The Federal Protective Service (FPS), a component of the Protective and Programs Directorate within the Department of Homeland Security, provides essential law enforcement services to buildings, properties, facilities and other assets that are owned or leased by the federal government. There are more than 9,000 buildings and properties under the protection of the FPS.
As of fiscal year 2009, the FPS:
- Had 164 field offices within 11 regions
- Provided law enforcement and security services to more than 1.5 million visitors and employees
- Oversaw more than 5,000 security posts
Federal Protective Service Careers
The purpose of the FPS is to ensure that federal properties are safe and secure for the federal employees who work there and the guests and officials who visit them.
The FPS law enforcement professionals serve as a highly trained and multi-disciplined police force. The latest statistics show that there are 900 law enforcement police officers, criminal investigators, security officers, and support personnel working for the FPS, along with another 14,000 contract security guard personnel.
The mission of the professionals of the FPS is to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure and key resources as to ensure our nation’s public health, security, safety, and economic vitality. The law enforcement professionals of the FPA mitigate the risk to federal facilities and the people within them as to protect our nation’s way of life. This is done through the implementation of three, guiding principles that support the FPS’s short- and long-term goals:
- Stakeholder Service
- Technical Expertise
- Organizational Excellence
The FPS law enforcement professionals utilize a number of strategies to accomplish their mission of protecting federal properties and their occupants:
- Alarm systems
- Entry control systems
- Uniformed police response
The Primary Protective Services of the FPS are identified as:
- Designing countermeasures for tenant agencies
- Conducting security assessments
- Maintaining armed, contracted security guards
- Performing background checks for contract employees
- Maintaining centralized communication centers for facility alarm systems
The Additional Protective Services of the FPS include:
- Protecting special events
- Sharing intelligence with other local, state and federal agencies
- Conducting criminal investigations
- Coordinating with FEMA to provide natural disaster response services
- Special operations, including K-9 explosive detection
- Federal tenant training in areas such as occupant emergency planning and crime prevention
Joining the Federal Protective Service
Individuals interested in becoming part of the Federal Protective Service may do so through a number of professions, including:
Physical Security Specialists/Law Enforcement Security Officers (LESO) – LESOs, considered the backbone of the FPS workforce, are sworn law enforcement professionals and trained security experts who provide inspections and security assessments. They are also responsible for responding to crimes and overseeing the duties of contract guards.
Criminal Investigators – The criminal investigators of the FPS are special agents tasked with providing critical investigative services in response to criminal activity that occurs as federal facilities.
Employment and Training Requirements for Jobs with the Federal Protective Service
Similar to most federal law enforcement careers, individuals who want to become FPS security officers or criminal investigators must be able to meet specific, minimum requirements, which include being a United States citizen, being between the ages of 21 and 36 at the time of appointment, and being free of any felony convictions or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions. Further, candidates for FPS jobs must be able to successfully pass a comprehensive background investigation (to obtain a top-secret security clearance), drug screen, and medical examination.
A formal college education program is not a requirement for most FPS security positions; however, many candidates for federal law enforcement jobs choose to complete a four-year degree program as to best prepare for a career in this field. As such, typical bachelor degree programs for candidates for FPS jobs include: sociology, criminal justice, criminology, emergency management, homeland security, and police science.
Previous experience in law enforcement or security is not required for security positions with the FPS, although all law enforcement employees must be able to successfully complete a course of rigorous training at the FPS Academy within the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). FPS Academy training focuses on issues such as hazardous materials response, canine handling, and weapons of mass destruction.
Upon graduation from the FLETC, FPS hires must also complete additional, post-academy training, as well as career-continuous training, depending on their assignment within the FPS. All new hires, upon completion of their initial training, are assigned to one of the FPS offices throughout the country.