Maryland is the home of Camp David, which has served as the President’s country residence since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. The United States Secret Service has kept a vigilant presence at this distinguished property, which has hosted countless foreign dignitaries throughout the years, from Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978 to Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1943.
In addition to its protective mission, the United States Secret Service also has an established investigative division, which is adopted throughout its more than 115 field offices in the United States, including Maryland’s Baltimore field office
Training and Degree Requirements to Become a Secret Service Agent
Becoming a Secret Service agent and qualifying at the federal GL-7 level, the minimum level at which individuals can be hired into the agency, required candidates to qualify either through experience or education:
One year of law enforcement or criminal investigations experience – Individuals may qualify if they have completed at least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level. Specialized experience includes work in the one of the following: investigations, surveillance, undercover operations, or evidence collection for prosecution officials.
Four-year degree – Those without prior experience in law enforcement investigations or surveillance, a common path to Secret Service agent jobs, can still qualify by completing a four-year bachelor’s degree program if they can show a history of superior academic achievement (3.0 GPA overall and 3.5 GPA in courses related to the major).
A bachelor’s degree in criminology is a common degree sought by individuals with interest in federal law enforcement jobs. This type of program allows students to focus on the patterns of crime and victimization, as well as the social responses to crime and the processes of crime control.
A criminology bachelor’s degree typically includes the following concentrations:
- Sociology of law
- Research methodology
- Theories of deviance
- Police and policing
- Social problems
- Critical issues in criminal justice
- Sociology of violence
- Drugs and society
- Elite and organized crime
- Social psychology
Graduate Degree – Candidates without prior experience or a bachelor’s degree with superior academic achievement may still qualify if they have completed at least one year of graduate-level studies.
Maryland’s James J. Rowley Training Center (JJRTC)
The Secret Service Training Academy, which is located in Maryland at the James J. Rowley Training Center (JJRTC), provides training for not only Secret Service agents, but professionals in specialized tactical and executive/managerial positions, as well. With its hundreds of acres of land and 31 buildings, it easily accommodates the hundreds of employees that receive training here each year.
In addition, the JJRTC has advanced computer-driven methodologies that allow training to go beyond on-site training to reach trainees throughout the agency’s domestic and international field offices. This training facility is staffed with experienced agents who also provide training to many other law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local levels.
Secret Service Criminal Investigations in Maryland
Recent headlines out of Maryland’s U.S. Attorney’s Office reflect the work of the Secret Service’s investigative division in Maryland, which includes work in cyber-attacks, counterfeit currency, and attacks against financial institutions.
For example, On December 5, 2013, a Brandywine resident was sentenced for committing bank fraud and for aggravated identity theft in connection with bank fraud conspiracy.
On December 17, 2013, a resident of Baltimore was sentenced for falsely claiming more than $23 million in tax returns and for scheming to defraud credit unions. And just a day later, on December 18, 2013, a Baltimore business owner pled guilty to a fraud scheme involving stolen merchandise in which he exchanged the stolen items for gift cards.