The Secret Service must change the way it trains agents and hire more of them, says a panel that reviewed the agency that has endured a string of embarrassing lapses, NPR reports. The panel calls its suggestions “a road map for reform” under a new director. Some suggestions are practical, such as the one that “the fence around the White House needs to be changed as soon as possible to provide better protection.” The panel stated, “the ease with which ‘pranksters’ and the mentally ill can climb the current fence puts Secret Service personnel in a precarious position.” Agents must quickly decide whether a threat requires a potentially lethal response. Three months ago, a man scaled the 7 1/2-foot fence and ran inside the building.
The panel also recommended everything from increasing accountability to being more open to input from officers and agents. Saying that the Secret Service’s “training regimen has diminished far below acceptable levels,” the panel recommended a “Fourth Shift,” shorthand for a process in which personnel on its presidential protection detail would devote two weeks out of every eight to training. It recommended a boost in staffing to make that training possible.