Donald Trump

Los Angeles Secret Service Agents on What It Means to Protect the President

For agents, the focus is less on who is president and more on emerging threats.

For a U.S. Secret Service agent, the stakes are high every day when it comes to protecting the president. 

But there's no bigger event than an inauguration, which requires a massive security undertaking.

"It's our Super Bowl," said Rob Savage, special agent in charge of the Secret Service, who previously served protective detail for George W. Bush. 

NBC4 got a rare and personal look into the life of an agent from the field office in Los Angeles.

"It's a great honor, but it's also a job," said Tin Nguyen, a resident agent in charge. "And it weighs heavily on us."

More than 70 percent of the Los Angeles field office has been deployed to Washington, D.C. for Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday. Agents go through training drills and learn how to respond to a variety of dangerous scenarios.

For agents, the focus is less on who is president, and more about emerging threats.

Robert Rodriguez, assistant special agent in charge, has worked four presidential inaugurations. His first one was for George W. Bush, but the swearing that stands out the most was the first inaugural of Barack Obama.

"I remember the Mall itself, from the Capitol steps, all the way to the Lincoln Monument -- just a sea of people," he said. "It was just amazing."

While the job is exciting, Rodriguez says it requires great sacrifice for an agent because of the amount of travel and the time away from family.

Savage has traveled the world because of this work. He was with Al Gore at Nelson Mandela’s historic inauguration, he did advance work for Bill Clinton’s trip to Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in Israel, and was in a war zone in Afghanistan with George W. Bush.

"We have a creed in the Secret Service: 'Worthy of trust and confidence,'" he said.

For that reason, Savage won't tell stories about the powerful people he has protected.

"One thing I've learned from being around presidents is to treat every person as a person, regardless of whether they're a head of state or a custodian in the building," he said.

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