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About Gavin de Becker & Associates

Gavin de Becker & Associates is a California corporation.

From Gavin de Becker:

Our clients have designed this firm. It is built to respond to their needs, and thus, it is always growing and changing. We have services today that none of us ever imagined 36 years ago; by the same token, we have resources today that would have seemed like science fiction back then.

Gavin de Becker & Associates is a very unusual firm. Our clients are a wide-ranging group: media figures, government agencies (including the U.S. Marshals Service and the Central Intelligence Agency), media companies, universities, giant corporations, cities, police departments, cultural figures, religious leaders, champion athletes, politicians, battered women’s shelters, and children’s schools. Clients include the world’s most famous and the world’s most anonymous.

Our people attend Presidential Inaugurations on one coast, the Oscars and the Emmys on the other. We have toured Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, the Middle East, and the South Pacific -learning about violence in those places. We’ve accompanied clients in hot-air balloons, armored limousines, riding on elephants and rickshaws, avoiding hostile crowds, and being smothered by adoring crowds. We’ve testified before Senate committees and toured secret government installations. We’ve had staff meetings while floating down a jungle river in the dead of night. We’ve ridden in presidential motorcades one week and in buses used to transport prisoners the next. We’ve been chased by tabloid reporters and we have chased them right back. We’ve been on both sides of 60 Minutes cameras, once hiding out with their crews for an expose on the National Enquirer, and another time answering Ed Bradley’s probing questions about a murder case. As I said, it is an unusual firm, one that could only exist in America and -in most regards- need only exist in America.

We are called upon by our government when some zealot shoots an abortion doctor or opens fire on federal employees. We are called by prosecutors to assist on major trials that involve stalking or the prediction of violence. We advise famous people who are the targets of would-be assassins, stalkers, unwanted pursuers, and intrusive news-gathering methods. We counsel cultural leaders on how to navigate between being hated too much and being loved too much. We advise corporations, universities, and government agencies on managing employees who might act out violently, and we help managers reduce unwarranted fear.

What binds all of this together is prediction and prevention of violence - and the management of fear.

Of all the weird ventures in America, would you ever have imagined a literal warehouse of alarming and unwelcome things that stalkers have sent to the objects of their pursuit? Would you have imagined that there is a building containing more than 500,000 obsessive and threatening communications? Many of my 520 associates work in just such a building, learning all they can about hazard, and helping clients manage risk.

Though fewer than 50 of our 46,000 cases have ever been reported in the news, and though most of our work is guardedly nonpublic, we have participated in many of the highest stakes predictions that individuals and nations ever make. For example, we designed the system used by the U.S. Supreme Court to screen threats to the Justices, and the system used as part of screening threats to members of Congress. To be the best at our work, I have committed to bringing together the best professionals. Just a few examples:

Michael LaFever, our firm’s president, has been with Gavin de Becker & Associates for 35 years. During his successful career with us, he also served with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Monica Police Department. Michael was the only civilian attendee at the CIA’s Threat Management Conference, he was a pilot’s instructor, and is much respected by our clients as a capable, reliable leader. He is a Principal in the firm.

Executive Vice President Joshua Dessalines has been with Gavin de Becker & Associates since 1996.  Before joining our firm, he led a highly successful Tactical Recovery Team for the US Marine Corps.  Leading our Protective Security Division, Josh directs the day-to-day logistics for protective operations.  He is a Principal in the firm.

Jeff Marquart, our firm’s Executive Vice President, has been with Gavin de Becker and Associates since 1995.  Prior to that, he led the security team for a leading Saudi family.  Along with Gavin de Becker and Michael LaFever, Jeff provides the firm’s high-level consultation on safety and privacy.  He advises public figures, Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, and universities.  Jeff is co-author of the much acclaimed book Just 2 Seconds: Using Time and Space to Defeat Assassins, based upon the study of more than 1,400 attacks and incidents involving public figures.  He is a sought after speaker and trainer, quoted in Forbes, Parade, and other National media.  Jeff is a Principal in the firm.

Vice President Robert Martin was Commanding Officer of the LAPD’s Detective Headquarters Division and also ran the elite Special Investigations Unit. Later, he founded LAPD’s Threat Management Unit, the first of its kind in the nation.

Ellen Prystajko has assessed and managed more than 4,000 cases of unwanted pursuit. She is trained in Social Ecology, specializing in Psychology and Social Behavior, and is a Certified Trauma Response Specialist.

Tom Taylor was President of the National Governor’s Security Association (1994, 1997), and is a respected expert and author on public figure protection. While with the Missouri State Police, he supervised the protection of several governors, and most recently, Tom headed up anti-terrorism programs for the Missouri State Police.

We have established ourselves as the pioneering leaders in the assessment and management of threats, inappropriate pursuit, stalking situations, and workplace violence. We designed workplace violence assessment programs for Boston University, Yale University, the University of California system, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and many other agencies. We have also designed assessment systems used to protect the governors of nine states.

MOSAIC® is used by the United States Supreme Court Police for threats against the Justices, and by the United States Capitol Police for screening threats directed toward members of Congress. The United States Marshals Service uses an assessment system designed by our office to evaluate threats to Federal Judicial officials.

We are experts and practitioners in the field of threat assessment who share our “in the trenches” experience (having managed over 46,000 cases) with other professionals through our training programs, and with government agencies, public figures, and corporations through our assessment services.

Because of the confidential nature of our work, we do not name private clients. Several public organizations, however, have encouraged us to use them as references.

I am proud of our staff, but most proud of this: Our first client in 1978 is still a client today. To maintain relationships that strong, I view myself as your representative at Gavin de Becker & Associates, responsible to be certain your needs are met with the most effective strategies and resources. I take the trust you’ve invested here very seriously, and I commit to re-earn your confidence every day.

Gavin de Becker