AFGE Local 0918

History of the Federal Protective Service

 The origins of FPS date to 1790, with the enactment of
legislation authorizing President George Washington to appoint
three commissioners to establish a federal territory for a
permanent seat of Federal Government.

FPS has resided in a number of different agencies over the
years. The Act of June 1, 1948 authorized the Federal
Administrator to appoint special policemen for duty in connection
with the policing of all buildings owned and occupied by the
United states. In 1949, Congress enacted the Federal Property
and Administrative Services Act of 1949, which consolidated real
property functions within the newly created General Services
Administration (GSA). The FPS force, known at the time as the
United States Special Police came under the supervision of the
Protection Division of the Public Building Service (PBS). In 1971,
the Administrator of GSA signed an order formally establishing
the Federal Protective Force, later known as FPS, and the Civil
Service Commission authorized the special classification title of
Federal Protective Officer (FPO).

Initially, the main function of FPS was protection, as an integral
part of building operations. For the most part, the force held fixed
posts and performed duties that would be considered safety
functions today, such as: eliminating fire and safety hazards,
patrolling buildings, detecting fires, and providing the first line of
defense in fighting fires; and answering visitor questions,
assisting citizens, rendering first aid, and directing traffic when
necessary. By 1960, the mission of FPS became the first line of
defense against bomb threats, bombings, vandalism, mass
demonstrations, and violence against Federal buildings.

More recently, the role of the FPS officer has undergone further
changes. The FPS has shifted its emphasis from the fixed guard
post concept of security to a mobile police patrol and response.
FPS officers perform all duties attendant to the normal
interpretation of a police officer function including maintaining
law and order, preventing or deterring disturbances, and
investigating both felonies and misdemeanors. The Civil Service
Commission developed standards for FPS applicants, which
included a written examination, background investigations, and
physical examinations.

Pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, FPS was
transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and
retained its responsibilities for protecting the buildings, grounds,
and property owned, occupied, or secured by the federal
government under GSA’s jurisdiction. In addition to GSA
facilities, the Act also provides FPS with the authority to protect
properties held by DHS components that were not under GSA
jurisdiction. FPS was moved from GSA, Public Building Services,
to DHS, effective March 1, 2003. Within DHS, FPS became a part
of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

On October 28, 2009, pursuant to the DHS FY10 Appropriations
Act, FPS was transferred from ICE to the National Protection and
Programs Directorate (NPPD). Today, FPS is responsible for
policing, securing, and ensuring a safe environment in which
federal agencies can conduct business by reducing threats
posed against approximately 9,000 Federal government facilities
throughout the United States.

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