The United States Secret Service, although first created in 1865 to combat counterfeit currency, is now a massive federal agency that handles the investigation of a number of Internet and financial crimes, all while offering physical protection to the President and Vice President of the United States.
The protective mission of the Secret Service also involves investigating any threats made against our nation’s highest leaders. The Secret Service agents in the Billings, Montana field office (406-245-8585) were focused on such an investigation in April 2013 when the Billings Police Department contacted them about a threat made against President Barack Obama. The individual pled guilty in U.S. federal court and faces up to 5 years in prison.
How to Become a Secret Service Agent in Montana
Individuals who want to learn how to become a Secret Service agent in Montana must be able to meet the agency’s minimum requirements. For individuals without any previous experience, one of the most logical routes is through the completion of a bachelor’s degree, the minimum educational requirement for Secret Service jobs.
Individuals who cannot demonstrate academic excellence (3.0 overall GPA and 3.5 GPA in courses related to the major) through their bachelor’s degree may also qualify through education if they have completed at least one year of graduate-level study.
Finally, candidates with experience working in investigations and surveillance and who can satisfy the requirements of at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GL-5 federal level may qualify without possessing a formal degree.
Candidates with their sights set on a career in the Secret Service may pursue a number of related degrees, such as criminal justice, sociology, or psychology.
A bachelor’s degree in sociology, for example, is an ideal career path for a Secret Service agent in Montana because it provides a course of study in contemporary social issues, which often includes coursework in social change, deviance, and the politics of race, religion and gender in today’s society.
Candidates for GL-9 Secret Service jobs in Montana must qualify by either possessing one year of specialized experience at the GL-7 level or by possessing a master’s or related graduate degree.
The training for new Secret Service agents is approximately 28 weeks in length, and it occurs at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia and the Secret Service’s training center in Maryland. Upon the successful completion of training, new agents are appointed to serve at one of the Secret Service’s field offices.
Secret Service Investigative Operations in Montana
Secret Service agents in Montana are also often called upon to handle investigations involving credit and debit card fraud, identity theft, cyber terrorism, and Internet financial crimes.
Recent news out of Montana reveals the work of the Secret Service agents there:
- December 2013: Credit and bank account fraud across Western Montana resulted in an investigation by the Secret Service. It was discovered that the problem was widespread throughout Montana, prompting the Secret Service to take action and begin an extensive investigation.
- November 2013: Reports of fraud in the Pacific Northwest had prompted Secret Service agents in Montana to investigate the possibility of a criminal cyber-attack. The Secret Service, through their investigation, found that the criminals are targeting data found on the magnetic strip on the back of debit and credit cards.
- May 2013: The Helena Police Department informed the Billings Secret Service that a number of counterfeit $20 bills were being passed over the Memorial Day weekend.
- October 2012: Billings businesses reported to the Montana Secret Service that counterfeit cash was being circulated around the city.