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Federal law enforcement agencies comparison

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  • Federal law enforcement agencies comparison

    Ladies/Gents,
    I am writing in question about comparable attributes of federal law enforcement agencies. (i.e. agency morale, overtime work/pay, career opportunities etc...) I am currently a newly hired Border Patrol Agent and am still in the hiring process with several other agencies, but wanted some collective information to make an informed decision before accepting any other position. (Primarily U.S. Marshals, ATF or DEA). I have a wife and infant, and I want the best overall situation for them as far as work is concerned. I would like to hear from agents in those law enforcement agencies, and Border Patrol Agents who have made the switch and their perspectives.

    I have only been with BP about a year, didn't get stuck in the worst of locations on the Southern Border and can always try to transfer closer to my hometown in Southern California. I originally joined to get my foot in the door because at the time my degree hadn't been completed, and I was transitioning from the military. I like the job a lot, but I always had my eyes on a couple other agencies. I have been told by other agents to try to get an 1811 gig early in my career (before hitting GS12) and having to start over as a trainee again (and complete another academy). And, I have heard that many agents who have left the patrol wish they could come back because of the "freedom" the patrol offers. I would just like to review pros and cons of other agencies before making further decisions.

    Border Patrol:

    Pros: Job in general (variety of work options), outdoors.

    Cons: BPAPRA, extra 25% of paycheck for 10 hour days (takes away from family time). Anything over 10 hours is comp time. Career mobility (border towns). Immigration Politics.

    Thanks for any information you can pass along.

    -A.
    Last edited by AJW; 09-03-2016, 09:48 PM.

  • #2
    I would keep the BP if they hired you. You may lose the other ones, and if you turned down BP, you're back to square one
    USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
    "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
    Department of the Army Police Officer (0083-06)

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    • #3
      Look where you can and don't leave without a sold job offer. Also look at other type of jobs with in your department
      I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

      It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

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      • #4
        I know a lot of BPA's that became 1811 with other agencies. I think you'd be hard pressed to turn down an 1811 offer from an agency that offers you a position in location that you're happy with.

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        • #5
          Why not check out your state/local options as well? Nothing against staying federal, but some state/local jobs pay more, have better retirement and benefits than the feds. I know guy who left the BP for the state and couldn't be happier.
          I make my living on Irish welfare.

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          • #6
            I'd leave the DA to work SCHP in a heartbeat, but I can't due to student loans in default
            USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
            "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
            Department of the Army Police Officer (0083-06)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by reils49 View Post
              Why not check out your state/local options as well? Nothing against staying federal, but some state/local jobs pay more, have better retirement and benefits than the feds. I know guy who left the BP for the state and couldn't be happier.
              +1. As a fed, any conversations I have with my state colleagues regarding their retirement benefits versus mine are extremely depressing. Don't get me wrong - I at least HAVE a retirement, which most Americans do not. However, if I had it to do over again, I'd look at a state agency.

              I also wouldn't get too focused on just a few well-known federal agencies. Or even on being an 1811. There are a lot of smaller agencies with gigs that are just as rewarding, sometimes even more so.
              "Sir, does this mean that Ann Margaret's not coming?"

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              • #8
                My suggestion to you would be to research the forums for all the agencies you're thinking about applying to. Some have some great perks and some have some drawbacks.

                As far as the Wash DC area is concerned, many Federal LEO agencies provide security services to Federal buildings. These agencies would include places like Pentagon Police, US Mint Police, Capitol Police, etc. Those Fed LEO agencies require for you to stay posted at a specific buildings or location in and around the building to provide security and law enforcement services. Some Fed LEO agencies such as US Park Police or National Park Ranger Law Enforcement are more law enforcement oriented where they not only patrol Federal grounds, but also patrol federal highways which includes a wide radius of jurisdiction. US Park Police even works along side the Metropolitan Police Department (DC Police) on some assignments. Then of course you have some Fed LEO agencies that do investigative assignments with Cabinet agencies for their Office of Inspector General. Those are the 1811s you speak of. For those OIG 1811 positions, you'll more than likely be investigating white collar crimes, handing out court subpoenas, etc. Some stand alone Fed LEO agencies such as FBI, DEA, ATF, etc have employ 1811s and they do a heck of a lot more work than most.

                For those Fed LEO officers providing security services, some don't like it because the work can get boring after awhile and it doesn't give them a chance to patrol outside of their jurisdiction. Some like it because they're not forced to do a lot of work. Keep in mind that some 1811 positions require your full dedication and your working hours can be a little hectic especially if you have family. Not to mention the relocation to another city if you accept a position with that specific agency. Those are all things that you must consider when your family is involved.

                Keep in mind that some Fed agencies like the Federal Protective Service don't provide their officers with 6C coverage. They get a basic Fed employee coverage. Most agencies will provide you with some 6C coverage or similar. Some agencies such as the US Agency for International Development (Agency partnered with Dept of State) require their 1811s to work a 10 hour shift in oppose to a regular 8 hours shift just to get something similar to 6C coverage. Some agencies such as NOAA Enforcement doesn't even offer their officers any type of retirement what so ever. It's in the works from what I read, but they currently do not have it.

                I heard CBP was the only agency with double time for their OT which is pretty cool. If you're thinking about staying in the area you're currently in, try to apply to HSI (Homeland Security Investigations-formerly ICE) because they hire a lot of 1811s and they do a lot of work along side CBP.
                *If the first questions you're asking is which weapon you'll be issued, what type of cruisers do they have, or if you can patrol with a local police dept, the job isn't for you because clearly that's all that you care about.*

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                • #9
                  Moparfan- Definitely wouldn't leave without an offer! That's one thing I like about Border Patrol, they are diverse enough to do virtually about anything (for a period of time). They have details to other agencies (Marshals, DEA, ATF, FBI etc..) along with details to intel, prosecutions, K9 and other various jobs (ATV's, horse patrol, boats). But it all comes down to seniority and what sector has to offer.
                  Last edited by AJW; 09-07-2016, 04:52 PM.

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                  • #10
                    GoldBadge- Location is key. My wife is not fond of the southern border or Texas heat. Trying to find a balance of work/home life while in a location that we both enjoy is paramount for overall success. We came from a big city, by the beach and can say the move has been a little of a culture shock, more so on her than myself. Just trying to find an option that will balance everything in the long run.

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                    • #11
                      Reils49- State is definitely an option, I went for the federal option because I already had 10 years of active duty and buying it back towards federal retirement seemed like a better overall option so my time wasn't wasted in the service. I will look into other options, thank you for the advice!

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                      • #12
                        GreenLine- Thanks for the advice, not only am I lucky to have a retirement but in today's society, I am thankful to have a job! The agencies I listed were just the ones that I am currently somewhere along in the hiring process with, although I will also check out the smaller agencies to keep any and all doors open.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AJW View Post
                          Reils49- State is definitely an option, I went for the federal option because I already had 10 years of active duty and buying it back towards federal retirement seemed like a better overall option so my time wasn't wasted in the service. I will look into other options, thank you for the advice!
                          Some states offer a buy back. I know mine does. I couldn't buy back my full 6 years of AD, but 3 years, the maximum allowed by state law, is better than nothing! Especially because we can take it "on the front". Meaning I can do 17 years and retire at 50% pay as if I had done 20.
                          I make my living on Irish welfare.

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                          • #14
                            Childof_theNight- Thank you for your insight! I found it interesting about the DC area because I'm sure sooner or later depending on how far I want my career to go as a federal agent, I will find myself in DC.

                            I don't know anything about 6C, so that is something that I will have to look into so I can compare it to BPAPRA (USBP coverage). Border Patrol specifically, had a pay reform effective this past January along the same lines of 10 hour shifts vice 8 hours to get the additional 25% and anything over 10 hours is pure comp time. Something I heard was better than the agencies that offer LEAP because they are already paid their 25% on top of their salary and if they have to work overtime they aren't compensated for it. So if a BPA works 12 hours one day they would get 2 hours comp time where as some agencies would be SOL. Time off as far as comp time is pretty nice in the case of family functions (kids in sports, anniversary nights etc...) As far as CBP, I assume you are talking about Office of Field Operations (Customs), and when they get paid overtime they get either time and a half or double OT, but... they are working a whole other shift (8 hours) . They don't have 1 or 2 hours over time (unless you can find someone else willing to split the 8 hours with you), so in the case of family time that is shot. I have to look into HSI and see what their OT falls under.
                            Last edited by AJW; 09-07-2016, 06:16 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Reils49- Awesome! I didn't know that some states offer that! I thought it was only a fed thing. Well, that adds something to my list to research! That seems like a good deal being able to take it on the front end and still reap the benefits! Thank you for sharing that information!

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