Agents for the United States Secret Service are part of one of the world’s most elite law enforcement agencies. Their best-known mission is protecting the President, the Vice President, as well as prominent political candidates. Secret Service agents also provide protection to visiting dignitaries.
An additional mission of the Secret Service is to safeguard the country’s currency and banking systems. The original mandate of the agency was the investigation of counterfeiting. Their efforts also help to find and rescue children that are missing and/or exploited.
Secret Service agents who are based in Seattle or Spokane help to protect any foreign dignitaries who visit the state and also carry out the agency’s investigative missions.
Recently, Secret Service agents from the Seattle field office were investigating a man in Snohomish County for counterfeiting when he caught the attention of other U.S. law enforcement agencies for his involvement in methamphetamine trafficking. He was ultimately busted for both counterfeiting and drug trafficking, and sentenced to nine years in prison.
Requirements to Become a Secret Service Agent in Washington
Residents of Washington who seek careers as Secret Service agents must meet a number of requirements before they can join the agency. The agency requires that its agents have top-secret security clearance, which involves thorough vetting and an extensive background check.
Applicants can join the Secret Service at the G-7 or G-9 levels, each with different education and experience requirements:
Requirements for All Levels – All potential agents must be U.S. citizens and be at least 21 years old. There is a requirement that they must be younger than 37, but this can be waived for some veterans. Agents are required to have good vision: at least 20/60 uncorrected. Surgery can be used to meet this requirement.
Educational Requirements – The G-7 and G-9 levels vary in their educational requirements. G-9 applicants must have a graduate degree, J.D., or LL.B degree.
In contrast, applicants can apply for G-7 level Secret Service jobs with a year of graduate school OR a bachelor’s degree with ONE of several measures of distinction:
- Having a high GPA of 3.0 for all courses or 3.5 for major courses is one qualification
- Another is to have been elected to a national honor society
- A third is to rank in the top third of their graduating class
Applicants who have had at least one-year experience in a law enforcement job can use their experience to substitute for part of the educational requirement. This can range from having carried out investigations to having arrested or apprehended people.
Contacting the Agency – Washington state residents who want more information about becoming a Secret Service agent can contact one of the Field Offices in the state:
- Seattle: 206-553-1922
- Spokane: 509-353-2532
Testing Process and Training to Become a Secret Service Agent in Washington
The Secret Service rigorously screens prospective agents. The first step is a physical fitness test. Next, applicants must take a Treasury Enforcement Examination and a test on writing reports. These are followed by a series of interviews. The background check for their top security level is the final step.
Applicants who have passed these tests are sent to two different academies for training. First is the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. This entails passing a 10-week Basic Criminal Investigator Training Program. The Secret Service has its own academy outside of DC where recruits must pass a 17-week Special Agent Basic Training Program. This takes place at the world-famous James J. Rowley Training Center.