Fallout From The Latest Secret Service Incident
It was recently reported that two senior Secret Service agents are under investigation after allegations that the two drove a government car into White House security barricades on March 4th. Reports indicate that the two agents, one of whom is a top member of the President’s protective detail, had been drinking at a colleague’s farewell party prior to the crash.
The two agents involved are reported to be a senior supervisor in the Secret Service’s Washington field office, and the second-in-command on President Obama’s protective detail. The inquiry into the allegations will be headed up by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s office due to the seniority of the agents involved.
The high-ranking status of the two execs presents a further wrinkle to the challenge faced by Joseph Clancy, the agency’s new director. Clancy was appointed by the President to the Secret Service’s top post about a month ago with a directive to restore the agency’s reputation, tarnished by a series of scandals that ultimately led to the resignation of the previous director, Julia Pierson. Being a 27-year veteran of the agency, Clancy was appointed by President Obama over the strenuous objections of many who believed the Secret Service needed a true outsider to fully overhaul the agency’s culture.
Secret Service regulations strictly prohibit driving a government vehicle after consuming alcohol. The two agents involved have since been transferred to non-supervisory, non-operational assignments. Interestingly, they were not placed on administrative leave, which has been until recently the common action taken against agents under investigation for alleged misconduct.
According to government officials, uniformed Secret Service officers on duty the night of the crash wanted to arrest the agents and conduct field sobriety test. However, these officers were ordered by their supervisors to simply let the agents go home.
When a supervisor orders employees to ignore or obfuscate a problem, the employee faces the choice of either doing what they believe to be right or obeying a direct command. For many this is a lose/lose scenario. Disobeying an order from a supervisor can have negative consequences in the workplace, while as in this case the eventual uncovering of an improper choice can lead to harsh disciplinary actions.
With the reports of this latest incident, one of the most beleaguered agencies in the federal government is once again in the crosshairs. The repeated missteps by Secret Service personnel has earned the agency a poor recent reputation and has invited an extreme amount of Congressional oversight and scrutiny of the actions taken by agency employees. Of course, this is just part of a larger trend that has seen Congress and the media strongly react to allegations of impropriety at any agency. In today’s environment, any employee in the federal government is at risk of having your actions and decision put under the microscope. With that type of intense scrutiny, any person’s decision can be made to look like mistakes or worse. To fully protect yourself, invest in a professional liability insurance policy from FEDS. The FEDS program provides members with legal coverage and representation for job-relate civil, administrative, and criminal adverse actions. For only $290 a year, the FEDS PLI gives policyholders the peace of mind necessary to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities, with the knowledge that they will have legal counsel in the event of an adverse action. To learn more about FEDS or to enroll today, call 866.955.FEDS or visit www.fedsprotection.com.
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Posted in The Spotlight