United States Capitol Police | Feel the Honor |
Published in the November/December 2010 issue of print Search & Employ® |
United States Capitol Police (USCP) Officer Charles Snead is obviously experienced at multitasking; he was able to conduct a phone interview about his experience in the USCP while keeping an eye out for a suspect in his Washington, D.C., jurisdiction. “If we spot him, I may have to cut this interview short,” said the member of the force’s mountain bike unit. “Just warning you.”
Snead is a veteran of the Marine Corps military police. He joined the USCP in 2003, and has been in the mountain bike unit since 2006. In addition to keeping an eye out for car thieves, USCP officers establish vehicle check points, watch for suicide bombers and others who are transporting explosives, conduct foundation checks, and protect individuals requiring a motorcade.
The USCP got its start in 1828. Its mission is to protect and support the Congress in meeting its Constitutional responsibilities. USCP officers have jurisdiction within a 47-block radius in and around the United States Capitol (the “Capitol Building”) as well as Federal police authority throughout the United States and its territories.
Snead said his service in the military was the perfect introduction to becoming a member of the USCP. “There are so many similarities,” he said. “There’s the uniform and dedication to having a professional appearance. Plus, there’s the dedication to the mission as well as being physically fit, serving as leaders and being ready for anything. A lot of the things I learned in the Marines Corps translate over to what I do on a daily basis for the USCP.”
The demeanor that Snead learned in the Marines has served him well as a member of the USCP. “How I conduct myself plays a huge role in getting the respect I need to be successful,” he said. “A lot of that was pounded into me as a member of the military. Everything from how I talk to people to making sure I have the respect of a crowd came from my experience in the Marines. That experience made my transition to the USCP very easy.”
The culture Snead found in the USCP is similar to what he experienced in the Marines. “It’s different in some ways, but also quite similar,” he said. “It’s a very important part of what we do, however. We have to be able to count on each other.”
However, the ability to still serve his country is the main reason Snead enjoys his work in the USCP. “That’s what I’ve always been proud of,” he said. “Being able to serve my country in this capacity is still important to me. The department and what it stands for is why I’m so excited to work here.”
Snead said that there are a lot of opportunities for advancement within the USCP. Also, members of the force can also travel a lot if they end up protecting members of Congress. He also likes that the USCP encourages its officers to explore areas of the organization to find the right places for themselves.