WaPo: The Making of an Agent

Really interesting article in the Washington Post, about the training of Secret Service agents: The Making of an Agent

Here’s a pretty humorous bit, about the fake town they use to train the agents:

To alter reflexes, to rewire the “muscle memory” of recruits, they built 37 buildings, including fake colonial-style houses and a mock airport. Facades line the main street: a cafe, a tattoo parlor and a hardware store.

“It’s like a small town,” Smith explains.

Except that all day and many nights, explosions rock presidential candidates at the pizzeria. The dogs, on command, break from their leashes and maul shrieking men. Gunmen fire from the All Saints Church at the president’s wife. Marine One, the president’s helicopter, crashes in the swimming pool, and fleeing black Suburbans climb the curbs at 45 mph. Behind every mailbox, lamppost and flowering bush, a killer possibly squats, racking his AK. Or, he might spray a vial of sarin.

Smith smiles: “I never said it was a nice town. I said it was a small town.”