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Securing celebs' safety is a booming business

March 20, 2005

By Hilary Kramer

Robert Tucker’s phone should be ringing off the hook this week. The CEO of T&M Protection Resources already guards the likes of Madonna and Wall Street’s top power players. And now, on the heels of David Letterman’s kidnapping scare, his client roster is likely to swell.

Already, T&M has emerged as a top shop in private security, with Tucker’s influence entending from celebrities to Rudy Giuliani, who made a bid to buy Tucker’s firm last year.

T&M’s rise coincides with the increased demand for private security services such as bodyguards, background checks and forensic investigations. Global security is a $25 billion industry, reports C.E. Uterberg, Towbin analyst Scott Greiper. It will continue to grow with the increase in corporate scandals and widespread terrorism concerns. “The days of guarding buildings with just security officers are over,” said Tucker. “Post-9/11, our world encompasses investigation, crisis management and proactive security programs.”

That swelling demand means big paychecks—and rapid business expansion— for security professionals. Already, safety gurus such as such as Giuliani, former New York Police Department commissioner Howard Safir and even tough cop Bo Dietl have seen success with their own private security shops.

As for Tucker, his firm’s revenues have grown a whopping 1,000 percent to more than $30 million since he bought T&M from two former New York City detectives in 1998. He now has 550 staffers on his payroll and employs more NYPD off-duty and retired officers than any other single organization.

In 2004, Tucker acquired Forensic Investigations Associates, and he continues to build through smaller acquisitions and highlevel hiring. He recently tapped former Secret Service agent Joseph Russo to head T&M’s Executive Protection and Explosive Detection Canine Services. During his time at the White House, Russo was special agent in charge of security for former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Tucker, 34, says much of the security industry’s growth is driven by post-9/11 legislation requiring evacuation drills and preparedness plans. The wiretapping industry is up 100 percent since the attacks, while video surveillance, which was growing at only 6 percent annually before 9/11, is now growing at 30 percent a year said Greiper. “Our consulting businesses has really spiked these past four years,” said Tucker. “We are doing emergency preparedness drills and vulnerability assessments because of the threats coming out of Al Qaeda.”

A former special assistant to Richard Brown, the district attorney of Queens, Tucker has embarked on an nontraditional career—especially given his family’s background. His grandfather, a former Rabbinic Cantor in Brooklyn and one of America’s top tenors, was Richard Tucker, a principal artist at the Met.

But Robert Tucker is singing a different tune: his day includes bomb-sniffing dogs, forensic investigators, sharp shooters and martial arts experts.

He is tough and secretive, driven around the streets of New York in a low-profile SUV with tinted windows. A Lehman Brothers employee says that he knows that Tucker’s firm is on the payroll, but that the scope of their work is a mystery. However, everyone seems to be aware that his men are around and protecting the firm from the inside out.