How to Become an ATF Agent in Colorado

With its regional headquarters in Denver serving Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado plus an additional field office in Colorado Springs, the ATF’s presence in Colorado cannot be understated. ATF Agents in Colorado take on some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. Recent ATF operations in Colorado included an investigation into a man who recently went on a bombing spree around Lakewood, as well as a roundup of 30 criminals in Greeley who were recently all convicted for weapons and drugs violations.

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Just last year the ATF was responsible for recovering and tracing 2,337 firearms in the state, a figure that includes seven machine guns and 1,256 pistols. About half of all firearms recovered in the state were from Denver, while Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo were also significant sources.

Meeting ATF Prerequisites

Becoming an ATF Agent involves meeting some basic requirements and either earning a degree or gaining the necessary experience. To be eligible for recruitment, prospective special agents will need to meet the following conditions:

  • Be a US citizen with a valid driver’s license
  • Have not used hard drugs in the past 10 years
  • Be able to obtain a top secret security clearance
  • Have a four-year bachelor degree in any subject OR one of the following:
    • Three years of progressively responsible experience in the law enforcement or criminal investigations field
    • A combination of education and experience

Agents who are interested in entering at a higher level may qualify by having a degree with a good academic record in the following subjects:

  • Political Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Law Enforcement
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Science


Application and Training Process

Applications for ATF careers are submitted through the federal USA Jobs website. Candidates can sign up to be notified by email when ATF job vacancies in Colorado become available.

Prospective ATF Agents will also need to complete a series of tests and questionnaires. These include:

After a successful application and acceptance into the Bureau, training for ATF jobs takes place in two parts:

  • A 12-week Criminal Investigators Training Program held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia
  • 15 weeks of Special Agent Basic Training

After these 27 weeks of training, new agents will be ready for their first assignment.

What it’s Like to Work in Colorado

The nature of work for an ATF Special Agent in Colorado can involve undercover operations that can pose serious hazards. Dealing with illegal firearms, explosives, and organized crime syndicates all have obvious risks. The various ATF units operating throughout the cities and counties of Colorado bravely face these dangers each day.

In a recent operation conducted by the Greeley RAGE (regional anti-gang enforcement) Task Force, 30 suspects were arrested and convicted on charges relating to the possession of illegal firearms and drugs. The combined total of the sentences added up to 142 years behind bars.

The ATF often partners with local Colorado law enforcement agencies to add its expertise and resources to the fight against crime throughout the state.

The Greeley RAGE Task Force includes members from:

  • ATF
  • FBI
  • Weld County District Attorney’s Office
  • Greeley Police Department

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