When we see Suri Cruise clutching her blankie when paparazzi swarm as she and Katie get out of a car to go to a bakery, we wonder how Katie must feel about her daughter's safety. How can she be assured that some crazed fan or overly agressive photog doesn't invade their personal space and hurt her precious daughter?
According to Aaron Cohen, author of "Brotherhood of Warriors," and managing Director of IMS Security, when kids are involved it's a numbers game. Aaron, whose firm has protected celebs like Brad Pitt, Kate Moss, and Jackie Chan says, "The most important thing is to make sure there's enough guards. There must be an adequate buffer to guard overly aggressive paps from a child." Cohen, 32, is a Beverly Hills High School graduate and the only American to have served in Israel's top counter terrorist unit. His firm, IMS, is a security consulting firm that specializes in protecting politicians, business execs, Hollywood actors and rock stars, and offers counter terrorist training to the United States military, local state police departments, and to various SWAT units around the country.
Momlogic sat down with Cohen and got the inside scoop on what it takes to protect these famous tots:
momlogic: What kind of person do you hire for security detail for the kid of a celebrity?
Aaron Cohen: We hire the same kind of person to take care of children that we would have for anyone else. Safety comes first. We 're not a headhunting, nanny, or babysitting service. We've been hired and retained to protect these individuals form harm. Having said that, I will always keep an eye out for protective agents who are stable that might have children -- or who come from situations that already involve kids. That pre-built understanding of how dynamics work is often beneficial as long as safety fis irst. Security of family is our number one priority.
ML: We've all seen videos of Britney holding Jayden and Sean Preston while the paparazzi literally attack them as they get out of their car. How are you able to physically protect the child without shoving or hurting them?
AC: We only work with clientele who, when they retain us, understand that our services are based on our consultation. We will not work with anyone who will not listen. For example, Britney Spears goes shopping -- she needs to make sure she has enough physical human manpower on that security detail to create enough of a buffer so that the security actually works. If we are out with Kate (Moss), there will be enough manpower to make sure that we can protect her from paparazzi or anyone that might show up at that particular place.
ML: How involved in the child's day-to-day life does your team get? Do they change diapers? Bottles? Hold them? Put them down for naps?
AC: Our involvement is limited, we try to maintain professional distance. The reason is that we need to be able to maintain a strict involvement with the security process and nothing else. The moment we become the nanny or housekeeper, security layering will soften. The majority of security in Hollywood, more often than not, come from less than professional standards. Relationships with key people (agents, managers and friends of a celeb) more often than not, will dictate who gets involved in security and the people from those camp have limited knowledge of what the standard will be.
ML: Is there a certain protocol or approach when handling a child out in public?
AC: There is no specific protocol when handling child in public. The protocol is to maintain the highest level of safety for children and family -- to have a high level of awareness -- being able to escalate and de-escalate situationss accordingly, knowing the area and having good plans in place wherever they are gong with children.
ML: Have you ever been in a situation where the child is scared or freaking out from all the commotion? What do you do to avoid this from happening?
AC: If the kid is scared, we try to remove them from situation. We try and do our best to minimize the amount of exposure and increase the amount of privacy by planning alternate routes, a back entrance, decoy vehicles and unconventional methods of being able to avoid the photogs in a non-confrontational way.
ML: How can celebrities and their kids have somewhat normal lives -- take their children to places like Disneyland or the zoo (places that kids should go!) without having their safety compromised?
AC: When there are children involved, if you're in a public place like Disneyland or Knotts you want to coordinate with their security teams. You go in to these venues with a game plan. The more information that you can quietly share with the security teams at the public venues, the more effective the security will be because these people have knowledge of this property structure -- they have maps, they have access to the bowels and tunnels, they can help us move us through the park freely while maintaining a low profile.
ML: Can you give us an example or two of some of the scariest incidents/exchanges you've had involving a child of a celebrity?
AC: I've never had any. We're always very cautious with kids. Most A-list celebs (as far as Hollywood goes) are very aware of their situation. They know what it means when they go out. The celebs are very appreciative of great ideas to keep things low-key and when they see how clever and dedicated we are -- they thank us for being able to go out and do something without getting noticed.
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