Protecting our nation’s highest elected officials and their families may be one of the most high-profile jobs of the United States Secret Service agents based in Colorado, but this federal law enforcement agency conducts a number of behind-the-scenes investigations, as well. These criminal investigations are mainly in the areas of currency counterfeiting, credit card fraud, computer fraud, forgery, or theft of U.S. bonds, currency or other securities.
The Secret Service has nearly 120 field offices throughout the United States, including one located in Denver (303-850-2700).
Minimum Employment Requirements
Basic Qualifications – Individuals applying for Secret Service agent jobs in Colorado must be able to meet a number of requirements. Specifically, individuals must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 21 years of age but under the age of 37 at the time a conditional offer is extended
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Have no worse than 20/60 uncorrected vision, corrected to 20/20
- Have no misdemeanor domestic violence convictions
- Have no felony convictions
Bachelor’s Degree – Candidates may qualify for Secret Service jobs by possessing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, provided they can show proof of achieving superior academic achievement, which includes:
- Achieving a 3.0 overall GPA, either upon graduation or in the last two years of the program
- Achieving a 3.5 GPA in all courses related to their major
- Graduating in the top third of their graduating class
- Serving as a member of a national scholastic honor society
A bachelor’s degree in criminology, for example, is designed to provide students with a critical analysis of the social, political, and environmental factors that drive crime, such as criminal behavior, its causes, and its impact on society. Some of the topics within a criminology degree include:
- Introduction to Forensic Science
- Criminal Deviance
- Criminology Research Methods
- Crime Analysis
- Psychology of the Criminal Mind
- Decision Making and Problem Solving in Criminology
- Criminal Profiling
- Professional Ethics in Criminology
Individuals who cannot meet these requirements may qualify if they possess at least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level or if they have completed at least one full year of graduate-level study.
Training Requirements – If chosen as a candidate to become a special agent with the Secret Service in Colorado, applicants must complete a rigorous pre-employment process, which includes successfully completing a written examination, a physical assessment, a polygraph examination, a drug screening, and a medical examination.
Upon being hired as a special agent with the Secret Service, individuals are required to attend an 11-week training program through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. This course, called the Criminal Investigator Training Program, provides study in investigative techniques and criminal law, while also providing a foundation for 16 weeks of agent-specific training, which takes place at the James J. Rowley Training Center near Washington D.C.
Secret Service Investigative Missions in Colorado
A December 2010 audit found that Colorado’s computer systems were at “high risk” of an online attack, according to a cyber-security firm hired to test the state agencies’ systems. The audit found that 12 out of 20 agencies failed to pass the security measures required by the State’s Office of Cyber Security, as required by law. As the problem of cyber-security grows, the need for investigate agencies, such as the U.S. Secret Service, to combat the threats will undoubtedly grow, as well.
The July 2011 arrest of a Fort Collins man revealed the extent to which cyber-attacks have become a threat to Colorado’s state agencies, organizations, companies, and its infrastructure. The man was working as part of a group called “Anonymous,” which successfully carried out a planned attack on PayPal. The attack was designed to overwhelm the system and send false donations.
Secret Service agents are also responsible for investigating incidences of counterfeit currency. In December 2013, for example, agents successfully seized $20,000 in counterfeit currency throughout the state. With the help of local law enforcement agencies, the agents from the Denver, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming Secret Service field offices were able to successfully nab a man who was passing off the currency at a number of establishments.