The Secret Service is charged with the task of protecting some of the most high profile people in the world, and their job can be quite demanding. According to a Washington Post report, remaining vigilant can take its toll; A federal watchdog has sent the Secret Service a formal warning about overworking its employees following the discovery of two officers sleeping while on the job.
The inspector general in charge of the Secret Service will issue an alert to management about the incident as early as Friday afternoon. This formal alert will let signify that investigators have found a problem that requires serious and swift attention from upper management.
The management alert comes on the heels of a routine check this August of alarms and communications equipment at locations protected by the Secret Service.
The Secret Service has been in hot water ever since it allowed a man to jump the fence of the White House in September of 2014, and auditors from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General visited various sites under the Secret Service’s control. They found one officer sleeping at an embassy post, and another who was asleep at the White House complex while on duty.
Leaders in the Secret Service reject the idea that the two sleeping men are indicative of demanding schedules and overworked officers. The Service claims that the evidence suggests that the men were not asleep on the job as a result of an overbearing work schedule.
One of the officers claims that he took cold medicine earlier in the day, which made him feel drowsy and fall asleep at his post. The second officer had a schedule that was completely booked, but a majority of his hours were spent escorting President Obama back from Kenya on a military plane.
The Secret Service has faced scheduling issues in the past, particularly the Service’s Uniform Division officers, who keep watch over the White House and the Vice President’s home at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.
Following the infamous fence-jumping incident, a number of officers spoke up and complained about how they are often made to come in to work on their scheduled days off as a result of short staff. A panel appointed by the administration suggested that the Secret Service hire an additional 85 agents and 200 officers to handle the work.
The new director of the Secret Service, Joseph Clancy, has promised to improve staffing with the help of Congress when he begins the job officially in February this year. The Secret Service also came under fire after security systems had failed at the residences of former presidents.
According to the website of the inspector general, “These notifications are used by the OIG to inform senior DHS managers of conditions which pose an immediate and serious threat of waste, fraud and abuse in agency programs. These alerts, usually triggered by findings made in the course of our audit, inspections, and investigative work, may also contain recommendations to correct the identified concerns.”