trip or event their client has scheduled. They have to check out buildings, hotel rooms, backgrounds of people their client will be in contact with, and inspect the vehicles to be sure there are no bombs or other traps. Some bodyguards serve as drivers, but there are usually other bodyguards along, as well. There are close-protection officer ancillary units that check for IED’s and electronic “bugs.” Most politicians and dignitaries around the world require bodyguards.
Other types of bodyguards include those who protect their celebrity clients from paparazzi and stalkers. Lance Armstrong has had the same two bodyguards since 2000, Erwin Ballarta, and his partner, Serge Borlee. They are both well trained in defensive tactics. Ballarta is a defensive tactics instructor for the Texas Department of Public Safety, and has 22 years of law enforcement experience. Ballarta and Borlee have accompanied Armstrong on every Tour de France competition. They meet with local law enforcement ahead of time to map out the entire ride, locate medical stations and trauma doctors, and even run along beside him across the finish line for each stage of the race to protect him from overzealous fans, boisterous crowds, and/or some even wanting to do him harm.
Many private companies offer security for individuals on a continued basis or for special occasions. Their personnel may offer special cars, transportation, and take many other safety measures to protect their clients. It is amazing how many people worldwide require bodyguards and special security systems. The job requires being physically fit, having good hearing and vision, and available to work long hours. They are very dedicated to the duty of shielding their client, whether a dignitary, celebrity, or any other person in need of protection.
We should appreciate those people who have the expertise and are willing to keep others safe in a world that makes this such a necessity.