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As of 31 December 2009, the FBI had a total of 33,852 employees. That includes 13,412 special agents and 20,420 support professionals, such as intelligence analysts, language specialists, scientists, information technology specialists, and other professionals.

The Officer Down Memorial Page provides the biographies of 69 FBI agents who have died in the line of duty from 1925 to July 2017.

Hiring process
To apply to become an FBI agent, one must be between the ages of 23 and 37. Due to the decision in Robert P. Isabella v. Department of State and Office of Personnel Management, 2008 M.S.P.B. 146, preference-eligible veterans may apply after age 37. In 2009, the Office of Personnel Management issued implementation guidance on the Isabella decision. The applicant must also hold U.S. citizenship, be of high moral character, have a clean record, and hold at least a four-year bachelor's degree. At least three years of professional work experience prior to application is also required. All FBI employees require a Top Secret (TS) security clearance, and in many instances, employees need a TS/SCI (Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearance. To obtain a security clearance, all potential FBI personnel must pass a series of Single Scope Background Investigations (SSBI), which are conducted by the Office of Personnel Management. Special agent candidates also have to pass a Physical Fitness Test (PFT), which includes a 300-meter run, one-minute sit-ups, maximum push-ups, and a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) run. Personnel must pass a polygraph test with questions including possible drug use. Applicants who fail polygraphs may not gain employment with the FBI. Up until 1975, the FBI had a minimum height requirement of 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm).

BOI and FBI directors
FBI Directors are appointed (nominated) by the President of the United States and must be confirmed by the United States Senate to serve a term of office of ten years, subject to resignation or removal by the President at his/her discretion before their term ends. Additional terms are allowed following the same procedure

J. Edgar Hoover, appointed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924, was by far the longest-serving director, serving until his death in 1972. In 1968, Congress passed legislation, as part of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, requiring Senate confirmation of appointments of future Directors. As the incumbent, this legislation did not apply to Hoover. The last FBI Director was James B. Comey, who was appointed in 2013 by President Barack Obama. In 2017, he was fired by President Donald Trump.

The FBI director is responsible for the day-to-day operations at the FBI. Along with the Deputy Director, the director makes sure cases and operations are handled correctly. The director also is in charge of making sure the leadership in any one of the FBI field offices is manned with qualified agents. Before the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act was passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the FBI director would directly brief the President of the United States on any issues that arise from within the FBI. Since then, the director now reports to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who in turn reports to the President.

Firearms
Upon qualification, an FBI special agent is issued a full-size Glock 22 or compact Glock 23 semi-automatic pistol, both of which are chambered in the .40 S&W cartridge. In May 1997, the FBI officially adopted the Glock, in .40 S&W, for general agent use, and first issued it to New Agent Class 98-1 in October 1997. At present, the Glock 23 "FG&R" (finger groove and rail; either 3rd generation or "Gen4") is the issue sidearm. New agents are issued firearms, on which they must qualify, on successful completion of their training at the FBI Academy. The Glock 26 (subcompact 9mm Parabellum), Glock 23 and Glock 27 (.40 S&W compact and subcompact, respectively) are authorized as secondary weapons. Special agents are also authorized to purchase and qualify with the Glock 21 in .45 ACP.

Special agents of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and regional SWAT teams are issued the Springfield Armory Professional Model 1911 pistol in .45 ACP.

In June 2016, the FBI awarded Glock a contract for new handguns. Unlike the currently issued .40 S&W chambered Glock pistols, the new Glocks will be chambered for 9mm Parabellum. The contract is for the full-size Glock 17M and the compact Glock 19M. The "M" means the Glocks have been modified to meet government standards specified by a 2015 government request for proposal.

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