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Federal law enforcement and "non-traditional" lifestyle -- incompatiable?

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  • Federal law enforcement and "non-traditional" lifestyle -- incompatiable?

    Hi, I have two main questions, and several smaller ones. I'll start with some background on me -- I'm 27 years old, have a degree in organic chemistry but currently work as a pilot for a regional airline flying 50-seat jets. I love flying but I also have always been interested in law enforcement since I was a girl. I'm currently a captain and making fairly good coin but I may be downgraded back down to first officer / co-pilot due to reductions in our fleet and staffing in the next few months (while others less senior to me are going to be laid off completely) and thought this might be a good time to make a career change since I'll be most likely taking a paycut in a couple of months anyway.

    Do many federal law enforcement agencies hire criminal investigators / special agents that have no previous law enforcement experience? I've never had any other job besides flying airplanes, except for when I worked at the GAP when I was in high school. I do have good grades from when I did go to college but I'm sure I've forgotten 50% of the chemistry I should have known. I am bilingual (English, Japanese) and I'm trying to learn Korean but am nowhere near fluent yet. I am a FFDO but the training was more like a week summer camp, but maybe it might be nice on the resume?

    First question is: How do my qualifications look for an agency like the FBI or USSS? I've seen openings for air interdiction agents in CPB/ICE but most of the time they want time in type which means former-military pilots considering the aircraft they fly. Do other agencies have flying positions similar to this?

    Second question: About the BI and more of the agency culture... I'm gay -- people would not know it from looking me -- I wear dresses, I don't walk in parades or rub it in anyone's face but at the same time I don't try to hide it either. So if/when I get interviewed I'm sure it will come out when they ask if I have (and can they talk to) my boyfriend/husband and I correct them. My question is... what do federal agencies feel about this subject? Airlines are kind of paramilitary organizations so I just rarely speak about my personal life at work but organizations like the FBI, USSS or DEA have even more conservative reputations so I dunno if that will be sufficient.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ceridwen View Post
    Second question: About the BI and more of the agency culture... I'm gay -- people would not know it from looking me -- I wear dresses, I don't walk in parades or rub it in anyone's face but at the same time I don't try to hide it either. So if/when I get interviewed I'm sure it will come out when they ask if I have (and can they talk to) my boyfriend/husband and I correct them. My question is... what do federal agencies feel about this subject? Airlines are kind of paramilitary organizations so I just rarely speak about my personal life at work but organizations like the FBI, USSS or DEA have even more conservative reputations so I dunno if that will be sufficient.
    I don't want to put you on a pedestal or anything so I apologize if you aren't happy with this response, but this question is actually something that has puzzled me for a bit. I'm not an FLEO, I'm trying to be one, and with that comes trying to get perspectives on all aspects of life and how the culture operates and acts. I've always been interested in how what I perceive to be a very traditional group of people be able to take on someone like you that doesn't necessarily fit the mold per se.

    I think it's puzzling; On one hand, if its anything I've learned connecting with recruiters, agents, career fairs, seminars, forum goers, it's that on a strict work experience level, these outfits look for people from all walks of life. There's no one cookie cutter way to decide if someone is right for any one agency. What ISN'T for certain is if there is a cookie cutter situation with agency culture. Anyways, I personally don't think you'd have a problem at all. I can't back that up, but that's my gut feeling.

    I hope that last paragraph answered one of your questions: These agencies hire people from all around the block in terms of professions; you should apply to a few of them to get a feel of how you fare within the realm of FLE hiring processes and such.
    "Officer, you are kinda hot."

    "And you are kinda intoxicated."

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    • #3
      I'm not sure what being gay has to do with getting a Federal job anymore than being heterosexual does. Define yourself by what skills and background you bring to the table, not your sexual preference.

      I believe the FBI has entry positions for pilots.

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      • #4
        The FBI might bring up your sexual orientation during the polygraph. They did it to me, and I'm a completely straight guy. I still have no idea what prompted it.

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        • #5
          The homosexual issue is only an issue if it can lead to blackmail or coercion. Otherwise it is a non-issue and is not to be pursued during a BI. You might be questioned to the point of, "Can you subjected to blackmail or coercion due to your sexual orientation?" If you can't then the BI is supposed to move on.

          As far as the rest I have no idea. The first thing I thought of was Air and Marine, but you touched on that, so I'm at a loss. Although have you thought of getting the training for the helicopters?
          But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

          For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

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          • #6
            CBP has loosened requirements lately for hiring for Air and Marine in terms of how many hours you need and such. Thats coming direct from someone OTJ now. Maybe take another look.

            Also, CBP isn't just military helicopters. A lot of civilian ones, especially for surveillance.

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            • #7
              Why would you consider only a Federal LEO job?

              There are plenty of agencies (state and local) that hire pilots.
              You can now follow me on twitter.

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              • #8
                Thanks everyone for your replies and it makes me feel a lot better about my chances.

                Many state and local agencies hire pilots but I dont really want to be just a pilot anymore, if I can help it. Plus, while I have over 4000 hours in aircraft I don't know how to fly helicopters and that puts a lot of local agencies out of the question.

                I am about halfway through a masters degree online so I think I may wait until I finish that in 11 months or so before I start the application process. I figure another 6-12 months after that before I know for sure, depending on the agency.

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                • #9
                  CBP Air Interdiction Pilot

                  Just throwing it out there. Rotocraft cert. is not a requirement, just at least a SEL or MEL comm. cert meeting the minimum time requirements. CBP has one of the largest law enforcement aircraft fleets in the country with the majority of the fleet being fixed wing. My understanding is CBP will also pay for your rotocraft cert. once you've spent some time flying fixed wing.

                  I'd give my right arm to be a pilot for Air and Marine but I think it would make me a pretty lousy pilot.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ceridwen View Post
                    Do many federal law enforcement agencies hire criminal investigators / special agents that have no previous law enforcement experience?
                    Yes, they do. Prior LE experience is just one of many backgrounds that the various fed LE agencie seek.
                    Second question: About the BI and more of the agency culture... I'm gay . . . My question is... what do federal agencies feel about this subject?
                    Not an issue at all. Sexual orientation is not a factor in getting hired.

                    I am actually surprised by the post that claims the FBI asked about homosexuality, because I've never heard of that from anyone hired in recent history, but also I know it's against the law to use sexual orientation as a factor in the hiring process.

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                    • #11
                      kc12 is correct. being gay in itself is not an issue. the only concern some agencies would have is the coercion factor.

                      does your family know? if they do i would say you are fine and it wont be a problem. however if they dont know and you dont want them to know that is a huge coercion risk.

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                      • #12
                        I am actually surprised by the post that claims the FBI asked about homosexuality, because I've never heard of that from anyone hired in recent history, but also I know it's against the law to use sexual orientation as a factor in the hiring process.
                        It actually isn't one of the federal "protected classes" like religion, sex, etc. So it is actually legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation on a federal level, which is why I was curious. In some states (not many) it is illegal, though.

                        does your family know? if they do i would say you are fine and it wont be a problem. however if they dont know and you dont want them to know that is a huge coercion risk.
                        Yeah, everyone knows. I knew my mom finally got over it a few years ago when she asked me why I couldn't date a nice Jewish girl.

                        Thanks for all the replies everyone!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ceridwen View Post
                          It actually isn't one of the federal "protected classes" like religion, sex, etc. So it is actually legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation on a federal level, which is why I was curious.
                          Not true.

                          http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-orienta...political.html

                          "In the federal government the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), as amended, prohibits federal employees who have authority to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action from discriminating against applicants and employees on the bases of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status or political affiliation and from discriminating against an applicant or employee on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the applicant or employee. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on "conduct" to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. See Addressing Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment at http://www.opm.gov/er/address2/guide01.htm. "

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                          • #14
                            Ah, that is interesting. It is actually legal for a private party to discriminate based on sexual orientation (I know this) but I guess not for the federal government to do so. Good to know!

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                            • #15
                              A decade ago, Colorado tried to amend their constitution to discriminate against homosexual persons. The Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional. Seems pretty clear to me that private persons can be hammered for discrimination if the victim wants to take their complaint all the way to the top.
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