Most people think of the U.S. Secret Service in terms of presidential protection; however, the agency was actually originally established to combat counterfeiting of U.S. currency and to prevent other crimes related to the Treasury. Full-time protection of the president was added nearly 40 years after the agency was established and was later broadened to include protective services for a variety of officials, their families and visiting foreign dignitaries. The Secret Service was transferred from Treasury to the Department of Homeland Security in 2004. Approximately 4,500 Secret Service agents and officers currently operate in the U.S.
Persons interested in a Secret Service career in New Mexico can elect to either become a special agent responsible for conducting criminal investigations or a uniformed division officer charged with protecting government leaders and landmarks. The Secret Service resident office in Albuquerque has a staff of about 10 and numerous other special agents and uniformed division officers work around the state in places like the capital city of Santa Fe and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the largest employer in northern New Mexico.
How to Meet the Requirements for a Secret Service Career in New Mexico
A four-year college degree in a field like criminal justice is a basic requirement for Secret Service special agent jobs. New Mexico has at least 15 four-year public and private universities and colleges. The largest public institutions have campuses conveniently located throughout the state.
Another requirement is three years experience in a criminal investigation or law enforcement capacity. Graduate level studies can be substituted for part of the experience.
Special agent applicants must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 37, in excellent health and physical condition, and able to pass an entrance exam and physical abilities test. All Secret Service employees must be able to qualify for top-secret clearance
For information about job openings in New Mexico, contact the U.S. Secret Service Resident Office, 505 Marquette Ave. NW, Suite 1700, Albuquerque, NM 87102; Tel.: 505/248-5290.
The starting salary for special agents in New Mexico is between $44,000 and $75,000 a year depending on education and experience.
Special Training for Secret Service Jobs in New Mexico
All newly hired special agents and uniformed division officers must successfully complete a 14-week criminal investigation training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Special agents must complete an additional 18-week special agent training outside Washington, D.C.
All Secret Service professionals have continued training throughout their career. Some of this training might be at the FLETC center in New Mexico.
Artesia, New Mexico Division of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers
The town of Artesia, near the southeastern tip of New Mexico, is home to a division of FLETC that offers training programs for Indian Police and US Border Patrol units. In addition, the center has a wide variety of specialized training programs for other federal law enforcement agencies. Training programs at Artesia that might be attended by special agents or uniformed officers working in New Mexico include:
- Law Enforcement Spanish Immersion
- Law Enforcement Fitness Coordinator
- Backcountry Tactics and Tracking
- Pistol Skills Enhancement
- Vehicle Criminal Interdiction
New Mexico’s Secret Service in Action
In late January of 2013, a federal grand jury in Albuquerque NM indicted Richard Stack of Las Cruces for illegally producing fraudulent FBI, Secret Service and US Marshal identification documents. Stack was caught while trying to sell false federal law enforcement credentials to a US Secret Service Agent!
Also in 2013, a joint investigation carried out in New Mexico by Secret Service agents and the Albuquerque Police Department organized crime unit resulted in the conviction of Joshua Ferdman and three co-defendants for obtaining high-end smart phones from dealers by impersonating customers and using their fraudulently obtained account numbers. The phones were then billed to unsuspecting customers. After getting away with the theft of 13 phones from an Albuquerque Sprint store, the men were caught when they returned to procure more. Special Agent in charge of the Albuquerque Secret Service resident office stated that the conviction was an “Example of the strategic partnership between the Secret Service, the Albuquerque police department and our private sector partners.”