Planning to Move up the Ranks in Fed Law Enforcement
Federal Reserve Police Officer Tashina Clark is stationed at the San Francisco Fed’s Salt Lake City branch. She patrols the building perimeter, provides security for tour groups, and inspects armored vehicles delivering cash, a duty that brings back memories. A few years ago, Clark was making those deliveries.
“One day I saw an armored truck and thought it was really cool. Then and there I knew I wanted to get into that field,” she says.
Clark became an armored vehicle driver and armed guard, and began doing long-distance runs. She would usually travel to areas outside Utah, but occasionally found herself at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
“I had done three or four runs and liked the people who checked our armored. It made me want to work here, so I applied,” she says. “The Fed looks for people with a security background and military training is preferred, so my armed guard training was a positive.”
As a new recruit, Clark had to graduate from the Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Academy, a seven-week program that includes academics, firearms certification, and physical training, including scenario-based testing.
“I went to the Atlanta academy. During fight training, the simulation uses paint pellets instead of live ammunition. Every one of us left with some bruises,” she remembers.
When Clark was sworn into Police Services, she felt at home immediately.
“Within the first two months of being here, I had a good start. Everyone was so warm. It helped that I knew one of the officers, now a captain at the Seattle Branch, from my last job, so I had an instant mentor,” she shares. Initially, Clark’s parents were skeptical of her calling, but now they’re very supportive.
“My parents work in call centers and I’m the only one in my family in law enforcement. I’m sure they thought I was joking, but they love it now,” she says.
Clark is just as proud of her work and her team, and took the lead on a “police services wall of pride” to demonstrate the breadth of their service to other branch employees.
“People see us when tours come through or when we issue their badges, and we say ‘good morning’ and ‘goodbye’ when we make our rounds. But we do so much more that employees don’t really see. The idea behind the wall was to bring more visibility to our various collateral duties. For example, highlighting our special response and emergency medical technician teams,” she explains.
Clark, an avid runner, is also a coordinator for the Police Services voluntary fitness program. Every year the program sponsors a one-day contest attracting participants from every shift, including graveyard. Clark admits it’s both fun and competitive.
“We time everything—a minute of pushups, a minute of sit-ups, flexibility test, and 12-minute run—and you get ranked. That’s the encouragement; where you fall in that ranking,” she explains.
When she’s not on duty, Clark is also a student, taking advantage of the Fed’s tuition reimbursement program to study business at Salt Lake Community College. Working eight-hour shifts and taking three classes per semester can be “chaotic” but also rewarding.
“I’ve never had a job that offers tuition reimbursement before. When I found out it was one of my benefits to advance my career, I figured there was no reason to put it off. I’m one of those people who’s always finding new things to do,” she says.
Clark was encouraged to pursue her education by Director of Police Service Support Wanda Townsend.
“She has a long academic career so I went to her for advice. I was going to take criminal justice, but when we were talking, it seemed like business would open more doors for me,” Clark explains.
Clark sees herself using her degree to move up the ranks within the organization.
“I want to use my degree to become a sergeant at the Bank. I had never envisioned myself as a manager before. That’s something that initiated from my academic career. My main goal is to continue to support, and work with, the great people here.”