Hoping to be boy in blue
FROM parties with Hollywood wild child Paris Hilton to sailing the Med-iterranean with the daughter of a British billionaire, former bodyguard Jon Shanks has seen it all.
But after years of protecting a high-profile British billionaire, who cannot be named due to a confidentiality agreement, Mr Shanks has happily waved goodbye to the 36-hour international shifts to settle at Federal, with a hope of becoming a police officer.
He will be one of many potential police recruits to attend the Queensland Police recruitment seminar at the Lismore Workers Club today.
Like many young Aussies, Mr Shanks ended up in London in 1999 with a full passport and hardly a penny to his name after travelling the world. He picked up a gig as asecurity guard at department store giant, Harrods.
Not long after he became the personal bodyguard to the British billionaire, following his every move around the world.
“There was a nightclub in New York called Bungalow 8 where we would go and you would walk in and Bruce Willis and Benito Del Toro would be having a beer. It was like walking into the Beach Hotel and seeing two builders having a beerafter work,” he said.
“The boss was big on loyalty. When he called you answered, but if you needed something and had the guts to ask, then he did it.
“There was one bodyguard and he and his wife were trying to get pregnant and the boss heard about it so he paid for IVF for her for a long time until they had success.”
Mr Shanks also looked after his boss’s indulgent daughter, which was a testing experience.
“She had you fly by the seat of your pants,” he said. “She would say, ‘Oh, Kings of Leon is on I want to go’. So you would try to get tickets and it had been sold out for six months.”
But after managing to get tickets to the rock band’s sold-out concert in front of tens of thousands of people, the girl, who stood side stage, asked Mr Shanks if they could turn the sound down as it was “too loud”.
“She would fly by private jet everywhere and the only time she didn’t was when dad needed the jet,” he said.
But while there were plenty of perks to the job, it took a toll on his personal life.
“It cost me my marriage,” he said.
“I was away from home so much my wife ended up getting a boyfriend. The demise of my marriage was due entirely to my job.”
Looking forward, Mr Shanks said the idea of doing something in the community was why he wanted to be a police officer.
“There is room for promotion and you can go as far as you want to,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind doing something for someone who said thanks once in a while.”