The United States Secret Service (USSS) can trace their beginnings to the U.S Civil War (USSS, 2016). In 1865, the USSS was formed to investigate the growing threat of counterfeiting U.S. currency and was an agency of the United States Department of Treasury (USSS, 2016).
In 1894, the USSS began the mission of protecting the U.S. President, but only on an informal and part-time status (USSS, 2016).
On September 6, 1901, President William McKinley was shot twice in the abdomen in an assassination attempt at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, NY (USSS, 2016). On September 14, 1901, President William McKinley died from complications (gangrene) from the bullet wound (USSS, 2016).
Shortly after the assassination of President William McKinley, the U.S. Congress requested that the USSS provide fulltime protection for the President of the United States (USSS, 2016).
In 1922, the White House Police Force was established at the request of President Warren Harding (USSS, 2016). The White House Police Force is the present day Uniformed Division of the USSS (USSS, 2016).
In 1953, the USSS established the first formal Special Agent Training School. The focus of training and study was on investigation techniques and protective/security details (USSS, 2016).
Protecting the President and Diplomatic Missions
One of the darkest days in the history of USSS occurred on November 22, 1963, with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, TX (USSS, 2016).
In 1965, the U.S. Congress passed legislation (Public Law 89-141) making it a federal crime to attempt the assassination of the U.S. President (USSS, 2016).
In 1970, The White House Police Force was renamed the Executive Protective Service with increased responsibility to protect diplomatic missions in Washington, DC. Also in 1970, the first female uniformed officer (Phyllis Shantz) was hired for the USSS Executive Protective Service (USSS, 2016).
In 1971, The USSS established the James J. Rowley Training Center and the first female Special Agents became part of USSS history (USSS, 2016).
In 1977, the Executive Protective Service was officially renamed the Secret Service Uniformed Division (USSS, 2016).
On March 30, 1981, in Washington, DC, President Ronald Reagan was shot during an assassination attempt (USSS, 2016). USSS Special Agent Timothy McCarthy was shot while protecting President Reagan (USSS, 2016).
Sacrifice, Service, and Adjusting to Threats
On April 19, 1995, six (6) USSS personnel were killed in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (USSS, 2016). As a result of this terrorist attack in OK, the USSS was authorized to close streets near the White House to provide additional protection from possible car bombs (USSS, 2016).
On September 11, 2001, Craig J. Miller of the USSS was killed in the World Trade Center Terrorist attacks at the New York Field Office that was housed in Building 7 of the WTC (USSS, 2016).
In 2004, the first female Deputy Director of the USSS was sworn in (USSS, 2016). In 2013, the first female Director Julia A. Pierson took over the leadership of the USSS (USSS, 2016).
The USSS has earned the reputation of one of the best federal law enforcement agencies in the nation. The dedication, professionalism, and integrity of the Special Agents and Uniformed Division of the USSS will continue to shine as they perform their mission and work as a law enforcement team to help protect our nation.
United States Secret Service (USSS). (2016). The USSS history. Retrieved from http://www.secretservice.gov/about/history/events/
About the Author
Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 33 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. As a lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an assistant professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.