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Paula Reid – rising star of the Secret Service – Exclusive interview

Editorial Team | On July 8, 2010

Updated on July 13, 2023

Paula Reid was 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. In 2012, she oversaw a staff that included special agents, analysts, and specialists, all of whom worked on threats or unwarranted interest directed at officials under Secret Service protection. She is affiliated with Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. She was the recipient of the Public Service award from WIFLE in 2009.

Paula Reid exposed the misconduct of twelve of her fellow agents during their assignment in Colombia.

We had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Paula Reid, which is available for viewing below.

Women For Hire

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

Paula Reid

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.

Women For Hire

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

Paula Reid

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

Women For Hire

What attracted you to your current position?

Paula Reid

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

Women For Hire

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

Paula Reid

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

Women For Hire

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

Paula Reid

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

Women For Hire

What’s the most rewarding part of your position?

Paula Reid

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.

End of interview and more information about the interviewee

Paula Reid: An Epitome of Strength and Integrity in the Secret Service

Paula Reid is a decorated Secret Service officer who has consistently demonstrated high levels of professional excellence throughout her career. Known for her stern discipline and an unwavering commitment to maintaining security, Reid’s influence has been far-reaching within the agency.

Paula Reid’s Early Career and Rise through the Ranks

Born and raised in Maryland, Paula Reid joined the Secret Service in 1990. Over two decades, her dedication and leadership abilities became evident as she steadily climbed the ranks, eventually earning the position of the South American Chief of the Secret Service. During her tenure, Reid has served in various important locations, including the White House and Miami.

Paula Reid: A Leading Figure During the Colombian Prostitute Scandal

In 2012, Paula Reid made national headlines for her decisive actions during the Colombian prostitute scandal. As the Secret Service’s South American chief, Reid was tasked with the responsibility of managing a scandal involving eleven of her fellow agents. Her prompt actions, including a thorough investigation and stern disciplinary measures, underscored her commitment to maintaining the integrity of the Secret Service.

Paula Reid’s Influence in the Miami Bureau

Paula Reid’s reputation for exactitude and determination transcends her response to the Colombian scandal. As the head of the Miami Bureau, she supervises over 150 agents operating throughout South America. Known for her rigorous work ethic, Reid was reported to start her workday at 7 a.m. consistently, setting a commendable example for those under her leadership.

Paula Reid’s Advocacy for Equal Opportunity

Paula Reid is more than a steadfast Secret Service officer; she is also an advocate for racial equality. A decade ago, she participated in a class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination within the Secret Service. Her willingness to stand against discrimination has played a crucial role in promoting a more inclusive environment within the agency.

The Impact of Paula Reid on the Secret Service

Paula Reid’s distinguished career and unwavering commitment to justice make her an influential figure within the Secret Service. As one of the highest-ranking African-American women in an agency often dominated by white men, she serves as a powerful symbol of progress. Paula Reid’s exceptional career continues to inspire many, making her an invaluable asset to the Secret Service and a role model for future generations.