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United States Federal Protective Service

The United States Federal Protective Service (FPS) is a component of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is responsible for law enforcement and security of nearly 9,000 Federally owned and leased buildings, facilities, properties and other federal assets. FPS is a Federal law enforcement agency with approximately 1,200 Federal Law Enforcement Officers/Inspectors, and special agents that provide integrated security and law enforcement services to U.S. Federal buildings and other properties administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FPS also protects other properties as authorized and carries out such other activities for the promotion of homeland security as the Secretary of Homeland Security may prescribe. The United States Federal Protective Service can be characterized as the U.S. Government's federal police force.

About the United States Federal Protective Service

The United States Federal Protective Service (FPS) is a branch of the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement(ICE) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FPS is responsible for policing, securing and ensuring a safe environment in which federal agencies can conduct their business. FPS does this by investigating threats posed against the nearly 9,000 federal facilities nationwide.

FPS's work focuses directly on the interior security of the nation and the reduction of crimes and potential threats to federal facilities throughout the nation. Uniformed FPS officers/inspectors and special agents respond to calls for assistance, conduct investigations and provide crime prevention tips, as well as assist in occupant emergency planning.

All federal facilities under FPS control receive a thorough building security assessment on a recurring schedule. During this assessment representatives of all agencies in the facility are interviewed to gather information on the specific mission they perform within the facility, and intelligence and crime statistics for the area are reviewed, as are existing security countermeasures. Based on the findings and working with the agencies housed in the facility, security countermeasures are added or adjusted. This allows for tailored security for each individual facility versus a one-size-fits-all approach.

FPS services include:

  • Providing a visible uniformed presence in major Federal buildings.
  • Responding to criminal incidents and other emergencies.
  • Installing and monitoring security devices and systems.
  • Investigating criminal incidents.
  • Conducting physical security surveys.
  • Coordinating a comprehensive program for occupants' emergency plans.
  • Presenting formal crime prevention and security awareness programs.
  • Enforcing traffic laws on federal property.

Providing police emergency and special security services during National Security Special Events, natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and major civil disturbances-as well as during man-made disasters, such as bomb explosions and riots.

Recent

On 26 December 2007, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 2764 Omnibus Spending Bill into law which included a provision that FPS maintains, by July 31, 2008, not fewer than 1,200 full-time staff and 900 full time Police Officers, Inspectors, Area Commanders, and Special Agents who, while working, are directly engaged on a daily basis protecting and enforcing laws at Federal buildings. This amendment to H.R. 2674 was introduced by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and was successfully included in the bill and signed into law largely due to the efforts of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 918-FPS and the grassroots efforts of its membership.

A series of embarrassing incidents on federal property across the country -- including the theft of a trailer of surveillance equipment from an FBI parking deck -- is being blamed on budget cuts at the agency told the chairman Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton on March 14 2008. The service has seen its budget and staff cut since it became a part of the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003.

History

The origins of FPS date to 1790, with the enactment of legislation authorizing President George Washington to appoint three commissioners to establish a federal territory for a permanent seat of Federal Government. Prior to the formal establishment of the seat of government, the commissioners hired six night watchmen to protect the designated buildings the government was intended to occupy. FPS traces its origins to the appointment of these six night watchmen.

FPS has resided in a number of different agencies over the years. The Act of June 1, 1948 authorized the Federal Administrator to appoint special policemen for duty in connection with the policing of all buildings owned and occupied by the United States. In 1949, Congress enacted the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, which consolidated real property functions within the newly created General Services Administration (GSA). The FPS force, known at the time as the United States Special Police, came under the supervision of the Protection Division of the Public Building Service (PBS). In 1971, the Administrator of GSA signed an order formally establishing the Federal Protective Force, later known as FPS, and the Civil Service Commission authorized the special classification title of Federal Protective Officer (FPO).

Initially, the main function of FPS was protection, as an integral part of building operations. For the most part, the force held fixed posts and performed duties that would be considered safety functions today, such as: eliminating fire and safety hazards, patrolling buildings, detecting fires, and providing the first line of defense in fighting fires; and answering visitor questions, assisting citizens, rendering first aid, and directing traffic when necessary. By 1960, the mission of FPS became the first line of defense against bomb threats, bombings, vandalism, mass demonstrations, and violence against Federal buildings. More recently, the role of the FPS officer has undergone further changes. The FPS has shifted its emphasis from the fixed guard post concept of security to a mobile police patrol and response. FPS contracts private security companies to guard fixed posts. FPS officers perform all duties attendant to the normal interpretation of a police officer function including maintaining law and order, preventing or deterring disturbances, and investigating both felonies and misdemeanors. The Civil Service Commission developed standards for FPS applicants, which included background investigations, and physical examinations. Pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, FPS was transferred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and retained its responsibilities for protecting the buildings, grounds, and property owned, occupied, or secured by the federal government under GSA's jurisdiction. In addition to GSA facilities, the Act also provides FPS with the authority to protect properties held by DHS components that were not under GSA jurisdiction. FPS was moved from GSA, Public Building Services, to DHS, effective March 1, 2003. Within DHS, FPS became a part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Today, FPS is responsible for policing, securing, and ensuring a safe environment in which federal agencies can conduct business by reducing threats posed against approximately 9,000 Federal government facilities throughout the United States.

Authority

FPS law enforcement personnel derive their law enforcement authority from Section 1315 of Title 40 (40 USC 1315) of the United States Code.

40 USC 1315: The Secretary may designate employees of the Department of Homeland Security, including employees transferred to the Department from the Office of the Federal Protective Service of the General Services Administration pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as officers and agents for duty in connection with the protection of property owned or occupied by the Federal Government and persons on the property, including duty in areas outside the property to the extent necessary to protect the property and persons on the property.

Powers. - While engaged in the performance of official duties, an officer or agent designated under this subsection may -

(A) enforce Federal laws and regulations for the protection of persons and property;

(B) carry firearms;

(C) make arrests without a warrant for any offense against the United States committed in the presence of the officer or agent or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if the officer or agent has reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing a felony;

(D) serve warrants and subpoenas issued under the authority of the United States;

(E) conduct investigations, on and off the property in question, of offenses that may have been committed against property owned or occupied by the Federal Government or persons on the property; and

(F) carry out such other activities for the promotion of homeland security as the Secretary may prescribe.

Labor Organization

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 918 is the exclusive representative of all bargaining unit eligible Federal Protective Service employees which includes non-supervisory Police Officers, Inspectors, Special Agents and support personnel.

Protective Investigations Program

The Protective Investigations Program was established in early 2004, to ensure the safety of DHS and FPS protectees and facilities. The objective of the program is to prevent an attack on persons and facilities designated as FPS protectees.

The program integrates the following aspects of the FPS mission: the initial patrol response by FPS uniformed police officers; full investigation by FPS special agents; prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office or State Prosecutor's Office; physical security enhancements and countermeasures; security briefings and workplace violence seminars administered by FPS law enforcement personnel; suspicious surveillance detection initiatives designed to detect pre-incident indicators of threats to federal employees, facilities and protectees; a monthly Operations Security Bulletin; and protection details for high-ranking officials within DHS. FPS Headquarters developed a Memorandum of Understanding, in collaboration with the U.S. Capitol Police, enabling the two entities to use each other's resources to effectively, efficiently and professionally respond to and investigate threats and inappropriate communications directed at members of Congress, their families and staff when outside the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area.

FPS collaborates with other components within ICE and has established liaisons with agencies having a protective and investigative mission such as the U.S. Secret Service—National Threat Assessment Center, the Social Security Administration (SSA), the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and various state and local police agencies throughout the country.

FPS special agents have made arrests and conducted investigations of subjects charged with making inappropriate communications and threats to members of the U.S. Congress (House and Senate) and/or their staff, the director of Federal Emergency Management Agency, FPS Director, members of the military reserve, SSA, the Department of Veteran Affairs and other federal employees. Many of these investigations resulted in convictions for making threats to do physical harm and threats to bomb federal facilities. FPS special agents investigated threats delivered in person, via telephone, e-mail and U.S. Postal Service mail.

FPS special agents also oversee an outreach program designed to educate the community and tenant agencies and provide them with a point of contact to report suspicious behavior and incidents that threaten FPS protectees, facilities, and/or visitors.

Explosive Detection Dog Teams

The mission of the Explosive Detector Dog (EDD) Teams is the protection of life and property and providing a strong visible and psychological deterrence against criminal and terrorist acts. Prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the FPS had a minimal program of 10 EDD Teams located in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. Since that time, the FPS EDD program has expanded to more than 60 teams nationwide.

The EDD Teams conduct routine explosive searches of office areas, vehicles, materials, packages and persons housed in federally owned or leased facilities. The EDD Teams respond to bomb threats and suspicious packages or items and are used to assist in clearing identified areas.

Deployment

The FPS EDD Teams are deployed in their area of assignment as well as frequent deployment to special events such as the Olympic games, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and the G-8 Summit. The EDD Teams provide their vital capabilities to state and local law enforcement authorities under emergency conditions when local EDD Teams are unavailable.

Training

The FPS Canine Training Academy is located in Fort McClellan, Alabama and is conducted in partnership with the Auburn University Canine Detection Training Center. Each handler and respective canine attends the mandatory 10-week EDD Handler Training Course. The handlers and their canine partners graduate from the course as a team.

The EDD Teams are on call 24-hours a day and serve a crucial role as part of a greater network of first responders in a growing national network of federal task force officers.

Hazardous Response Program

The FPS Hazardous Response Program (HRP) was created to support the mission of FPS in response to credible chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive (CBRNE) threats or incidents.

HRP includes initial investigations of suspicious or threatening CBRNE incidents; conduction of CBRNE threat assessments; confirmations of unauthorized presence of CBRNE agents and materials; and the conduction of emergency operations. HRP also provides: evacuation support during CBRNE incidents; CBRNE mutual aid response through agreement; and training assistance. The program is compliant with OSHA and NFPA guidance and regulations.

Awareness

HRP provides increased domestic preparedness awareness for federal employees and the public. The program supports training and information initiatives within the federal workforce to include shelter-in-place and occupant emergency and evacuation planning. HRP training and planning incorporates an integrated approach to all hazards with consideration given to medical emergencies, natural disasters, fire emergencies, bomb threats, suspicious packages, explosions, demonstrations, civil unrest, hazardous materials emergencies, workplace violence and terrorism. HRP emphasizes the importance that all employees be trained to take appropriate action in emergencies. HRP provides specific awareness training in hazardous materials and WMD to federal, state and local government workers upon request.

Prevention

With strong public and employee awareness as a base, HRP is designed to prevent CBRNE disruption with methods ranging from identifying vulnerabilities to reducing threats.

Preparedness

The FPS workforce is prepared to respond to threats posed against federal facilities and employees. Law enforcement personnel receive extensive first responder training in WMD and hazardous materials. Some HRP personnel are also certified at the Hazardous Materials Technician level. HRP personnel continually train, test and evaluate procedures through extensive cooperation with federal, state and local crisis responders. Crisis responders or emergency planners are encouraged to develop relationships with their local FPS HRP coordinator.

Response

Awareness, prevention and preparedness are preferable to response. When emergencies occur, FPS personnel are trained to integrate their operations in the framework of unified management and incident command. Working with National Incident Management System guidance, FPS advanced response has the capabilities to support the Incident Commander.

Recovery

From the onset of an emergency, FPS focuses on the outcome. To be successful, part of that outcome may include recovery operations conducted at the federal, state or local level. FPS will support these efforts throughout all stages.

MegaCenters

In 2000, FPS transitioned all alarm monitoring and dispatching capabilities from several regional control centers to four MegaCenters. Currently, each MegaCenter monitors multiple types of alarm systems, closed circuit television, and wireless dispatch communications within federal facilities throughout the entire nation. The centers, located in Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Maryland, are equipped with state-of-the-art communication systems and in operation 24-hours a day, seven-days a week.

The centers are fully redundant—if there is a partial or catastrophic failure at one center, all operations can be remotely switched and monitored at a "peer" location without disruption to field service.

Vital Communications Link

While the MegaCenters are an alarm monitoring entity, they also serve as a unique and vital communications link between FPS law enforcement personnel on the street and contract security guards located throughout the various facilities FPS protects. This vital communications link has been created as a result of the investment of millions of dollars to ensure effective communications and safety of FPS operations. The related alarm monitoring function for GSA and other federally owned and leased facilities provides a dedicated and specialized service to ensure prompt dispatch of law enforcement and emergency first responders to situations at those facilities nationwide. FPS MegaCenters are the 911 dispatch center for DHS.

National Network

Presently, FPS MegaCenters have a national wireless communication network that uses a voice-over internet-protocol system that transmits over a wide-area network. This form of communication reduces recurring long line costs, ensures redundancy and is set up to provide fail over capability in the event of a scheduled or unscheduled outage. Considering the success of the FPS national wireless radio communication system, FPS is working with ICE and DHS to see if opportunities exist for FPS to extend this service to other DHS components.

The Future

FPS is currently working on several projects that range from access control/Smart Card management to rapid deployment capabilities in disaster situations. FPS is continually evaluating cutting edge technology that can enhance its capabilities to protect the nation.

Home and Family Security

Federal Protective Service (FPS) protects federal buildings and the employees within them through measures such as risk assessment, security and surveillance support, and safety education. In addition, FPS performs several roles that assist the general public. One of these roles is to keep the public safe while in a federal building. This includes training federal building employees on what procedures to follow when a child is reported missing.

On April 30, of the year it was conceived, the Code Adam Act of 2003 became a law. The act is named in the memory of six-year-old Adam Walsh, whose abduction from a Florida shopping mall and murder in 1981 helped to bring child abduction to national attention.

The Code Adam Alert requires that the designated authority for a public building establish procedures for a child missing in a federal facility. On November 1 of 2003, the Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service (FPS) implemented a policy nationwide, establishing procedures for locating a missing child in federal facilities. The General Services Administration administers the program in both owned and leased federal facilities. Topics include home and family security, how to avoid rape and sexual assault, theft in the workplace, and travel security.

Criticisms

Federal Protective Service police officers Peter Taoy and John Haire, as well as supervisor Charles H. Jackson were all convicted in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California of fabricating incident reports to cover-up their mistreatment of a motorist. They are serving 12-18 month prison terms.

Former FPS Administrator Wendell Shingler has allegedly refused to take any corrective action against similar incidents by FPS Police officer Louis Mount in Maryland.

See also

External links

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