When the United States Secret Service was created in 1865, its main mission was to combat counterfeit currency. Although this federal law enforcement agency is now heavily involved with protecting our country’s top elected leaders, as well as visiting foreign leaders, its involvement in the counterfeit currency battle is just as evident, according to recent headlines to come out of Indiana.
In fact, in December 2013, the U.S. Attorney for Indiana, Joseph Hogsett, announced that federal charges were brought up against a man who was reported to have been running “one of the most sophisticated counterfeiting operations” in Indianapolis history.
The investigative efforts of the United States Secret Service and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department began when counterfeit hundred dollar bills started to circulate around the city and ended with a raid on the suspect’s home, which yielded $70,000 in counterfeit money, counterfeit detection machines, a money counting machine, a laminating machine, six printers, and large amounts of paper stock and computers.
Secret Service agents in Indiana work out of the Indianapolis field office (317-635-6420), just one of more than 117 field offices throughout the United States.
How to Become a Secret Service Agent in Indiana: Education and Training Requirements
Individuals who want to become Secret Service agents in Indiana must be prepared to meet a lofty number of requirements to become candidates for these federal law enforcement jobs.
Beyond the basic federal government requirements, such as being a United States citizen and being between the ages of 21 and 36 (at the time of appointment), candidates must also qualify, at a minimum, at the GL-7 level which, for individuals without prior experience in the field of law enforcement or surveillance, includes either possessing a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a history of academic achievement or possessing at least one year of graduate studies.
Individuals without a formal degree may also qualify if they possess at least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level. Specialized experience is defined as assisting in investigations, undercover or surveillance work, or evidence collection and organization for prosecutors.
Many individuals choose to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree that will help them prepare for this demanding and rigorous career path. Just a few of the common programs that candidates for Secret Service agents pursue include:
- Emergency management
- Homeland security
- Criminal justice
- Criminal justice administration
- Public safety
- Police science
- Forensic technology
- Legal studies
A bachelor’s degree in police science, for example, provides students with the management, leadership, and communication skills necessary to respond to societal needs in law enforcement. Typical courses in a police science program include:
- Demographic Influences on Policing
- Application of Rules of Evidence
- Police Ethics
- Emerging Techniques and Technologies of Policing
- Police Management and Leadership
- Risk Management in Public Safety
- Criminal Justice Statistics
- Public Safety Administration Field Experience
Because training is such a crucial component to a career as a Secret Service agent, new hires must complete both basic and advanced training before pursuing additional field training in investigations. In total, training for new Secret Service agents receive about 28 weeks of initial training, followed by mandatory, annual training events and programs.
New Secret Service agents must obtain and maintain firearms proficiency and be prepared to be appointed to any Secret Service field office throughout the country. New agents are also expected to conduct both investigative and protective work; to work long hours; and travel extensively. Many agents are transferred to Secret Service offices overseas at some point throughout their careers.