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Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report | Honored to Serve

INHERITING A SPIRIT OF SERVICE

SPOTLIGHT STORY

Haley Tacogue at her father’s retirement.

The Secret Service has a long tradition of generational service – parents, children, spouses, siblings, cousins. So, for some, the Secret Service is not just a job, but a heritage.

Retired Special Agent Joselito “Jesse” Tacogue started his career in law enforcement as a local police officer in the 1990s. Growing up, he had had always been interested in law enforcement. “I liked the excitement of it and the heroic nature of it. They help people every day and that is what led me to that field,” he said. Eventually his career progressed to an interest in federal law enforcement, and he was fascinated by the work of the Secret Service. In June 2000 he started as a Special Agent with the Nashville Field Office.

 

“The fact that he figured that I would be a good candidate made me realize that I would be a good public servant.”

Haley Tacogue, Student Trainee

“We all get into public service not for the money, so you have to have a certain level of dedication to the mission, fellow citizens.”

Jesse Tacogue, Retired Special Agent

 

He described a career in the Secret Service as requiring flexibility. “You try to plan for as much as you can, but sometimes things don’t work out like you’d expect. You also have to move and uproot your family, various assignments come up, and you may have to travel or put on riot gear. You never know. It’s always been that constant change, and you just have to be flexible.”

Jesse Tacogue with his daughters at the Rowley Training Center’s Family Day in 2008.

Jesse’s career has had an impact on those around him, including his daughter Haley. She developed an interest in law enforcement and public service through watching her dad’s career. As a child, she thought the Secret Service only protected the President, but Jesse educated her more on the agency’s mission as she got older. “Watching what he did while I was growing up shaped my outlook. When I hit college is when we had conversations of what I wanted to do with my career,” Haley recalled. The deep roots of dedication, loyalty, and service demonstrated by her dad had a strong influence on her educational and career paths.

In college, Haley pursued a degree in Justice, Law, and Criminology. As her interest in working for the Secret Service grew, she spoke with her dad about possible career paths. Her father remembered, “When she first said she was interested, I thought it was kind of cool, but at the same token, if she wanted to go as an agent that could be a dangerous position. The father in me was a little worried. As she got older you see your children develop, and I knew she could handle herself. I was very honored when she said she wanted to pursue a career with the Secret Service, I knew she would be a good fit. I know how hard of a worker she is, throughout high school and college, and that this would be a good opportunity.

He pointed Haley towards the Pathways Program, an internship program that would allow Haley to work for the Secret Service while in college. “The fact that he figured that I would be a good candidate made me realize that I would be a good public servant. And that he supported me, shows a lot to me that I could be in the Secret Service.” In November 2019 – nearly two decades after Jesse, Haley started as a Pathways intern within the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy. Jesse continues to give Haley advice on her career, offering guidance on how to handle certain workplace situations or fielding questions about Secret Service culture and operations.

Jesse, now retired, reflected on what a career in public service means to him – dedication. “We all get into public service not for the money, so you have to have a certain level of dedication to the mission, fellow citizens. Throughout my career, I have seen a lot of people come in and out, you have to be dedicated and believe in what you are doing – and in your organization. That loyalty and dedication causes people to stay for the long haul.” It is this heritage that runs deep in much of the Secret Service workforce, inspiring new generations, like Haley.

When asked why he thinks the Service has so much generational service he says, “Being a small organization, it is very family oriented. Having family members is a natural progression to bring them in. Our motto is ‘worthy of trust and confidence,’ and so who better do we know than our family that embody those ideals.”

Haley is now living out her public service dream. When asked what her favorite part of working at the Secret Service has been, she says, “The experience. Just starting out my career, the Secret Service has shown me how to be a good colleague and have a career, and I have grown a lot as an individual because of my experience here.”

Workforce Perspective

“I’m honored to serve as a member of the Secret Service, because it has been a childhood dream of mine to become an agent after watching my dad serve this great organization. For years growing up, I dreamed of what I’m doing now and to work aside great people in the best federal law enforcement agency in America. My dreams have finally come true, and it was everything I dreamed of and more!”
—Karl Bennett Jr., Special Agent

My dreams have finally come true, and it was everything...

A Tradition of Service

Ryan McKigney always knew he wanted to be a federal agent. His grandfather served as a Frankfort Police Officer and as an Inspector for Special Services Division of the Nashville Railroad Company. His father spent his entire career in law enforcement, beginning his career as a police officer with the Lexington Police Department, then the Drug Enforcement Agency, and finally retiring with the Federal Air Marshals.

Ryan McKigney at his Special Agent graduation with his parents.

“I was lucky to have a role model in my father and always looked up to him. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just pointed at him. He always found his work meaningful, and that fulfillment was something I knew I’d need to find for myself in my own career. My grandfather died before I was born, but my father and I have always said in the end it was a calling we couldn’t ignore to be in law enforcement. Some employment is just a job, others are callings – and that calling runs three generations deep now.”

 

“Some employment is just a job, others are callings—and that calling runs three generations deep now .”

Ryan McKigney, Special Agent

 

While completing his master’s degree in forensic psychology, Ryan started looking at police officer positions in pursuit of practical experience in law enforcement. He had fallen in love with the Washington, D.C. area as a kid and started looking in the area for positions. “The Secret Service Uniformed Division came up on USA Jobs, and I was hired while completing my graduate degree. While working as a Uniformed Division Officer, I thoroughly enjoyed the dual mission, heard positive feedback from the Agents that I worked with across the country, and decided to apply for a Special Agent position.”

When asked about a favorite memory of his father’s service, Ryan recounts, “When I was younger, my father was assigned to the Detroit Field Office for the Drug Enforcement Administration. A fellow Special Agent, Rick Finley, had died in the line of duty and as a result the Rick Finley Memorial Fund was created (later merged with the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund). To raise money for his family, my father and his fellow agents held picnics and charity golf outings. These events were the start of some of my oldest friendships that I have continued to cherish throughout my life. Our families would move around but always return for these events to reunite and share stories. Sitting around listening to the stories my father and other agents told was a huge motivating factor for me. Some attendees have even had their stories brought to life in Hollywood. However, nothing beats hearing their stories firsthand. Now that my father is retired, I tell him my stories.”

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