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  • Federal LE Agencies

    Hello All,
    Just wanted some insight from you guys. I've completed 2 years of local law enforcement. I have my Bachelor's in Homeland Security and I'm four classes away from getting my Master's in Criminal Justice. I was really hoping to go federal eventually. However, in my research it looks like most federal agencies send you off to random field offices. Is there any law enforcement capacity that I am missing that you get a choice where you go? Any general advice? Much appreciated in advance.

    Riggs

  • #2
    It depends on the agency. Your larger agencies (FBI, HSI, ATF, USMS, DSS, DEA, USSS, etc.) are going to send you where they want. When I got hired with a larger agency we were not told where we would go when we were offered the position. The first week on the job we ranked the field offices. Some people got their first choice others got their third or fourth. With HSI and USMS they tell you the location when offered and you might be able to choose from a few locations but sometimes none of the choices given are ideal. It really depends on how bad you want the job. FBI doesn't tell you until like week 5 or 6 of the academy.

    Your smaller agencies (OIGs) often fly announcements for one specific location so I guess in that regard you have a "choice" because you chose to put in for that spot.

    My advice to you is try to find a good fit both professional and personally. Being an 1811 is a great gig but the fact is it's a job. Like any job I have had I take it seriously and do it to the best of my ability but at the end of the day it's my family and what makes me happy outside of work that is truly the most important thing. What I am trying to say is don't go somewhere you would be miserable spending at LEAST 3 to 5 years. The allure of being a federal agent will soon wear off and you will just be miserable. Your happiness outside of work far outweighs whatever job you have. My .02
    Last edited by AGInvestigator; 03-20-2019, 11:31 PM.

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    • #3
      Apply to all the agencies your willing to work. Be willing to move as well.

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      • #4
        Make sure you look into each agency that you have interest in and really understand how it operates. A lot of federal gigs offer some really neat opportunities, but you'll have to do your time to get into those kind of spots. The benefit to working local LE is that you usually have more doors open to you sooner and deal with a wide variety of duties.

        As far as being assigned a location, many alphabet soup agencies have you select offices that you'd be willing to work and you're offered one of those location based on the needs of the agency. So, with that said, make sure that you're willing, and expect to relocate to any location that you select on your application. Like AGInvestigator mentioned, some agencies (FBI, DEA, and possibly others), require you to already be in academy when the location is determined. You have to decide if that's worth the risk/reward based on your personal life and obligations.

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        • #5
          It probably wouldn't hurt to take a look at the BOP (Bureau of Prisons). You will be credentialed as a federal law enforcement officer and get the law enforcement retirement. Something to get your foot in the door with the feds and experience Glynco, just a thought.

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          • DP23
            DP23 commented
            Editing a comment
            Do you need prior experience to apply to BOP? I've been seeing a lot of posts lately about them hiring & pretty fast.

        • #6
          Moving out of your local area is a given. Just part of the deal. Some agencies you can get to a location and stay forever, some make you move ALOT. I've worked for two agencies, now looking for a new home. so.... take it for what its worth

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          • #7
            Originally posted by Mhuck View Post
            It probably wouldn't hurt to take a look at the BOP (Bureau of Prisons). You will be credentialed as a federal law enforcement officer and get the law enforcement retirement. Something to get your foot in the door with the feds and experience Glynco, just a thought.
            I wouldn't . Having worked for two agencies that have appearances of being attractive places to work, I can tell you I've seen some **** shows get hired by both of them. There I was 30 years old, war vet, father of two, business owner, and current leo. I thought i was among the best of the best. I get put in to the academy we had a 23 yo female with zero WORK experience period. A guy who's only experience was working at pep boys. I've seen it all in terms of experience. Best I can tel there is zero ryme of reason, just who ya know and dumb blind luck.

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            • Mhuck
              Mhuck commented
              Editing a comment
              You get those types in every agency not just one. There isn't one agency that is all powerful with nothing but seasoned vets.I got hired on with the BOP with military, law enforcement experience (left working narcotics) and also private contracting overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its not a bad place to get your foot in the door. Most of my facility are prior military and OEF and OIF vets. Its all about outlook. In the big picture if you want your foot in the door, its a good option, but you have to think about your long term goals instead of just the short term and what looks most attractive at the time.

            • Esco
              Esco commented
              Editing a comment
              Those folks don’t deserve a career in LE ? I get your resume, mine is the same. It takes all kinds to have a well rounded work force.

            • Mhuck
              Mhuck commented
              Editing a comment
              Don’t think that was actually said? If your making assumptions about that then the assumption is wrong at least with my comment. If your not referencing my comment, ignore this. But never did I think none military vets or former leo workers don’t deserve a chance at a federal law enforcement career. Actually, I said otherwise because I suggested BOP for anyone as a way into the fed agencies and something to work on.

            • Evolution81
              Evolution81 commented
              Editing a comment
              get in BOP to stop your clock (age)and build up time until you get called by an agency you want...i did that

          • #8
            Those folks don’t deserve a chance at a LE career too ?

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            • #9
              Get into any 1811 in any location first. Get your security clearance. Get some specialized training in an area you want to work. The smaller the niche the more attractive you become for the agency you do want to work for.

              It's VERY common for 1811's to lateral between agencies until they find the fit (or location) they want.

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              • #10
                Some people get a college internship at age 21 and are 1811s by age 22. Others claw and scratch for years as GS 7s and 9s in an "aw shucks" job with an "aw shucks" agency before getting a coveted 1811 job at age 36.

                Some people start their careers in some backwater location no one in their right mind would ever choose and are stuck there for years, unable to move. Others move frequently during their careers, trying to get closer to their place of choice. Others get the sweet duty station they wanted right off the bat and never move in their entire careers.

                Some people plan out their careers to a T and everything magically falls into place at the right time with nary a bump. Others see doors open and close, lucky breaks and unlucky turns, and end up in positions they never ever predicted.


                The cookie crumbles differently for everyone. Just like in life.
                There are two types of people in this world: those who are humble and those who will be humbled.

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                • #11
                  Soon I'm finna ride off into the sunset, and will become one of the UTBs at O.com. You know, "he Used To Be, but isn't anymore". There's quite a few UTBs here who impart their hard-earned wisdoms, old war stories, unsolicited opinions, etc. thinking maybe it has some value to the next crop. But if the Millennials are anything like Gen X was, you're probably not paying much heed to what we say, and will have to learn everything the hard way like we did, because we too once thought we had things mostly figured out....

                  I'm in a reflective headspace right low, looking back on the ups and downs, and if there's one true pattern I can impart, it's there isn't much equity in it all. What I mean by that is the universe isn't a benign place, where rewards and punishments are meted out fairly based on predictable factors. I saw good people lose their career over some minor dumb decision and I saw bad people thrive despite a personnel file three inches thick. I saw good people get badly hurt, never to return and then suffer the indignancy of having to fight a bureaucracy resistant to compensating them for career-ending injuries. I saw good people who worked hard and deserved advancement get pigeonholed and stepped on while turds who accomplished practically nothing got promoted and had total control over their destinies. I saw people luck out and get their dream job early without any sacrifice and I saw people who made huge sacrifices never get a break and spend decades dreaming their lives away for something that simply wasn't meant to be.

                  There are some consistencies in all the randomness. Absolute truths, if you will. One is tell the absolute truth, both at the initial BI and also later, in the event of internal inquiry. I've seen many careers end (or not begin) because people thought they were smarter than the average bear and could smarm talk out of a situation. Another is alcohol- a good friend of many years was recently arrested as evidently a drinking problem had developed and gotten way out of control. He was abruptly retired before release from jail and in the matter of a day, a spotless and proud career was over. Another is being a player- I've seen several careers (and marriages) end because people thought tomcatting was a perk of the job. Especially in this day and age.

                  Other than a handful of absolute truths, so much about how things play out is totally random. Who you get on with... how your career progresses... where you get located... who you directly work for and with... what happens to you that doesn't happen to your co-worker... how things end....

                  So, getting back to the OP's question: the only thing you can predict with any real certainty is nothing.





                  There are two types of people in this world: those who are humble and those who will be humbled.

                  Comment


                  • Esco
                    Esco commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No truer words have been spoken on this blog. TAT your insightfulness and wisdom is refreshing and people, especially the newbies need this jewels.

                  • Ratatatat
                    Ratatatat commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm just a simple man passing on some simple thoughts but thank you for the kind sentiment.

                • #12
                  If you're not willing to move for a 6c fed job, you're going to have a bad time trying to get one. Exceptions would be cities like SF, LA, NYC, etc that most agencies always have vacancies in. Or you could get lucky and land some OIG in your choice town.
                  UNITED STATES BORDER PATROL
                  "90 years of tradition unhindered by progress!"


                  honor first

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                  • #13
                    As others have mentioned, certain agencies (i.e., the OIGs and HSI) will offer you a location prior to training. With many OIGs, you apply to a specific office, and with HSI, you apply to a small handful, and they offer you one or two of your choices when they offer you a job.

                    If you're not willing to move initially, it might be very difficult to find an 1811 job (depending on where you are). But becoming an 1811 doesn't always mean rolling the dice with location or moving to a crappy city for five years. Most agencies hire for large cities when they have entry-level openings.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      The deal is you will likely have to move for a job, and maybe even move a few times over a career.

                      Isn't that part of the adventure? I've lived in a half-dozen states and got to do things I never would have imagined, like raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon river in Idaho, hunt elk in Oregon, steam a bushel of oysters caught fresh out of the Atlantic ocean, watch the sunset on Lake Michigan, etc. Living in different places broadened my thinking and I have a much better understanding about the country as a result. Plus I made a bunch of friendships with people I would've never otherwise known.

                      If staying put where you're at with zero chance of having to move is a factor, stay with local LE. There could be completely valid reasons why it's not ideal to jump to another agency and risk a forced move- the wife's family is close, good schools, nice house, close friends, etc. Life can be full of reasons not to do something because the stakes are too high.

                      Last edited by Ratatatat; 03-24-2019, 10:29 AM.
                      There are two types of people in this world: those who are humble and those who will be humbled.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Bruce Springsteen has a song called "The Ties That Bind" about the exact issue of being weighted down by relationships, job, home, community, et. al.


                        Not that long ago, I was in my hometown (which I left when Reagan was president) and ran into some people I grew up with, including one guy I've known since elementary school. We both went to the same college and then he got hired with the local PD and I went as far away as possible. He's now in charge of his department and I'm about to retire with the same job title I've had for 20 years.

                        When I think of our parallel lives, I wonder: who had it better?

                        I got to see the country and go to places I never would have. Not just in the U.S- places like South Africa. How many people here have sat on the porch at the Beverly Hills hotel in Umlhanga, watching sharks feed in the Indian ocean as vervet monkeys try to steal sugar from the table? Or sat below fruit bats with four foot wing spans as they circle above the deck at the nearby Hooters? Or visited wineries in Stellenbosch and drank pinotage and ate dried gnu meat while armed guards stood outside?

                        Not saying it was all one big endless joy fest. There were plenty of frustrations and down times. And some really bizarre moments that still have me shaking my head.

                        My friend spent his career pushing a unit on the same streets, dealing with the same people, shift after shift. He did get a break for a couple of years on a task force and eventually started to promote, but for the lion's share of the past 25 years, it was the same ol' same ol, in the postage stamp size city we grew up in. I would've gone nuts.

                        I think the rewards were different for him. He's a big fish in a little pond and everyone knows him when he goes out. I'm a guppie in the Pacific ocean and no one knows who I am in the town I live. I like it that way.

                        His city will probably name a street or park after him someday, and his crew will be talking about his legacy for a long time after he leaves. When I go, my name will be forgotten in a week.


                        I doubt either of us would have done it any differently.
                        Last edited by Ratatatat; 03-24-2019, 12:03 PM.
                        There are two types of people in this world: those who are humble and those who will be humbled.

                        Comment

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