On September 14, 2022, the U.S. Secret Service will celebrate 100 years of the Uniformed Division (UD). In preparation for this significant milestone in the agency’s history, the Secret Service will celebrate various facets of the UD’s specializations, workforce and history over the course of the coming year.
On September 14, 1922, President Warren G. Harding created the White House Police Force as a vital effort to safeguard the White House and the elected officials inside its walls.
At its inception, the White House Police Force was made up of elite candidates from the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Park Police and fell under the direct control of the President. By 1930, President Herbert Hoover realized the importance for the White House Police and the U.S. Secret Service to join forces, given the Secret Service’s responsibility to protect the President. Until that time, these two security entities acted independently.
“It’s an honor to serve with the men and women who are a part of the first 100 years of Secret Service Uniformed Division,” said Chief of Uniformed Division, Thomas Sullivan. “These officers take an oath to protect the most important symbol of democracy, and complete that mission without fail every day. To be a part of this community of law enforcement officers has been the privilege of a lifetime.”
Since 1930, the Secret Service has facilitated seamless physical security surrounding the United States’ highest elected officials and the White House. Today, the Uniformed Division has grown to be one of the most robust and respected security forces in the world, with expertise not only in the most effective methods of physical protection, but also in risk assessment and mitigation tactics.
The Secret Service Uniformed Division also operates several special operations teams, including the Emergency Response Team, Explosive Detection Canines, Personal Screening Canine – Open Area Team, Counter Sniper Team, Crime Scene Search Unit, Trek Team, Motorcade Support Unit, Magnetometer Support Team and Patrol Unit.
Learn more about the Secret Service Uniformed Division on our website and follow #UD100 on social media.
Emergency Response Team
In conjunction with the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Uniformed Division on October 1, 2022, the Office of Communication and Media Relations will be highlighting various sections within UD.
The Emergency Response Team (ERT) was established July 14, 1985. The proliferation of terrorist activity, the availability of military-style assault weapons and the high-profile nature of the White House Complex were some of the deciding factors involved in establishing the ERT.
ERT’s initial mission focused on tactical responses to unlawful intrusions and other security-related challenges at the White House Complex. Prior to the unit’s formation, White House officers filled in as necessary in an emergency response role. Within the Complex, the team provides added security for Presidential movements, responds to breaches of security, performs sweeps of the White House grounds and responds to any incident of a suspicious nature.
Between July 1992 and August 1998, ERT was under the command of the Uniformed Division’s Administration and Program Support Branch. On August 13, 1998, ERT was relocated under command of the Special Operations Division (SOD) within the Office of Protective Operations (OPO).
In 1994, two significant security incidents at the White House prompted changes in the way ERT personnel train and operate. The two incidents – the Frank Corder plane crash on September 12, 1994, and the October 29, 1994, Francisco Martin Duran shooting – prompted the Treasury department to create the White House Intrusion Review Committee. In April of 1996, the committee recommended that ERT begin specialized tactical weapons training administered by the Special Operations Training section at the Secret Service’s training facility in Beltsville, Maryland.
In ERT’s capacity under SOD, ERT officers conduct security sweeps of the White House grounds, provide additional security coverage for outdoor events and stop infiltration at the perimeter. A tactical squad capable of responding to any crisis, ERT is capable of neutralizing threats by large, organized groups as well as individuals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.