Sept. 27, 2007
In her two years as a forward/guard on FAU's women's basketball team, Crystal Boyland prepared herself to defend and defeat the Owls' next opponent. Her success was through preparation, hard work and by giving the spotlight to her teammates.
"Crystal had one objective in every game plan we designed. She guarded our opponents' best player. She studied game film and knew our opponents every move - that's why she guarded their best player. She could anticipate their moves and always knew where to be for defensive coverage." said Chancellor Dugan, FAU's head women's basketball coach.
Today, Boyland continues to put on a uniform and defend. Only now she is part of a team that protects and defends the nation's most important landmarks and political leaders as a United States Secret Service Uniformed Division Officer.
Since earning a position with the Secret Service, Boyland has met presidents, past and present. She has worked details at the Oval Office and protected the residences of the president and vice president, Air Force One and several others. One of her recent assignments was a security detail for HRH Queen Elizabeth II at the Kentucky Derby.
"Not only are we called upon to protect the president, the vice president and Foreign Missions, but we also enforce federal and local laws and work closely with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police," says Boyland. "Unknown situations are just around the corner. You always have to be prepared."
Boyland, who received her criminal justice degree in 2003, responded to a radio advertisement for the Secret Service. She began the extensive interview process with the Secret Service by scoring higher than 95 on each of the four sections of the required written test. Although her scores were outstanding, she was far from finished with the evaluation process. She would also undergo a series of interviews and a thorough background check. The review process covered her life from elementary school teachers to her latest credit scores. It wasn't just Crystal who needed to pass - the Boyland family and friends had to commit to the evaluation process as well. There was a 35-page application, personal interview and a polygraph test, as well as home visits.
"In many ways I had an advantage going into the interviews," Boyland added. "I majored in criminal justice so I was prepared for the essay questions. I had been a basketball team member so I understood the value of team work. Physically, I was prepared to run and to hold my body weight up on a bar for an extended period of time, which is something several candidates had never done."
Secret Service candidates are put through a battery of training scenarios. They are placed in real life scenarios which include firearms training and numerous instant action drills designed make the trainees react to a variety of situations that they could encounter in their work. The candidates learned, as Boyland had through sports, that partners and teamwork are critical.
"Training was just like our 7:00 a.m. basketball runs. You pick one another up. You encourage your teammates and always look out for them for the benefit of the team," Boyland said.
Just as she did in her Owls uniform, Crystal Boyland understands the team's mission and her role in reaching that goal. "Was I surprised by Crystal's career choice? No," says Coach Dugan. "Her uniform may be different, but she is still serving and protecting, and that is no surprise to me."