United States Secret Service: Sons of Cranford

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The Cranford Historical Society is proud to sponsor “United States Secret Service: Sons of Cranford” display at the Cranford Public Library during the month of March.  The Cranford Library is located at 220 Walnut Avenue in Cranford.


“United States Secret Service: Sons of Cranford” display features photos, documents and memorabilia about six Secret Service agents who lived in Cranford over the years. 
John Baffa was the first Cranford resident to become a Secret Service Special Agent.  John was followed by Robert J. Kasdon, Thomas D. Sloan, James F. Sloan, Richard C. Harrington and Jose Riera.


John Baffa was a graduate of St. Michaels Grammar School in addition to attending Cranford High School till his junior year when his family moved to Illinois.  After graduation from Otterbein College in 1969, John was selected and commissioned as a Special Agent with the Secret Service beginning his law enforcement career in the Cincinnati Field Office.  Baffa’s most notable assignments were protecting Jesse Jackson’s first run for President and National Coordinator for the 1987 United States Papal visit of Pope John Paul II.  John Baffa is now retired from the Secret Service.

The second Cranford native to join the Secret Service was Robert J. Kasdon.  His law enforcement career began in 1972 as a Norfolk Police Department Officer.  He joined the Secret Service in 1975.  During his Secret Service career, Kasdon traveled extensively in support of the mission of the Secret Service.  He participated in five Presidential campaigns and served under five Presidents.  He retired in 1996.


Thomas D. Sloan is the first of two brothers from Cranford to become Secret Service agents.  Thomas began his law enforcement career in June 1975 with the Cranford Police Department.  He joined the Secret Service in December 1975.  During his career, he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility to include being the Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Field Office where he oversaw complex financial crimes investigations.  He was also responsible for the security of President William Clinton and managed an international fraud task force.  He retired in 2001 and currently serves as Vice President at Global Security Operations at the New York Stock Exchange.


James F. Sloan, Thomas’ older brother, began his public service career in 1970 as a Cranford Police Officer.  He served with the Secret Service for 20 years from 1978-1998.  He held numerous investigative and protective supervisory positions.  His most notable position was as Detail Leader for First Lady Barbara Bush while assigned to the Presidential Protective Division.  After the Secret Service, James’ career included Director of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and Assistant Commandant for Intelligence, U.S. Coast Guard.  James died June 24, 2009 from ALS (Lou Gehrig disease).


Richard C. Harrington is a 1972 graduate of Cranford High School.  His career began as a Patrolman with the Cranford Police Department from 1981-1984.  He then joined Secret Service in the Newark Field Office before transferring to Washington, D.C. where he was assigned to various Headquarter Divisions.  He retired in 2004 but remains associated with the Secret Service as a Technical Consultant on matters of Field Office Security.


Jose Riera is a 1991 Cranford High School graduate.  Jose was employed as a Pentagon Police Officer prior to joining the Secret Service in 2000.  He is still an active member of the Secret Service as a Special Agent currently assigned to the Presidential Protection Division. 


You can read more about these Cranford natives and their careers in the United States Secret Service by stopping by the Cranford Public Library.   The Library hours are: Monday-Wednesday from 10:00am to 8:00pm, Thursday-Friday from 10:00am to 5:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. 


The United States Secret Service is a United States Federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security.  The United States Secret Service has two distinct areas of responsibility: Financial Crimes and Protection.  It is one of the most elite law enforcement organizations in the world.  It has earned this reputation through more than 140 years of integrity and service to the nation.  As one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the country, the United States Secret Service has a dual mission that includes investigations as well as protection of the President and Vice President of the United States and others.  These unique characteristics distinguish the United States Secret Service from all other law enforcement organizations.  The U.S. Secret Service has grown from a small bureau staffed by a few operatives in 1865, to a law enforcement organization of nearly 7,000 employees worldwide.


By the end of the American Civil War, nearly one-third of all United States currency in circulation was counterfeit.  As a result, the country’s financial stability was in jeopardy.  To address this concern, the U.S. Secret Service was established in 1865 as a bureau of the Treasury Department to suppress the widespread counterfeiting of United States currency.  The United States Secret Service’s protective mission began after President William McKinley’s assassination in 1901.  Following this tragedy, Congress authorized the United States Secret Service to protect the President of the United States.  On March 1, 2003, The United States Secret Service was transferred to the United States Department of Homeland Security.  The United States Secret Service’s expertise in carrying out protection and investigations are integral to the department’s mission of keeping America safe.  To learn more about the United States Secret Service, please visit their website at www.secretservice.gov.


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