Traveling In the United States
When setting up to travel within the United States I look at all of the cities and states we will be visiting and call up and speak to the different departments. They have been uniformly appreciative of the outreach and offered services anywhere from free increased patrols in our area for a fee either with uniformed or plain clothes officers to join the team in the local area. At minimum they will alter all of the officers on duty on our schedule so if a call of suspicious behavior comes in they are ready and able to check with us to see if we are the cause for the alarm. The American populace has no problem calling a local police department if they see anything suspicious or out of order.
Unlike traveling to Mexico and Venezuela where the police are part of the problem, the police in the United States have been excellent in their assistance with the Gray men.
We try not to travel with any weapons. The laws are specific from state to state and location to location. As I had mentioned in a previous post a concealed carry permit in New York State and New York City, the two different permits, still does not allow you to carry a weapon in any of the NYNY Port Authority controlled areas – it’s all too confusing and apt for a foreigner – meaning anyone from out of state, let alone out of country to make a mistake.
Traveling around certain cities can be very difficult. What can take 5 minutes at 2:00 am may take an hour during rush hour. It is best to look at maps and congestion travel times to best manage the time demands of your charge and to share with the charge the travel times. Sometimes walking is the best and quickest way to travel.
Mass transit is another efficient, but decidedly less glamorous way to travel. Subways in New York, trollies in Portland, CTA in Chicago or the Washington DC Metro all are excellent systems. All mass transit is quicker during rush hour than private cars in these cities. But it also presents a certain challenge about getting a team through all of turn styles in a coordinate fashion. Day or week use passes should be purchased to cover the times and days of travel in advance. Dealing with crowded travel venues, are more difficult and require a bit of pre-travel choreography on entering stations, shoving the entire teams way on to a rail car and then ensuring everyone gets off at the right stop at the right time. It is also worth the effort to scout the trains to figure out what cars are the least used so a team of people can enter and exit with as little fuss as possible, as well as to scout stations to know which entrance and exit are the best choices.
America is a big country with significant regional differences. Language and culture differ from north to south and east to west. People love their politics and sports and home towns. The cliché that Americans do not travel belie the facts that now over 40% of Americans have passports and the educated regularly travel overseas. The impact of Latin American and Asian immigration shows a changing face to America. Yet even after one generation, while their looks may be not European, their thinking and approach to life is decidedly American. You cannot tell by looking at anyone in the country who is an American and who is not an American. It is a fascinating place to visit and travel.
Lastly, no-one is asking anyone for their ID papers. It is a ludicrous fallacy perpetrated by a media that has slow news days. With a team that spoke English with heavy accents: Ukrainian, Russian, English, Irish – all we very curious to know more about us, our countries and with us nothing but the best with a grand welcome to the USA.
If your charge is thinking about travel to the USA, please let us know, we can be of assistance in some advanced planning and sharing our resources with you. Working an Executive Protection team in the USA is not easy, if you are not prepared, but with knowing how to prepare it can become a very rewarding trip for the Executive Protection Professionals as well as their charge.
This Executive Protection article was written or edited by Baron James Shortt, the Executive Director of the IBA. http://www.ibabodyguards.com