Secret Service agents are highly trained and skilled professionals who, in the field of federal law enforcement, are present in a number of investigative and protective situations, from uncovering credit card fraud and counterfeit currency to protecting the President and Vice President of the United States.
The work of Secret Service agents is not just reserved for the most high-profile metropolises and states across the country. In fact, even in seemingly innocuous places, real threats to our nation’s infrastructure and financial systems take place daily. When these threats raise their head in Arkansas, the highly skilled federal law enforcement professionals of the Secret Service respond.
The Secret Service at Work in Arkansas
Cybercrimes – In August 2011 it was discovered that a group calling themselves “Anonymous” hacked into more than 70 law enforcement websites across the U.S., including Arkansas. The group stole data, including confidential information from local law enforcement agencies in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi.
Terrorism – Another high-profile incident took place in October 2013 when an Arkansas man was arrested on several counts of sabotaging power grids and destroying an energy facility.
Financial Crimes – The Secret Service has more than 117 field offices in the United States alone, including one in Little Rock, Arkansas (501-324-6241). Within the Little Rock field office, a number of special agents are involved in the Financial Crimes Task Force (FCTF), a cooperative effort between the Secret Service and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The Little Rock FCTF is one of 38 FCTFs throughout the country.
Meeting Requirements for a Secret Service Career in Arkansas
Special agents in Arkansas are highly revered for their knowledge, expertise, and skills. It is therefore no surprise that this federal agency demands only the most qualified candidates to become part of its elite team of special agents. Candidates can qualify at the GL-7 (entry) level one of three ways:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a GPA of at least 3.5 in all courses related to their major and a 3.0 overall GPA
- A full year of graduate-level study beyond a bachelor’s degree
- At least one full year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level, which includes work in investigations, surveillance, undercover operations, or the organization of evidence for prosecution officials
Many qualify for Secret Service jobs in Arkansas with a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. There is no specified area of study, but fields related to criminal justice and police science are most common. For example, a bachelor’s degree in Criminology is designed to prepare students for a career in law enforcement through a practical, theory-based education that focuses in social and cultural issues, human behavior, and communication and leadership. Topics of study in a Criminology degree may include:
- Criminal Deviance
- Crime Analysis
- Decision Making and Problem Solving
- Professional Ethics in Criminology
- Psychology of Crime
- Criminal Profiling
- Homeland Security
- Perspectives on Terrorism
Candidates who meet all minimum qualifications for employment should expect to undergo rigorous pre-employment process, which includes obtaining a top-secret clearance, pass panel interviews, and pass the Treasury Enforcement Agency examination, as well as a report writing test.
The Selection Process and Training Requirements
Due to the highly sensitive and confidential nature of a career as a special agent with the Secret Service, the selection and pre-employment process are detailed and comprehensive. Candidates can expect to complete a written test, a physical abilities test, a medical examination, a psychological examination, and a structured interview as part of their pre-employment process.
Once hired by the Secret Service, all new agents must complete an exhaustive period of training. The initial training period, which is conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in Georgia, is 11 weeks in length. Upon the completion of initial training, all new agents must complete an additional 17 weeks of training, which is located at the James J. Rowley Training Center, outside of Washington D.C.