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Best Path to Federal LE (0083 / 1811 series) as 34 Year Old DA?


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  • Best Path to Federal LE (0083 / 1811 series) as 34 Year Old DA?

    Hello everyone, I've been meaning to transition to law enforcement for awhile now. What's going on with the riots and protests though, that's what's really pushed me to finally start applying. I don't feel proud about being an assistant DA anymore, especially in my current office, which isn't supporting police in these times.

    I'm 34 now and worried that I won't be able to get a federal position by the age 37 cutoff. I don't necessarily need to do federal work, but I'd like to keep the option open. I'd be happy to work for NPS or BIA as an officer, I'm not aiming for the FBI/DEA/HSI/USMS.

    I don't have any law enforcement experience, but have been a prosecutor for several years now. I regularly work with officers and detectives on warrants and sometimes give them input on investigation-related questions, but that's about the most LE-related experience I have.

    What do you think about is most likely option to get me a federal position before the age cutoff? I think it'll be very close on the timing.

    1) Continue working as a prosecutor and keep applying for jobs? I'm in the National Guard and it's possible as I get more training, my security clearance will open some doors.

    2) Work for a local law enforcement agency for 1-2 years? I'd probably be 35 by the time I can start the academy, do have a couple applications out now. The only agencies that are hiring near me are a few hours a way and have a different retirement system than the one I'm on.

    3) Work as a probation officer in my current county and then eventually apply for a federal probation officer job. The openings near me pay better than the local police jobs, and are compatible with my current prosecutor retirement system (my retirement won't vest currently unless I stay in the same county/state). I'm unsure if I'd be able to go from federal probation to a more traditional LE job afterwards though, but at least it would get me in before age 37.

    Last edited by Winter_Patriot; 07-30-2020, 01:54 PM.

  • #2
    Depends on where you want to end up...on the Federal side the goal is usually to obtain a covered LE position. The cutoff for most covered positions is age 37. The pay and retirement in a covered position vs a non covered position is significant. Also, If you served on active duty there is the possibility of a waiver on the age.

    If you are set on the Federal side the best entry level covered positions (that are constantly hiring) are Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations (CBP). Most can complete the hiring process in a year or less. This would stop the clock for you and allow you to apply and move onto a more preferred position down the road (even after age 37). Both positions pay well and would serve you well if you decided to stick it out with either component.
    “Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.” - Steven Wright

    US Army MP (95B) 1992-1997
    DOJ Agent/ DHS Officer 1997 to Present


    • #3
      Border Patrol and CBP are both great agencies that pay well and stop the clock on the age requirement. I would also apply to the Secret Service, both uniformed (0083) and agent (1811). Capitol Police is another good option to get your foot in the door. FBI would look very favorably on your DA experience.

      I feel like going local LE would be a waste of time if your main goal is federal LE. In my opinion, you should keep working your current job and continue to apply for jobs.


      • #4
        For BIA and NPS it is going to be extremely hard to get into BIA normally only hires those with Indian preference and NPS usually only hires you after you've gone seasonal and done that for a few years then you can move into full time. There are a few 0083 positions that will stop your clock, USPP, USCP, USSS-UD and USSC are the only covered 0083's Border Patrol or CBP will stop your clock, get you covered and a 12 journeyman which isn't bad. Also there are some covered 1801 jobs for FWS and USFS but i don't know how hard those are to get or how open they're open.
        Last edited by krash131; 08-02-2020, 10:03 PM.


        • #5
          FBI/USSS is where I would start. IRS if you can qualify.


          • #6
            Any of the big 3 or 4 letter agencies would love to have you with a JD degree and criminal prosecution experience. I would not limit yourself to the options you mentioned. It all depends on what you want to do. Would you rather be in uniform or work plain clothes doing investigations? 1811 is the best gig in the government but I have also done my time in uniform as well. If I were you, I would apply to any and all 1811 gigs available. HSI is doing direct hires so get in touch with your local office or some agents and put your resume in their hands. ATF and DEA are on schedule B so it's pretty much the same process (contact recruiter, local office, etc and send your resume). It's not a bad idea to reach out to recruiters (if they'll answer) for all the agencies you are applying to. If you're looking to stay in the same state working as a fed that may be a challenge. The direct hire process at your local SAC office is the only way to guarantee you'll get an assignment within that SAC and it's a much faster process as well. Good luck to you! Check out www.specialagents.org it has a bunch of info on various agencies and the hiring process.


            • #7
              What you are attempting to do is a little unconventional but not unheard of.

              I've worked with several *attorneys* over the years (I use asterisks because the range included prior prosecutors and defense attorneys to schmols who graduated law school but failed the bar exam three times).

              Keep doing what you are doing and start networking with your local three letter agencies. You are more marketable as tassel shoe wearing prosecutor than a rookie beat cop or a PO.

              Going local for 2 years would be a waste of your time and a waste of the department's time because 18 months would be academy and FTO then poof!... you're gone.

              Going the probation officer route would not further the 1811 dream.

              Good luck but don't get all worked up at the academy when an instructor says the fourth amendment is to be ignored when the SHTF....
              What does not kill you will likely try again.


              • #8
                Appreciate all the replies. I've checked out that website. Also called my local SAC, didn't know that direct hire was a possibility.

                I had been looking for a covered LE job to keep my options open. I am willing to move anywhere, the location isn't a dealbreaker for me. I'm open to uniformed jobs or more plain clothes investigation, I think I'd like either. Have applied to every 1811 and 1810 job I've seen on USAjobs the last few months. Not sure if I gain much by getting a non-covered 1810 job and trying to find an 1811 job later?

                I'm sick of prosecution, and how in my opinion we're letting down a lot of the victims law enforcement agencies we work with. I'm motivated to take almost any job that would get me out of here, although that's probably not as smart as waiting and applying for more 1811 jobs. I've also applied to a lot of covered 0083 positions, haven't seen much in the way of covered 1800/1801 jobs though.

                Have an interview offer for a federal correctional officer job (GL-6). Not sure I really want to be in corrections long-term, but it would stop the timer so that I can try to find a federal police or investigator job down the road. Does anyone know how long it would take to move up to an SIS/SIA investigator job internally? I've just read that I'm not eligible for any of those until reaching GL-8.

                Also have some testing opportunities up with local police agencies. I'm leery about wasting their time or resources though -- I'd have to take off in ~2 years to find federal work before aging out. Unless I decide to stay in local law enforcement, which is a possibility. I'm thinking I should pass on those though.

                Seems like staying as a prosecutor and trying to find a federal police/investigator job might be the safer route right now, other than the 6c age limit thing.
                Last edited by Winter_Patriot; 08-03-2020, 02:08 PM.


                • Exbpa340
                  Exbpa340 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  All Federal LEO training is backed up because of the current situation. As we move from one year (fiscal) to the next there is real concern about the budget and positions/openings (especially with the trillions we are spending on top of the already in place insurmountable debt). The timeline to get an 1811 position can be somewhat lengthy in normal times. Looking at your current age and the current situation I would apply to any and all 1811 positions you want but would come up with a solid plan B (at least to stop the clock).

                  The quickest (and one of the least desirable) to get on board would be a CO with BOP. I believe this is the position you mentioned above. This would stop the clock but I think you have better options. The BP and OFO options I listed previously are solid career paths and would stop the clock. Both are journeyman GS12 positions. One has premium pay (BPAPRA) and the other has COPRA. Both academies (BP and OFO) are accepted by ICE ERO. This means if at some point down the road you are able to pick up a position with ERO as a Deportation Officer there is no new academy to attend. Just a 3 week transition course. If you go the 1811 route after getting on with BP/OFO you would of course need to attend the full CITP and any agency specific training.

                  Apply to any and all that interest you and see how things play out.

              • #9
                “Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.” - Steven Wright

                US Army MP (95B) 1992-1997
                DOJ Agent/ DHS Officer 1997 to Present


                • #10
                  Very helpful, appreciate all your input and advice. I'm going to check out the BP and OFO positions, I see BP is hiring now. I'll keep looking out for an 1811-series job, but will have some backup plans as I get closer to age 37.

                  Thanks for that link also about covered/non-covered positions.


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