The U.S. Federal Reserve Police is the law enforcement arm of the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. The Federal Reserve Board Police in Washington DC is not part of the same entity as Federal Reserve System Law Enforcement Units located in the 12 districts (covering all 50 states) throughout the nation.
Federal Reserve System Law Enforcement Officers derive their authority from Section 11(q) of the Federal Reserve Act, codified at 12 U.S.C. § 248(q). Federal Reserve officers have the same authority as any other Federal Law Enforcement Officer while on duty, regardless of their geographic location.
Prior to designation as Federal Law Enforcement Officers, system protection personnel operated as protection or special police officers in their respective states and were generally regulated to exercising authority on Federal Reserve Property, with variances dependent on specific district regulations. Prior to Federal Law Enforcement designation, there were no plain clothes or specialized units in the system.
Following the passage of updated legislation by Congress after the events of September 11, 2001 which designated Federal Law Enforcement Authority to system officers, authority now extends to wherever a Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Officer is performing official duties, whether in uniform, plain clothes or on a specialized unit.
Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Officers must complete basic training at one of the regional Federal Reserve Police training centers, which are nationally accredited by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation (FLETA) program, before receiving their oath. All Federal Reserve Police Instructors are FLETC or state POST certified. The Federal Reserve System runs four system-level FLETC-accredited training academies in San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, Atlanta, GA and Richmond, VA. In some districts, where officers are cross-designated as local–state law enforcement officers, additional training is provided to comply with the governing POST where the district or office is located. Some (but not all) districts offer a lateral entry program,which allows for certification with minimal training for those with prior police training and experience. Officers assigned to specialized units attend additional training programs.
Each Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Office in the 12 regional districts are independent law enforcement units – though governed loosely out of Washington. Many of the law enforcement districts have dual City or State Police authority, in addition to their Federal authority. This separate authority allows for the enforcement of state and/or city laws.
Each district has a dignitary protection team, which provide armed plain clothes protection to the 12 Federal Reserve Presidents. There are five Special Response Teams (SRT) based in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Richmond, as well as New York City and are designed to respond nationwide. Additionally, Explosive Detector Dog teams, Active Shooter/Patrol Rapid Response teams and Hazardous Materials teams are assigned to several Federal Reserve districts throughout the nation, often traveling to other regions on temporary assignments.
The primary duty of uniformed division officers is to provide general law enforcement and force protection services to Federal Reserve facilities, whether owned or leased. Plain clothes positions or secondary responsibilities, depending on the particular location, often include joint/liaison work with other law enforcement agencies, intelligence coordination, training instruction, and/or investigative work related to administrative matters. Federal Reserve officers support local, state and federal agencies when criminal investigations involve Federal Reserve interests. Uniformed Officers respond to police, fire and medical incidents in and adjacent to their assigned facilities to protect life, render aid or assist other law enforcement. Each Federal Reserve office operates a 24/7 emergency operations/law enforcement communications center.
Each district is left to choose the make, model and style of police vehicles, which often vary based on geographic location and yearly weather patterns. There are both marked and unmarked police cars in the Federal Reserve fleet.
Officers are certified to carry a variety of weapons systems (depending on assignment) including semi-automatic pistols, assault rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, less-lethal weapons, pepper spray, batons and other standard police equipment. Officers also wear bullet resistant vests/body armor.
Because the Federal Reserve System is independent of the Federal Government, system Law Enforcement officers have a benefit system separate from, but similar to, public federal employees. Each district has a different pay scale based on the local cost of living index and market studies, which provide comparable compensation packages to other public law enforcement police officers. System officers also benefit from contributing to social security, in addition to being provided a fully paid defiend pension plan.
On October 12, 2010 President Barack Obama signed into law S.B. 1132 the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act Improvements Act”, which states that law enforcement officers of the Federal Reserve are “qualified law enforcement officers” and thus are authorized to carry a firearm off-duty. This update to the Law Enforcement Safety Act, among other aspects, clarified that Federal Law Enforcement Officers working for Amtrak and the Federal Reserve (not funded by Congress) are specifically granted the same rights as publicly funded law enforcement officers as it relates to off duty concealed carry.