An agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation starts his shift every day without much insight into what may be in store for him. Just like police officers, FBI agents perform a wide range of tasks and don't always have time to prepare for them. The job is mentally stimulating, physically exhausting and emotionally taxing; but it can be fulfilling and rewarding as well.
According to the FBI, agents protect the United States from terrorist or cyber-based attacks, espionage acts, high-technology crimes and other harmful events. The FBI should protect civil rights and combat public corruption on any level. Local or state law enforcement departments may also rely on assistance from FBI agents in scenarios involving significantly violent or major white-collar crime.
An FBI agent's daily job involves a high level of law enforcement. Although every day may be different, agents are constantly identifying, locating and neutralizing major crime. They may halt terrorist activity or go undercover to get information on organized crime groups, both nationally and internationally. Brad Garrett, who retired after 21 years as an agent, explained that the job focuses less on criminal cases than on national security issues.
Matter of Opinion
Special Agent Martin Mijalski explained the responsibility he takes on, the freedom to manage his own cases and the advancement opportunities are some of his favorite parts of the job. He hinted that society's interference with and misunderstanding of an agent's work is the most notable downside. According to Special Agent Charles Anderson, every investigation is an adventure that can take years to complete. For him, the most rewarding part is when a criminal pleads guilty.
Special Agent John Jeffries is quick to clear up the Hollywood idea of his job. He admitted that many days involve high-intensity operations, but most others involve research and an attempt to put the pieces of a criminal case together like a jigsaw puzzle. Although agents must carry a firearm at all times and use deadly force if necessary, the bureaucratic aspects of the job are more common than the physical action.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: Who We Are
- AllCriminalJusticeSchools: An FBI Agent Talks About the Job
- NPR: Brad Garrett: An FBI Agent's Exit Interview
- UC Berkeley Career Center: Ever Wondered What It Would Be Like to Work for the FBI?
- Oracle Thinkquest: Our Interview With Charles Anderson, FBI special agent
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: The Life of an FBI Agent
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: 2013 FBI Special Agent Application
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