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  • Local officer to Federal, when to apply?

    Hey guys,
    I work for a fairly large local police department. I'm fairly new with about 1.5 years on the road. I love it, however i'm losing interest when it comes to working, what I consider small cases. The traffic stops and finding user amounts of dope, flipping them for small dealers with 1-2 grams, if i'm lucky more, is becoming slightly boring. i'm very interested in working Federally, possibly HSI, ATF, Marshals. I have a bachelor's degree and graduated with Honors. I am a military vet who spent 4 years active duty as an infantryman with 2 deployments to Afghanistan (Kunar,Kandahar). I plan to spend a minimum of 3-4 years on the road before I even consider applying for the Feds, however i'm 30 years old so that places me applying at 33-34 with a 1-2 year hiring process, that cuts time very close. I also don't want to burn bridges with my department if i don't get the job and currently have a great reputation of working hard. Any advice? I know my situation isn't unique and have spoken to other local Officers who have applied and not selected and stayed on the road, stating it doesn't hurt them much with the department as they feel lucky to have a decent Officer stay with the department in the current climate. I will say i'm worried about missing the action of the street, but look forward to possibly working larger cases.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Well....

    Maybe you can plan things out to a T. Some people do.

    But more likely timing will be a factor. The G will go years without hiring, then when they do, they go big.

    So you could wait 3-4 years, only to have the G hit another slow hire cycle. Then it could be too late for you when they hire again.

    You're 30. If you apply now, and the stars align, you could be on in a year or two. That means you could retire age 51-52 with a pension. That's huge. That's a million dollar deal.

    You'd be competitive, at least comparative to other applicants.

    I suggest making buddies with agents in local offices. Get introduced to GSs, ASACs, and SACs. Become a TFO, if possible. Get your name known.

    Don't worry about burning bridges with current department. This is business. You leave and someone will be placed in your slot in a week.

    Yes, you'll work bigger cases, but the down time will be more frequent. The juice you're used to just won't happen very often. That's the nature of things.

    Good luck.



    I used to be a banker but I lost interest.

    -Steven Wright

    Comment


    • #3
      You need to apply ASAP. Like rat said if you wait a few years that may be in a hiring slow down and then you end up waiting two more years for stuff to even open.

      Thisthis may sound bad but at the end of the day very few federal agencies care at all about your road time whether you have 1 year or 6 years. Your degree and vet status is far more important. Your road time isn't worthless, but a mass hire agency like HSI USMS ATF BP OFO ERO etc don't really care.

      My advice is get in with a 6c covered FLEO job asap. if you're going to have to do 20 or 25 years to retire with the feds every day you spend outside of the feds is just delaying your retirement by a day. If you like being on the road and doing Patrol style work then you should apply border patrol. border patrol is the most Hands-On you can be in a federal law enforcement job and the big plus is they are always hiring anytime. Right now they have targeted announcements to recruit current law enforcement like yourself so you start at a pretty decent pay. Within two or two-and-a-half years you'll be clearing a hundred in a low cost of living border area (other than San Diego area). You start your retirement clock and border patrol is a gateway to a lot of 1811 positions. With federal law enforcement and clearance, a degree, and vet status you are a prime candidate for any special agent job from there. but you also have a good shot now so just shotgun your applications and see what hits.

      I apologize for any grammatical errors I'm typing via voice and not proof reading.
      UNITED STATES BORDER PATROL
      "90 years of tradition unhindered by progress!"


      honor first

      Comment


      • #4
        You have enough experience to apply, and are competitive with veterans preference already. What matters is how you articulate yourself, and how good your communication skills are. Sometimes they're looking for people with LE experience, and sometimes they aren't. Having done background investigations for some of these positions in agencies, the qualifications I have seen people bring vary. Just apply to a vacancy and see what happens. Listen to what battle wagon and what Ratatatat posted as well.

        As far as agencies are concerned USMS was doing schedule B, and I don't know when they'll do it again (current process is a bit all over the place). DEA is supposed to be having another announcement at some point. The uniformed positions are always usually hiring. ATF currently sounds like its in limbo, just because of funding. I think HSI is also having people reach out to a recruiter, I'm only aware of their test being difficult.

        Comment


        • dark321
          dark321 commented
          Editing a comment
          I tried to look for HSI careers, but their website just says look at USAJOBS for posts. Is there some secret process of reaching out to a recruiter or something??

        • Levithane
          Levithane commented
          Editing a comment
          dark321 Im not familiar with HSI, when I applied for DEA and USMS I reached out to a recruiter. For DEA I was able to get in touch with a recruiter through the website, and USMS I had to do quite a bit of investigative work to track a recruiter down. If HSI's website doesn't have anything I would start by reaching out to nearby HSI field offices and go from there.

      • #5
        Echo what everyone else said. The reality is, nobody cares if you have 2 years of road time or 4 years of road time. Just put in and get on as soon as you can.

        Comment


        • #6
          Agreed apply when you can. I feel like I have read on here somewhere that ATF is taking 3-5 years to get on. I know people who it took 7 years from application to get on. My agency when moving quickly is still 14-20 months.

          Comment


          • #7
            If you think what you are doing now is boring, wait until you spend 5 years working in a federal bullpen for the USMS. Or spending your days getting bossed around by some nut case judge. The freedom and petty busts of the street can look like heaven in comparison. I'm not saying don't do it. Just investigate the heck out of any fed job to learn what its really like. The work load might be slow as hell or you could get a fed job where you work like a dog day in and out, with no overtime pay, and never see your spouse. So go into it carefully but apply asap because many fed LE application processes can take 3+ years. Good Luck to you.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by SHU View Post
              If you think what you are doing now is boring, wait until you spend 5 years working in a federal bullpen for the USMS. Or spending your days getting bossed around by some nut case judge. The freedom and petty busts of the street can look like heaven in comparison. I'm not saying don't do it. Just investigate the heck out of any fed job to learn what its really like. The work load might be slow as hell or you could get a fed job where you work like a dog day in and out, with no overtime pay, and never see your spouse. So go into it carefully but apply asap because many fed LE application processes can take 3+ years. Good Luck to you.
              This is 100% accurate. I left a great local job, with everything I could’ve asked for, to come to one of the big three agencies. I’ve been here for several years and I am actively trying to leave to go back to my old job. The feds is great money and OK benefits. But it is definitely not the kind of police work or freedom you’re going to be used to as a street cop. Having to get the approval of three bosses to go do something you used to do multiple times a day by yourself is extremely frustrating. Again, I’m also not saying don’t do it, but seriously evaluate it excluding the money and the fame. I firmly believe that being a TFO is the best job in the world. Having the ability to switch hats and still get your hands dirty with your local buddies while making overtime would be worth it for me. Remember, when you’re fed, you’re often restricted to a certain crime to investigate. Depending on your agency, bosses, division, etc., there will be both statute and policy restrictions on what you can investigate or assist on. It’s not fun or easy to watch from the window while your buddies are out there chasing bad guys for crimes that you’re not technically allowed to investigate.

              Comment


              • nonotnow
                nonotnow commented
                Editing a comment
                Usms? If you dont want to publicize it can you PM me?

              • mih pihsrow
                mih pihsrow commented
                Editing a comment
                United States Marshall's Service

              • nonotnow
                nonotnow commented
                Editing a comment
                I was asking what department he was referring to but thanks. And one L in Marshals. Its not a department store

            • #9
              Originally posted by SHU View Post
              If you think what you are doing now is boring, wait until you spend 5 years working in a federal bullpen for the USMS. Or spending your days getting bossed around by some nut case judge. The freedom and petty busts of the street can look like heaven in comparison. I'm not saying don't do it. Just investigate the heck out of any fed job to learn what its really like. The work load might be slow as hell or you could get a fed job where you work like a dog day in and out, with no overtime pay, and never see your spouse. So go into it carefully but apply asap because many fed LE application processes can take 3+ years. Good Luck to you.
              I've seen a half dozen guys return to local LE after a couple of years because they missed the action and camaraderie.

              And I've listened to 5X that number wishfully musing about going back, but for the golden handcuffs (GS13 salary, phat TSP account, pension after 20 years, G-ride, etc).
              I used to be a banker but I lost interest.

              -Steven Wright

              Comment


              • #10
                My advice is start applying to everything out there. I have over 10 yrs of sheriffs office correctional work and federal law enforcement experience as well as the military and college (bachelors degree) on my resume and its still tough moving on to the next tier (1811 work). Didn't take me long to realize that the experience means nothing to a lot of these agencies as someone mentioned above. I thought I was a sure in with a couple agencies but out of the blue received the "Thanks....please reapply in a year....better qualified applicants" emails. I have applied to everything out there and I'm down to only 1 agency that's actually looking promising getting hired within the next couple of months. I'm going on 33 myself and regret wasting my time with "experience" especially when a lot of the alphabet agencies are doing recent grad announcements. As for the bigger cases, you can get onto a narcotics unit of some sort locally/state level or prosecutors office. With my agency, depending on the movement with promotions/retiring officers/officers leaving in general, you may pick up a specialized unit involving major crimes/narcotics within 5-10 yrs on the job. Also take a while to study your pension. I gave up a damn good pension system but I also left due to quality of life and wanting to advance my career. The grass isn't greener on the other side as many people say. Oh and I forgot to mention another academy you'll have to attend which is depressing as it feels like you went back to day 1 from your entire career. Good luck with whatever you decide.

                Comment


                • #11
                  dude you sound perfectly qualified.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Like everyone else said, start applying now. Apply to as many agencies as you can. You are already qualified. Personally I wouldn't leave a good job as a local, unless it was for an 1811 gig.

                    Comment

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