Private security companies gear up for DNC

Private security companies gear up for DNC


by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 12:18 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Security experts preparing for the Democratic National Convention say vigilance by security teams and the public are the keys to keeping people and events safe.

The list of DNC events is pages long and takes place at locations like hotels, restaurants, museums, theaters and stages.

Those are places Karl de la Guerra, Chief Operating Officer with Metro Special Police and Security, calls “soft targets” needing protection during the DNC.

"Any place you’d have a large venue gathering,” de la Guerra said.  “A large venue where you buy a ticket or walk freely into and gather with others.”

Metro Special Police and Security is working several locations for the DNC, but is not saying where.

On Thursday de la Guerra spoke to fellow security specialists preparing for the DNC.  His message is to remain vigilant, especially in easy access areas, because crime and trouble is like water.

"It's going to take the path of least resistance,” de la Guerra said.

He gave NewsChannel 36 an example of what his crews are looking at and looking for. 

Imagine a line of people standing outside waiting to get into a DNC event.

"If it's cold outside and no one is perspiring, why is this individual perspiring?  If it's a relaxed environment they happen to be in and everyone is standing with their hands in their pockets, why is this one person pacing? If it's hot outside, why is this one person wearing a heavy coat,” said de la Guerra.

He says people’s behaviors set them apart from the crowd.

That’s why he recommends paying attention to security rules and going by the rule of thumb so prevalent post 9-11, which is being aware of your surroundings.

"That's how you find the briefcase that gets set down on the ground and the person walking away in the middle of a crowd of thousands.  It's the individual vigilance,” de la Guerra said.

Private security specialist preps for DNC, keeping politicians, celebrities safe

His name is Gary Pastor.  He’s a legally-armed, former Marine, former police officer and current private investigator and security specialist with a black belt in martial arts.

He’s the kind of guy you just don't mess with.

His job during the DNC is protecting a politician, business executive or celebrity, but he won’t say who.

Pastor did talk about his job and what he’s looking at.  The example is a politician shaking hands with the crowd.

"We're watching the buildings.  We're watching the bushes, every person that walks by, everybody that shakes a hand, somebody that is trying to move through the crowd quickly,” Pastor said.

His goal is staying as low-profile as possible—get your guy from point A to point B unharmed.

Pastor says there will be a lot of those in the crowd during the DNC.

“[We] might be out there in a pair of shorts and a fishing shirt, looking like we're trying to shake a politician's hand also.  But our job is really within this distance from you, make sure you're protected, whatever that takes,” Pastor said.

The way Pam Lamberson figures it, if someone is going to be armed and dangerous in Charlotte during the DNC, better Pastor than a troublemaker.

"If he's armed and dangerous and protecting me and the people I live and work with, that's fine with me,” Lamberson said.

Pastor says he reacts to things he sees in the crowd, but also relies upon intuition, year’s worth of training and experience and even the look in people's eyes when it comes to making split second security decisions.