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  • Career path to federal investigations?

    I am needing advice on what route to take to get to a career in federal investigations.

    I recently have graduated from college. I have decent grades (2.7 GPA) but not the "superior academic performance" level grades that many agencies require/prefer. So for me to go federal, I will have to rely on substituting investigative experience to make the qualifications level to apply. I also have a state peace officer certification ( putting myself through a regional police academy). I have applied to several law enforcement agencies within the state - most of which are very small (due to large cities making cuts) and offer no/or little investigative opportunities. I have also applied for several state agencies that are non-law enforcement per se - but are listed as investigator positions. I have found myself in a cross roads however on my path to federal investigations.

    One agency I'm having luck with listed the following as its job duties.

    Investigator I-III
    Performs skiptrace investigations using a wide variety of sources to locate borrowers and cosigners to prepare cases for legal actions
    Collects student loan debts owed to the state through a variety of methods, including negotiated agreements with debtor and/or agent using financial documentation obtained through the investigation process
    Monitors repayment agreements for compliance, processes payments, and takes appropriate actions in the event of default
    Obtains and analyzes financial information to determine debtors' ability to repay loans and judgments
    Assists with conducting asset research
    Performs balance calculations, account audits, and makes accounting adjustments when appropriate


    My question is...
    Would it be better for me to get investigative experience in a non law enforcement capacity? Or is it better to hit the streets on patrol even though it doesn't count as " investigative experience" in the eyes of many federal agencies? Would the above job look good when applying to a federal agency?

    Thank You

  • #2
    Originally posted by nsiops View Post
    My question is...
    Would it be better for me to get investigative experience in a non law enforcement capacity? Or is it better to hit the streets on patrol even though it doesn't count as " investigative experience" in the eyes of many federal agencies? Would the above job look good when applying to a federal agency?
    Investigative experience is fine for 1811 positions, though I don't see the job you posted as giving any special benefit for a criminal investigative position, federal or otherwise (and can barely physically see it with the color you selected to post it in). Why not go local/state LE and after getting some experience in patrol seek a detective billet, as it's pretty easy to show you have the skills to be a federal criminal investigator when you've been a criminal investigator at the local or state level?
    sigpic

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    • #3
      I agree wit Kimble. Or I'd look for an internship type opportunity and start working on your masters. It helps get your foot in the door with a federal agency and you can work on a higher degree that could help you get in.

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      • #4
        If you have absolutely no interest in working the streets as a police officer, you probably are better off taking the non sworn position. In my department an Officer must work three years in patrol before they can be considered for a Detective position, and realistically it takes a lot longer to get there. In a small agency (>30) there may only be one Detective and that slot may be occupied for a very long time. You may be spending 10+ years waiting for a Detective gig. If all your concerned about is getting investigative experience just apply for investigator positions, working patrol in a local/state law enforcement agency is a great job, but only if thats what you want to do. If you become a local/state cop it should be because you want to be a cop.

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        • #5
          Or is it better to hit the streets on patrol even though it doesn't count as " investigative experience" in the eyes of many federal agencies?
          Believe me, patrol officers get great "investigative experience" on a daily basis. They investigate everything and learn how to talk to people from all walks of life. It's up to YOU to articulate that on an application.

          You will not be a detective right away. You may never be a detective even if you become a cop. You have to demonstrate to your supervisors, fellow officers, and other detectives that you would be a great detective. It will take time and hard work.

          Hope that helps

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          • #6
            Apply for a position as a Border Patrol Agent. The Patrol has investigative details but it will most likely take a number of years to get one. Even in the patrol group you will have opportunities (some stations get a little and some are over run with smugglers) to arrest alien and drug smugglers.

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            • #7
              You may well find an entry-level federal position and not need to build experience outside. I would suggest navigating over to USAJobs.opm.gov and searching under job series: 1811 (Criminal Investigator) 1810 (General Investigative) 1801 (General Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement, and Compliance Series) and the like.

              This link: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/st...s/1800-ndx.asp will bring you to position classifications and qualifications. From there you can see what basic qualifications are generally required. In most cases though, while there are basic qualifications; anything you can do to up your “ranking” in the eyes of a selecting official is a good thing. Examples include foreign languages, advanced computer skills, accounting, procurement and similar skills as they tie directly into some of the cases worked in the G.

              I would also recommend some searching and reading through the federal specific forums so that you can learn some of the frequently discussed and asked items related to landing a federal investigator position.
              Originally posted by SSD
              It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603
              And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the great advice. Primarily the reasons I'm interested in the job are for the exact reasons Traditionalist said. Its tough out here right now. Especially when it comes to getting into investigations. If large departments were hiring I would take my chances at hitting patrol for awhile (I do want to do it, hence why I put myself through the academy). However the large departments are barely keeping the officers they have, the small departments I've applied to who show interest are very honest - they have no/or very few (1-3) detective positions. People have been very honest with me and the fastest route would be about 6-10 years to get into the position and of course another few years to actually put the experience under my belt. This conflicts becuase they have age parameters. Federal internships are cut for budget reasons. So its a tough call - work in LE and get some great experience that just doesnt count to alot of federal agencies (which go out of their way to list "uniformed experience" as non-investigative experience ...which I disagree with) OR work in a civilian investigative position/ state legal assistant etc. That provides skills one area...but isnt necessarily criminal investigation.

                Its tough..it really is.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nsiops View Post
                  So its a tough call - work in LE and get some great experience that just doesnt count to alot of federal agencies (which go out of their way to list "uniformed experience" as non-investigative experience ...which I disagree with) OR work in a civilian investigative position/ state legal assistant etc. That provides skills one area...but isnt necessarily criminal investigation. Its tough..it really is.
                  The reasoning behind this is based on the fact that while as a uniformed officer you will certainly garner invaluable experience that can be of benefit in a criminal investigative position; the manner in which cases are conducted frequently differs.

                  While investigative experience is sometimes a useful attribute when seeking a federal position, it is neither a catch-all nor the keys to the castle. What matters most is what was already proffered: languages, computer, accounting and related skills. They can train you to investigate at less expense than some of the other desired qualifications and experience.
                  Originally posted by SSD
                  It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
                  Originally posted by Iowa #1603
                  And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

                  Comment

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