The United States Secret service is a federal law enforcement agency whose inception dates back in 1865. The agency is a distinct organization within Department of Homeland Security with it’s headquartering in Washington DC (Reese, 2). Prior to 2003 it was part of the United States treasury department. With more than 150 local and foreign offices secret service has a twin responsibility of protection and criminal investigations. Members of the secret service are either in the special agent or uniformed divisions.
The criminal investigation roles of the secret service have expanded since its inception. Initially secret service was formed to investigate the counterfeiting, forging and altering of the United States currency. Today its investigation operations covers the financial crimes, computer fraud, identify theft, banking and telecommunication infrastructure attack among many others (Melanson and Stevens, 333). Similarly the agency’s protection role has also evolved from the part time protection of president Grover Cleveland in 1894 to include round the clock protection of the president, Vice president, their families and other identified personality and sites (Reese, 10).
The uniformed division of the secret service was started in 1922, but was integrated fully into the secret service in 1930 (The U.S. National Archives & Records Administration, 2). The uniformed division is mainly responsible for the protection of the white house, the residence of the vice president and foreign diplomatic mission located in Washington DC. With more than 1300 officers the uniformed division carries out its protective duties through counter sniper support unit, canine explosive detection unit, emergency response team and metal detectors.
With 140 years of experience service is arguably the oldest and the most sophisticated law enforcement agent in the world. Its role has continued to evolve especially due to emergence of new and sophisticated crime such as cyber crime and terrorism. Despite increased cost of law enforcement the agency continues to carry out its mandate exceptionally well (US department of Homeland security, 2).
Philip H. Melanson, and Peter F. Stevens, 2002 The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency, p. 333.
Shawn Reese 2009The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions Retrieved November 2011
The U.S. National Archives & Records Administration, “Records of the U.S. Secret Service,” website available at
http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/087.html. Retrieved November 2011
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, “United States Secret Service: National Threat Assessment Center,” available at http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac.shtml. Retrieved November 2011
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, “United States Secret Service: Secret Service History,”
Website available at http://www.secretservice.gov/history.shtml. Retrieved November 2011