Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Throughout our research into the FBI, we found intriguing information about this government agency. Such topics include the history, employee statistics, what it takes to become an agent, what crimes the FBI investigates, and other important facts. First, what is the FBI and what do they do? The FBI is a federal law enforcement agency created in 1905 that addresses and investigates major crimes where the fugitive or fugitives have cross state borders or fled the jurisdiction of the United States.
When first open, the FBI had no name and was just known as a “special agent force. ” The future of what is known today as the FBI was the direct result of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. During this time there was a strong need for a federal law enforcement agency. The Department of Justice did have a few investigators, but it was not enough to combat the growing enterprise of organized crimes and other interstate crimes. So on July 26, 1908, the current Attorney General, at the time, Charles Joseph Bonaparte created the FBI with a few special agents.
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Perhaps, the most influential person in the history of the FBI is J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover served for more than fifty years as the FBI Director. The first FBI field office was built in Charlotte with only 15 agents at first, but as we know now that number has increase. Today there are currently 56 field offices and over 400 FBI facilities. Occasionally, if the crime or crimes committed by a fugitive are severe enough, the FBI will assist local and state law enforcement agencies whether the fugitive has crossed state lines or not.
During a background investigation of a suspect done by the FBI, they look at a person’s character, associates, reputations, loyalties, and abilities, for these factors can determine how or how not dangerous an individual is. “In March of 1950 the “Top Ten” was created by the FBI and the news media. This program helped publicize extremely dangerous fugitives, who would not usually get national attention” (FBI official website). People who are on the top ten most wanted as of right now include Osama Bin Laden. In order to become an FBI agent you have general requirements that have to be met to even be considered into the FBI. FBI agent candidates have to have three years of related full-time experience”, such as being a cop. Candidates must successfully pass an extensive background investigation along with a written and oral examination. What I did not realize is that you have to have a psychological assessment, I guess to make sure you are mentally stable. The earliest you can apply for the FBI is at the age of 23 and the latest is the age of 36. Once chosen an applicant must go through an intensive seventeen-week long training program at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Once you are sworn in as a federal agent you must go through a two year probation period, in which your duties are monitored continuously. New agents are assigned to one of the FBI’s field offices based on desire or more importantly where they are needed. “The first few months on the job, a veteran agent helps the rookie with using his skills learned at the academy” (fbi. gov). The main objectives of an FBI agent, is to investigate federal investigations. Throughout the career of an agent they can request for more training for promotions in supervisory positions.
As mentioned earlier to become an agent you have to go through a seventeen week long training program in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI Academy is in the highest ranks among the world’s best law enforcement training facilities. Here agents go through classroom hours that train them how to investigate crimes. Also, as a result of being at the academy, “agents go through intensive physical fitness training” (fbi. gov). Tests will be given throughout this period to keep track of an agent’s progress. When and if an agent graduates from the academy they will be ready to start their careers as special agents.
Starting salaries for an FBI agent can range from thirty-nine thousand dollars to forty-eight thousand dollars depending on law enforcement experience and education. As time passes salary increases. “A special agent that has been in the FBI for twelve years earns about eighty-seven thousand dollars” (fbi. gov). Usually the pay of a starting or veteran agent can also be determined by location. Some agents are required to sign a contract allowing the FBI to send them any where in the world which would also affect the pay of an agent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “FBI supervisory, management, and executive base salaries can range from sixty-seven thousand dollars to one-hundred thousand dollars per year. ” As an agent’s career starts to come to an end they receive a badge of honor for their dedication and hard work throughout the years. An agent must retire by the age of 57, but can get special permission to stay in until the age of 60. From the interview with Special Agent Gibson we learn that it is not as hard to get into the FBI as it may seem.
Though you have to put in hard work, the main thing Mr. Gibson said was that you just have to know the right people and have good credentials. Mr. Gibson was a state trooper from 1995 to 2000. Upon being an outstanding state trooper he applied for the FBI, which he was admitted into. Mr. Gibson said, “I had attended the University of Virginia where I received a master degree in Criminal Justice. ” He also states that “a bachelor degree was required, but as with any job the more education the more money. ” Next, we talked about whether this is a “ladder” job. “Yes indeed”, he said.
What he had to learn is that usually the longer and more efficient you do your job, the more you move up in rank and in salary. Next, we talked about the stress levels for an FBI agent. “The assignments you have can regulate how much stress will be put on you” (Gibson 2005). Pertaining to his job though, at times stress can build up for example, when trying to solve a case and you cannot get a break, or being away from family to do an investigation as it may often require. The four major things he said that someone would need to learn upon entering the FBI is “first and most important, stay professional.
Do not let your feelings and emotions get involve in the case for they could alter your decision making. Second, do not let your job take over your life. A lot of times I would find myself putting in too much overtime. Sometimes you are required to put in overtime, but know when enough is enough. Third, enjoy your job and do not take it for granted because it can all end in a split second. Last, do your job to the best of your ability. You will make mistakes, but you have to learn and grow from them” (Gibson 2005) As with every job there are cons and pros that go along with it. Cons that
Mr. Gibson mentioned about being an FBI agent are that, “It can be very dangerous. Fugitives despise FBI agents more than any other law enforcement personnel. ” Another con he mentioned was being away from his wife and three year old daughter. “Often an investigation will require me to leave the state. ” Pros about the job are that every day something new happens. You get the chance to work with people from all over the world as a case may call you to do so. Although the pay is pretty good compared to the pay of a local police officer, they still should be paid a little more.
Look at athletes who make millions of dollars a year. An FBI agent’s salary is way below that of professional athletes, but they still make decent money. The most important pro he said about being in the FBI is that, “you are part of a tradition that is a dream and devotion to protecting your country. ” When we asked Mr. Gibson about the starting salary range for and agent he told me that he started right at about fifty-thousand dollars, but he has known people who have started at thirty-nine thousand dollars as well as fifty-five thousand dollars, probably because of their law enforcement experience and education.
Upon wrapping the interview up with Mr. Gibson he says that, “being in the FBI is like no other job in the world. To be able to get in is proof of the hard work and dedication you have shown. ” The main issues that the FBI investigates are Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, Cyber Crimes, Public Corruption, Civil Rights, White-Collar Crimes, Organized Crimes, and Major Thefts. Counterterrorism is the fighting back or prevention against terrorism domestically and at home.
Along with the Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI tries to combat terrorism. As mention earlier, Osama Bin Laden, who is on the FBI’s “Top Ten Most Wanted” list is the world’s most dangerous terrorist. One of the main terrorist groups that the FBI is investigating right now is Al Qaeda, which has been suspected to be involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The FBI also investigates major money crimes against the government. These crimes have to involve more than 100,000 dollars being embezzled.
In conclusion, the FBI is by far one of the biggest agencies of law enforcement. Without it we as citizens could not have some of our freedoms we enjoy today. The FBI plays a major role in policing and is an example to state and local law enforcement agencies around the country and world.