When was the secret service started?

The United States Secret Service started shortly after President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. Surprisingly, the duties of the Secret Service did not, at first, include protecting the president! The job of the Secret Service agent was to fight crimes of counterfeiting (the printing and spending of phony money). It was not until President William McKinley was shot to death in 1901, that the Secret Service began to protect the President as well.

Protection of the President is the duty of the agents assigned to the White House detail. They must be willing to risk their lives to save the President. A Secret Service White House policeman was shot to death while protecting President Harry Truman from gunmen in 1950. In 1981, an agent was seriously wounded while trying to shield President Ronald Reagan from gunfire.

The President and his family may sometimes become annoyed by the constant presence of the Secret Service, but they understand how important the agents are in assuring their safety. More than anyone, the President appreciates how dedicated the Secret Service has been in performing its protection duties over the past 100 years.