At A Breaking Point: Stretched Secret Service Says It Needs Help To Protect Trumps | KUOW News and Information

At A Breaking Point: Stretched Secret Service Says It Needs Help To Protect Trumps

Aug 21, 2017
Originally published on August 22, 2017 6:58 am

The U.S. Secret Service is bumping up against statutory limits on overtime pay, as it struggles to provide protection for President Trump and his globe-trotting family.

Agency officials estimate more than 1,000 agents and officers will log more overtime this year than allowed by law. The same thing happened in 2016, and Congress eventually passed a workaround. The agency hoped for some relief once the busy election season was over, but overtime bills have continued to mount.

Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles said the agency is once again working with lawmakers to ensure that staffers receive the overtime pay they're entitled to.

"I am extremely proud of the hard work performed by the men and women of the Secret Service," Alles said in a statement. "As we work to ensure that employees are compensated for the hours they work, the Secret Service continues its rigorous hiring of special agents, Uniformed Division officers, and critical support staff to meet future mission requirements."

The Secret Service has added about 800 agents and officers in the past year in an effort to cut overtime costs. But attrition continues to eat away at the agency's ranks.

USA Today, which first reported on the issue, notes that a busy travel schedule for the president and his family members has added to the agency's workload. Trump has made seven trips so far this year to Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, five to his vacation home and golf course in Bedminster, N.J., and one to Trump Tower in New York.

Trump's adult children have also racked up significant expenses for their security details, with wide-ranging travel for Trump Organization business as well as vacations in exotic locales.

Alles insists that's not the whole story, though.

"This issue is not one that can be attributed to the current administration's protection requirements alone," Alles said. He described the overtime crunch as an "ongoing issue for nearly a decade due to an overall increase in operational tempo."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.