Retired Secret Service agent gives tips on how to stay safe in everyday situations


As a retired US Secret Service Agent, Nick Steen has seen it all.

From 2001-2006, he was assigned to the Presidential Protective Division serving as an agent, counter Assault Team member and supervisor.

In 2016, He was the supervisory agent on Candidate/Nominee/President-Elect Donald Trump's detail and from 2017, was the special agent in charge of President Jimmy Carter Protective Division.

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His first presidential assignment was helping to protect George H.W. Bush. He even provided security detail while Jimmy Carter went fishing.

"I have a fairly close relationship with President Carter. We took him fishing a lot of times in Montana, to Pennsylvania, Mexico," he says.

Steen, who lives just outside of Atlanta, sat down with 10TV's Kevin Landers to talk about his career and how his skills as a Secret Service Agent can help protect your family.

"I think if the American public knew what it would take to move a President from point A to point B, they would be amazed," he says.

His security details span the protection of George Bush Senior to President Donald Trump.

He and his team would stare into crowds of thousands of people every presidential visit looking for that one person looking to harm the president.

"Rope lines are horrible for secret service agents. They really are they are really tough, you have people in extremely close proximity and maybe it's not a dangerous threat but what if they want to throw something on them chemicals or that sort of thing," he says.

It was during a visit to Dayton during the 2016 Trump campaign, that Steen needed to act quickly when he spotted a spectator preparing to rush the stage where Trump was speaking.

"I was telling him to quit fighting as I had him in a headlock on the ground," he says.

His career has allowed him a front-row seat to history

He's also experienced tragedy like losing friends during the Oklahoma City bombing.

"That was a pretty horrifying day. I knew very well two of the people who lost their lives that day — two of the agents, it was very scary. It was much like 9/11 without knowing what it was, what caused it, who was behind it," he says.

Today, he works in the public sector.

10TV wanted to know if the skills he used to protect the most powerful men in the world could help you protect your family.

"The vast majority of people have their heads down into a phone or a device of some sort. I think we've lost a lot of situational awareness," he says.

He's talking about the importance of being aware of your surroundings.

He says it can start when you enter a restaurant.

"I always sit with my back towards a wall. I like it because I don't have to worry about what's behind me and I can see the whole restaurant. I like to know where the exits are if there is an exit in front of me or behind me," he says.

Steen says if you want to be safe, think like a secret service agent.

"Just have a plan that's what the secret service does, we plan for those contingencies so that we can quickly get away from whatever that problem maybe," he says.

As the father of two daughters, he says he tells his own children not to walk alone.

"I want them in groups I don't want them walking places alone as much as they can avoid it," he says.

He also warns people to be cautious about running at night with ear pods. He says it can make you a target for crime.

"I run with earphones in but I generally don't run at night. Somebody could up to you in a car from behind but you'll never hear them," he says.

About the Secret Service:

The Secret Service has to mandated missions: Criminal investigations and protection of persons and facilities.

Agents are in charge of protecting the Presidents, the Vice President, their families, former presidents and major candidates for those offices along with protecting the White House and Vice President's residence.

In March of 2003, USSS was transferred from the Department of Treasury to the Department of Homeland Security.

The USSS has been protecting the President since 1894. The first president to receive that protection was Grover Cleveland on a part-time basis.

Ten presidents have been the victims of direct assaults by assassins, with four leading in death (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy)