The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that Indiana had 884 federal law enforcement officers with arrest and firearms authority active within the state of Indiana in 2008. As Indiana’s northwestern tip has a 15-mile coastline with Lake Michigan and the Ohio River forms the state’s southern border, many federal agents with CBP (Customs and Border Protection), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and the US Coast Guard were involved with the protection of the state’s waterways.
Federal law enforcement officers in virtually all agencies are generally required to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field like criminal justice, police science, emergency management or homeland security in order to be hired. In addition to accredited online schools, Indiana is home to more than 46 institutions of higher education, including eight public universities and colleges, of which the two largest have campuses located in cities around the state.
Federal Law Enforcement Agencies with an Active Presence in Indiana
The following lists federal agencies supporting most of the federal law enforcement jobs and training opportunities in Indiana:
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) – Indianapolis (field office); Evansville, Fort Wayne, Merrillville (satellite offices)
- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis (ports of entry)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Indianapolis (field office)
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Indianapolis (district office); Merrillville (resident office)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Indianapolis (field office)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – Indianapolis (field office)
- National Park Service (Rangers) – Chesterton (administrative office); Lincoln City (Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home national monument); Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore*
- US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) – Indianapolis (field office)
- US Coast Guard (USCG) – Michigan City (station); Indianapolis (recruiting)
- US Secret Service – Indianapolis (field office)
*The famous 15,000-acre Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is noted for its 15 miles of sandy beaches and soaring sand dunes, some of which reach almost 200 feet in height. The park also contains 45 miles of hiking trails over rugged dunes, interesting wetlands and peaceful forests.
ICE and CBP Protecting Indiana’s Shipping Port
A 2010 study indicates that port activity adds approximately three billion dollar a year to the state coffers. The Hoosier state’s three ports provide many jobs, including those of federal law enforcement agents with the CBP and ICE. The international port at Burns Harbor is one of the largest and most modern shipping ports on the Great Lakes. It handles more ocean-going cargo than any other Great Lakes port, including 15 percent of all steel being exported to Europe.
The other two ports are Jacksonville and Mt. Vernon. Jacksonville, Indiana’s newest port, is situated on the Ohio River across from Louisville, KY. It ships over a million dollars of cargo on the Ohio River every year. Mt. Vernon is the largest public port within 175 miles of the intersection of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Indiana ports are a critical part of the national river system that allows ocean-going cargo ships access from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
The US Coast Guard in Indiana
The U.S. Coast Guard has 48 officers located in Indiana. The Michigan City station adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore employs 19 active-duty officers and seven reservists. Opened in 1988, it is the only Lake Michigan unit in Indiana. The multi-function unit is involved in search and rescue efforts, maritime law enforcement, homeland security and marine environment protection.
Since 2001 the Coast Guard has played an active role in preventing terrorism. Michigan City officers patrol the 15-mile lakeshore to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity. They also board boats, including those of recreational boaters suspected of boating laws such as “boating under the influence.” The station has three vessels ranging from a 14-foot skiff used mostly for ice rescues to a 47-foot cutter that holds four crew members and five survivors and is capable of maneuvering in 30-foot seas. The unit handles approximately 125 search and rescue cases a year.