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Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mooted as Next Secret Service Director

Gainer, center, shakes hands with the president after the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Gainer, center, shakes hands with the president after the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Is the Capitol’s former top cop the best pick to replace former Secret Service Director Julia Pierson? The world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers thinks so.  

On Thursday, Fraternal Order of Police National President Chuck Canterbury sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asking him to tap Terrance W. Gainer for the job. Citing Gainer’s 47 years in public service, Canterbury says the former Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police chief is one of the few people who can achieve the changes needed in the wake of Pierson’s Oct. 1 resignation .  

“The rank-and-file officers know that Terry will do right by them, the agency and the mission,” Canterbury states. “Most importantly for the USSS at this time is confidence that a new Director can make the necessary changes and make them stick. Among those changes, perhaps one of the most critical is the minimization of tensions between the uniformed officers and the agent personnel which are a glaring component of current problems.” Gainer’s long career in law enforcement started at the Chicago Police Department. He moved to the District in 1998 to be an assistant chief in the Metropolitan Police Department, and four years later was hired as Capitol Police chief.  Gainer spent 11 years working on Capitol Hill, before retiring in April for a private sector gig with Securitas Security Services USA.  

“While serving at the Capitol, he gained rare insight into the intricacies of dignitary protection and worked closely with the USSS on some of the most daunting protection issues,” Canterbury states.  

Gainer told USA Today , which first reported the endorsement, that he thinks the Secret Service is “a wonderful organization” and said he loves “leading agencies.” He declined to comment on whether he had talked to anyone about the job, which retired Special Agent Joseph Clancy has been appointed to fill in the interim.  

Congress has called for a comprehensive external review of the Secret Service. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio is backing House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul’s proposal for a blue ribbon commission to examine the agency. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also thinks the controversy merits an investigation.  

Gainer told CQ Roll Call in March, during his final weeks as SAA, that he hoped to “contribute in a different way and see if I can build the Gainer coffers up.”  

The post does not require Senate confirmation.  


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