Former Tampa Secret Service agent tapped to lead agency - WFLA News Channel 8

Former Tampa Secret Service agent tapped to lead agency

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For the first time in agency history, the Secret Service now has a woman at the helm.

Vice President Joe Biden read Julia Pierson the oath of office during a ceremony at the White House Wednesday afternoon. Pierson joined the agency in 1983 and her road to the top led her through Tampa. Pierson served as the assistant special agent in charge of the Tampa office, before heading to Washington, DC to serve as the agency's chief of staff.

Col. Jim Previtera is a leader at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office now, but he worked for the Secret Service for 8 years. In fact, Pierson hired him.

"Working for Julie in Tampa, the one thing I realized was she's an out of the box thinker," he said. "And she was willing to do whatever it took to get the job done."

Previtera said he called to wish her well Tuesday night. He was surprised to get a message back from Pierson at 3 o'clock in the morning.

"She's overwhelmed. She's excited, and rightfully so," Previtera said. "Julie has really paid the price to get where she's at. She has lived for the Secret Service."

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor also worked with Pierson for years. The two coordinated protection for visiting dignitaries when Castor worked in the police department's intelligence bureau. She said Pierson won't have any trouble dealing with the agency's male dominated culture.

"I think she's been very successful because she's just a genuine person," Castor said. "She rose up through the ranks and everyone sees her as a leader they'll follow.

Pierson takes over at the Secret Service in a time when the agency has been dealing with scandal, including a prostitution scandal in Colombia last year.

 

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