The best at preparing for the worst
By RANDY GONZALES
Mark d'Augereau, a 30-year police veteran, is in charge of the investigative division and the SWAT team for the Ottawa Police Department.
On the side, he also owns Extreme Defensive Options, a pair of firing ranges that began at his house, where he teaches weapons training.
Among other pursuits, d'Augereau also has been a bodyguard, trained law enforcement agencies and the military, and has fought the drug war against the Mexican drug cartel.
Post-9/11, the security business is booming, d'Augereau said Tuesday at Fort Hays State University, where he lectured a criminal justice class then instructed a pair of self-defense classes.
"It's a hot market, as far as what we do now," d'Augereau said. "Security should be everybody's concern.
"The U.S. is starting to be the target of a lot of different countries," he added. "If you look at the way the embassies are starting to get hit around the world, they just don't like Americans. Sooner or later, I think that's going to come back home."
That's where d'Augereau comes in. He specializes in handgun training at the firing ranges behind his house.
"People need to take charge of themselves, take charge of their own security, their family's security," he said. "It's just preparedness.
"We've seen this before, back in the nuclear age, when everybody was building bomb shelters; we're just going through a different version of it."
His three-bedroom home in the wide-open spaces is like anybody else's -- except for the armor plating in the walls and the bullet-proof glass. Oh, there's the safe room, too, and weapons strategically placed throughout the house, which is built three-quarters underground. There's only one road in and one road out, plus a helipad. That's mainly used by people he contracts with, and in case emergency transport to a hospital is needed.
In his line of business, d'Augereau wants to be prepared for anything that might come his way.
"Everybody says, are you paranoid?" d'Augereau said. "I don't know, do you carry a spare in your car? You're not paranoid you're going to have a flat; you're prepared if you have a flat.
"Same with me. I'm prepared (if) I'm going to be in a gun battle in the middle of my house."
A World Karate Hall of Fame inductee, d'Augereau's expertise has landed him jobs choreographing fight scenes in films, most notably "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."
"I enjoy that; it's a lot of fun," he said.
With the students, he had one main lesson he wanted to impart.
"This group here, they need to continue their education and finish their college degrees," he said. "Once they get into it, it opens up a key into the law enforcement world."
It's a world d'Augereau has been involved in for many years. He has been in some hot spots.
"A while back, took a team down to Mexico, played with the cartels a little bit," he said. "That's a nasty place. I've been around Third World countries, but Mexico is different."
Tuesday was d'Augereau's 49th birthday, and it's time to slow down, he said.
"What I want to do is curtail a lot of my traveling activities, which is why I have the ranges at the residence," he said. "I just want to basically stay home, teach full-time; that's a civilian range as well as a unit training range."
Talks such as the one he gave Tuesday are enlightening -- and not just for the students.
"I do enjoy getting around and talking to the people, hearing opinions, because that is how we gather intelligence," he said.
No secrets were revealed Tuesday.
"My active stuff is somewhat protected," d'Augereau said. "I'm not telling you everything; I'm telling you what I can, what's been released."