The director of the agency responsible for protecting federal buildings will transfer to a liaison role with the Department of Homeland Security.
Federal Protective Service Director Gary W. Schenkel will move to Homeland Security headquarters to serve as acting deputy assistant secretary for state and local law enforcement. FPS Deputy Director Paul Durette will serve as acting director, a spokeswoman said. Schenkel joined the FPS in March 2007 after serving as director of Transportation Security Administration operations at Chicago Midway Airport. He led an agency responsible for protecting 1.5 million government workers and visitors at 9,000 federal facilities, ranging from multistory downtown buildings to suburban warehouses. The FPS employs about 1,200 federal workers and almost 15,000 private security contractors. But the lax training of those contract guards earned the agency national media attention last July, when government auditors told lawmakers that they smuggled bombmaking materials through security checkpoints at 10 large federal buildings. Once inside, the government investigators assembled bombs in restrooms and then walked around the buildings undetected.
Schenkel faulted a lack of oversight and insufficient funding and manpower as the agency was absorbed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
The agency has instituted reforms since the report, including a review of contract guard certifications, development of a new training program and increased spot inspections of guard posts.