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  • Local vs. Federal

    I have a few things that have been nagging me over the past several months. Which is better for me, Local or Federal Law Enforcement? Given my resume, I feel completely confident that I can secure almost any local law enforcement job, and I believe that any federal agency looking for a young man out of college will fine me quite appealing. Capt. of my Explorer program, Internship with the BATF&E, and a BA in Criminology, Law and Society, and next month I’m going to Mexico for 6 intense months to learn Spanish, these are just to name a few achievements….But I’m not here to discuss my qualifications. I have been thinking nonstop about what path of life I should take. I like the how Local LE is reactionary, public oriented (more so that Federal LE, right?), and higher speed. I like the idea of responding to situations, I like the idea of interacting with the public on a daily basis, and I like the idea of responding Code 3 and dealing with things that pop out of no where. However, I also like FLE. (I’m basing what I know of FLE off of my internship with the ATF). I like the “detective work.” I like going after the bigger guys. I like how they have a larger jurisdiction, and I like the higher prestige. However, they don’t deal as much with the community, they are stuck in the office more, and like Bearcat357 stated in another post, “Feds (like me) have it worse because we have to do everything by the book.....and that includes a ton of paperwork. There is no way around it....it's a fact of life........” I realize all LE has paperwork, but I don’t want to be stuck behind a desk too much dealing with bureaucratic nonsense stuff.

    Questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, ideas, or insights?

    Correct me if I’m wrong on anything, but what do you guys think is right for me?
    Last edited by AWarr; 03-29-2007, 01:49 AM. Reason: Typo

  • #2
    Originally posted by AWarr
    I have a few things that have been nagging me over the past several months. Which is better for me, Local or Federal Law Enforcement? Given my resume, I feel completely confident that I can secure almost any local law enforcement job, and I believe that any federal agency looking for a young man out of college will fine me quite appealing. Capt. of my Explorer program, Internship with the BATF&E, and a BA in Criminology, Law and Society, and next month I’m going to Mexico for 6 intense months to learn Spanish, these are just to name a few achievements….But I’m not here to discuss my qualifications. I have been thinking nonstop about what path of life I should take. I like the how Local LE is reactionary, public oriented (more so that Federal LE, right?), and higher speed. I like the idea of responding to situations, I like the idea of interacting with the public on a daily basis, and I like the idea of responding Code 3 and dealing with things that pop out of no where. However, I also like FLE. (I’m basing what I know of FLE off of my internship with the ATF). I like the “detective work.” I like going after the bigger guys. I like how they have a larger jurisdiction, and I like the higher prestige. However, they don’t deal as much with the community, they are stuck in the office more, and like Bearcat357 stated in another post, “Feds (like me) have it worse because we have to do everything by the book.....and that includes a ton of paperwork. There is no way around it....it's a fact of life........” I realize all LE has paperwork, but I don’t want to be stuck behind a desk too much dealing with bureaucratic nonsense stuff.

    Questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, ideas, or insights?

    Correct me if I’m wrong on anything, but what do you guys think is right for me?
    Most agencies other than local law enforcement (federal, railroad police, etc) will want local law enforcement experience before you would even be considered.
    "First of all, then we have to say the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama." - Al Sharpton, March 21, 2010

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    • #3
      I would ask at the 911 job forums. There are loads of alphabet agency guys hanging out over there.

      They'll probably tell you to get some years of "relevant work experience" before you are competitive.

      My understanding is that trying to get on with them (FBI, ATF, Marshalls, DEA etc...) is VERY difficult, and time consuming (even more so than locally).

      Comment


      • #4
        It all depends on what YOU want to do in your career....

        Local, State, and Federal LE are completely different jobs....and within all three of those you could be doing completely different jobs depending on the agency and it's mission in life.....

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        • #5
          I have to get this off my chest:
          Originally posted by AWarr
          . . . and I like the higher prestige.
          That is one of the worst reasons to select a job. If you want to strut around like you're better than other people just because you have a gold badge with "US" embossed on it, then do everyone a favor and don't get into any type of LE, especially the feds. The absolute last thing I want to deal with on the job is overcoming the reputation of feds created by people who think they're somehow better than others just because they are feds.

          That being said, if you're straight out of school and in your early 20s I'd say go local first, and then if you still want to later go federal after a few years with a local agency. You will gain valuable experience that will help you be a better investigator if you go to the feds later. If you interned with ATF look back on the agents you knew there, I'll bet the majority of the really top performers had prior local time. I'm not saying that a person without time as a local cop can't be very successful, but those with prior LE time usually have an advantage when starting out with the feds.

          When looking at that advice, keep in mind I'm a fed who did not do time as a local cop first.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by equinox137
            Most agencies other than local law enforcement (federal, railroad police, etc) will want local law enforcement experience before you would even be considered.
            That's not true. In my office less than 30% of the agents had local LE time prior to getting hired.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AWarr
              ? Given my resume, I feel completely confident that I can secure almost any local law enforcement job, and I believe that any federal agency looking for a young man out of college will fine me quite appealing. Capt. of my Explorer program, Internship with the BATF&E, and a BA in Criminology, Law and Society, and next month I’m going to Mexico for 6 intense months to learn Spanish, these are just to name a few achievements
              You definitely sound like are "completely confident". I use to see thousands of applications a year. BAs are becoming pretty standard requirement anymore for a lot of agencies, and have been with many fed agencies for quite some time. BAs in anything criminal justice related are pretty much "yawn-ers". The market is flooded with them. When we do backgrounds internships really don't count for much of anything, doesn't matter where you do them. Sorry, that's just a fact of life. Foreign language for some agencies is a plus but definitely not a deal maker. No one is going to be breaking down your door to hire someone who speaks Spanish. Pretty common language skill, particularly in some parts of the US. The successful candidates we see have the degree, many with advanced degrees, military, and a successful job history. Just getting out of college with no work history puts the applicant in the "other pile" where most never get too much of a second look.
              When you finally get out in the real world applying for LEAs you won't be applying for a job. You will be competing against everyone else who is applying. With the current military tempo we're going to see more and more vets eventually getting out and entering the civilian job market. You'll be competing against those. You sound like you are way too young to have any knowledge about the LE job market after VN but I see the same thing coming now. After VN there were so many vets looking to get into LE that a non-vet had a real uphill challenge to get hired.
              Confidence is good as long as it's a realistic confidence and one is not overly confident.
              Last edited by ISPCAPT; 03-29-2007, 08:39 AM.
              183 FBINA

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              • #8
                My question is towards ISPCPT, but obviously anyone is free to respond. I am also especially interested in federal work, but I have two years left of service in the Army. My question is this: I graduated from a good college with fairly unique majors, am a combat arms officer - and currently in Iraq, but I dont have a Ranger Tab (Im artillery and havent had a chance to go yet. We will likely be turning around to come back to Iraq in less than the 12 month period normally given to troops...
                But to the point, I will likely finish my 4 yrs with the following: a double major (intl relations, history), spanish, 2 x 12 month deployments to iraq, combat arms army officer (field artillery). With the influx of veterans entering the federal agencies, do you think my chances will be seriously diminished if i havent been in the ranger regiment or sof?

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                • #9
                  Agent... I think you got a pretty good chance....

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Agent00Latin
                    With the influx of veterans entering the federal agencies, do you think my chances will be seriously diminished if i havent been in the ranger regiment or sof?
                    I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep over no Ranger tab or SOF if I were you. You should be sitting pretty well with what you have. If the feds won't take you then apply at my agency. We're always looking for good vets.
                    Good luck, stay safe, and bring your folks home safely.
                    183 FBINA

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                    • #11
                      I think just about any agency in Homeland Security (ICE, CBP, etc.) Would probably slice someones throat take you...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SA13
                        That's not true. In my office less than 30% of the agents had local LE time prior to getting hired.
                        Which office?
                        "First of all, then we have to say the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama." - Al Sharpton, March 21, 2010

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by equinox137
                          Which office?
                          I found the same to be true at FLETC. Most of the SA hires were straight college, no local LE experiance. ICE, ATF, CID, OSI, NCIS, CGIS and the US Marshalls service were all like this. Only exception I saw was that the Marshalls generally hired more prior military folks. CBP also had very few prior LE people.

                          I don't think that Fed LE is better than any street cop, but the benefits, pay and flexibility are better than most local departments IMHO.

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                          • #14
                            Usms

                            Not true regarding prior experience in the academy at FLETC. When I went through most of us had some kind of experience. It seems the classes are sent through according to how they were hired, (i.e. military guys go through together, Co-Op's with other Co-Ops, Public Test people, etc.)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              thanks for the responses everyone - ive sort of had a tough time because ive lurked quite a bit around 911jobs.com, and it seems like everyone there has enormous amts of experience (law degrees, investigators for a pd, attorneys etc)... ah well, time will tell

                              Comment

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