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March 21, 2023

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Special Agent In Charge Paula Reid

Paula Reid is the Special Agent In Charge of the Protective Intelligence and Assessment Division. She began her career with the Secret Service in 1990 and has since been promoted many times. Currently, she oversees a staff of special agents, analysts and specialists who work on threats or inappropriate interest in officials who receive Secret Service protection. She is a member of Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In 2009 she received the Public Service award from WIFLE.

What did you do before starting a career in federal law enforcement?

• I’m from Calvert County, Md., and I received my Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Maryland in 1988. After graduation, I was an equal opportunity specialist at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. When I was age 25 I attended the annual NAACP Conference and Career Fair where I met with recruiters from several federal law enforcement agencies. I didn’t know much about the Secret Service, but I knew that I wanted to be an investigator. Following the conference I applied to become a special agent.

Was there ever a time when you couldn’t have imagined yourself in law enforcement?

• I always wanted to be an investigator and although I considered becoming a lawyer, I can’t imagine not being in law enforcement.

What attracted you to your current position?

• I enjoy white collar investigations – particularly identity and credit card theft and counterfeiting.

What do you think are the myths about women in law enforcement and what has your experience been?

• Are women capable of providing protection to protectees? Women would not be remotely considered if we couldn’t do it physically — and we can.

Do you have a family or interests outside of work and how is your career impacted?

• I am very close to my parents and siblings. I wish I had more time to volunteer outside of work.

What’s the most rewarding part of your position?

• The most gratifying part of my work is imparting to colleagues what I have learned over the years and being able to integrate my experiences to better manage the division. The general public is intrigued to see a black female in my position. They always need to confirm that I really am a special agent. I enjoy being a role model for women and minorities.

Special Agent Position

Steps to Becoming a U.S. Secret Service Special Agent:
• Be a U.S. Citizen between the ages of 21 and less than 37 at the time of appointment
• Have a current valid driver’s license
• Have visual acuity no worse than 20/60 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 in each eye Note: Lasik, ALK, RK and PRK are acceptable corrective eye surgeries for special agent applicants. Applicants will be considered eligible for the special agent position provided specific visual tests are passed three months after Lasik surgery and one year after all other surgeries.
• (1) Bachelor’s degree; or (2) Three years of work experience in the criminal investigative or law enforcement fields that require knowledge and application of laws relating to criminal violations; or (3) An equivalent combination of education and related experience.
• Excellent health and physical condition required
• Applicants must pass the Treasury Enforcement Agent examination, a report writing test, a series of in-depth interviews, Top Secret clearance, a pre-employment polygraph examination, drug screening and extensive background investigation. Completion of a full investigation is required before appointment.


Federal employees are eligible to participate in the following benefits programs.
• Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB)
• Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)
• Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP)
• Retirement
• Thrift Savings Plan
• Benevolent Fund
• Federal Holidays
• Annual and Sick Leave
• Federal Flexible Spending Account

To learn more about the Special Agent position and how to apply please visit: