The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is charged with protecting and defending the U.S. against terrorist and foreign intelligence attacks, upholding and enforcing criminal laws, and supporting other federal, state, local and international law enforcement agencies. As of September 30, 2012, the FBI’s $8 billion budget financed 36,074 employees (13,913 special agents and 22,161 support specialists) at the DC headquarters, 56 field offices and 400 satellite offices, also called resident agencies. Three of these field offices are located in Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami, Florida.
How to Become an FBI Agent in Florida
Floridians who want to help protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks, foreign intelligence operations, espionage, cyber-based attacks or high-tech crimes, should consider joining the professionals of the FBI. Basic requirements to become an FBI special agent are:
- Citizen of the U.S. or the Northern Mariana Islands
- Between 23 and 37 years of age
- Bachelor’s degree or better
- Minimum three years professional experience
Support specialist jobs are also available in Florida for experienced linguists, paralegals, financial analysts, electronics technicians, security experts and others. You can apply at any of the Florida field offices or online at the FBI Jobs website.
FBI Field Office Responsibilities in Florida
Investigations are the heart of field office operations. All three field offices in Florida have a large cadre of special agents as well as the following support specialists that make these investigations successful:
- Evidence Recovery & Processing Team – Gather and process crime scene evidence. Each member is trained in a forensic specialty like photography, crime scene diagramming, gathering fingerprints, analyzing blood splatters, recovering DNA or determining bullet trajectories.
- Computer Forensics – These experts examine and analyze digital evidence.
- Tactical Support/Crisis Response – Highly trained and heavily equipped SWAT (specialized weapons & tactics) teams storm buildings, arrest dangerous criminals and rescue hostages. Include hostage negotiators.
- HAZMAT (hazardous materials) – Respond to terrorist attacks or criminal incidents that involve dangerous biological, chemical or radiological materials.
- Bomb Recovery/Analysis – Trained technicians test and render safe a variety of explosive devices. The team investigates bombings and responds to calls about suspicious packages.
Each field office also has its own unique specialties.
Jacksonville. The field office covers 40 counties and has seven satellite offices in northern Florida. In addition to the above specialists, Jacksonville also has a trained Vitim Assistant Specialist who directly helps crime victims and keeps them informed of the case’s progress. A violent 2002 triple homicide in a quiet Jacksonville neighborhood turned into a lengthy hunt for national fugitive Pinkney W. “Chip: Carter. The FBI’s handling of the case is the subject of an upcoming cable documentary.
Tampa. Covers 18 counties that encompass eight satellite offices in central and southwest Florida. Tampa’s specialists also include a group of linguists capable of translating written documents and audio files into a variety of languages relevant to terrorist, espionage and/or criminal cases. Thanks to Tampa’s investigative team, a Sarasota man was sentenced to federal prison on January 14, 2013, for a sophisticated $4 million mortgage fraud scheme.
Miami. Covers nine counties and includes four satellite offices. Like Tampa, Miami has a team of language specialists; however, Miami is also responsible for extraterritorial violations involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Miami’s long string of successes includes the arrest and January 2013 conviction of a former therapist at a mental health care company for fraudulently bilking the government out of $205 million in Medicare funds.