On May 11, 2012, North Dakota ATF agents were honored for their superb investigative work by the National Association of Police Organizations. The five ATF special agents from the Fargo field office were recognized because of a successful investigation that led to the arrest of violent narcotics traffickers and gang members. Their work led to the prosecution of 13 individuals under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
ATF special agents, in North Dakota and throughout the nation, are committed to reducing violent crime through the investigation of federal crimes related to: arson, firearms, explosives, and the illegal manufacture, sale and distribution of alcohol and tobacco.
For example, in September 2013, a North Dakota man pled guilty to charges that he had three firearms and assorted ammunition while on federal probation. The investigation was conducted by the ATF working alongside the Edmunds County Sheriff’s Office.
ATF special agents in North Dakota are part of the St. Paul Field Division. The ATF field offices within North Dakota include:
- Fargo Field Office: 701-293-2860
- Fargo II, Industry Operations Satellite Office: 701-293-2880
How to Become an ATF Agent in North Dakota through Education and/or Experience
Meeting the requirements of the GL-5 level (the minimum level at which ATF agents are hired) means possessing at least 3 years of progressively responsible experience; at least one year of experience must be equivalent to the GL-4 level, which includes criminal investigation or law enforcement work. Candidates without the required experience may qualify if they possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
Although specific degrees are not required to qualify for an ATF agent job in North Dakota, many candidates pursue related degrees, such as forensic psychology, emergency management, criminal justice, and criminology, just to name a few.
Individuals may also qualify if they possess a combination of education and experience.
Individuals may qualify at the GL-7 level if they possess at least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level. Specialized experience must include work in one or more of the following:
- Basic investigative techniques within criminal investigations
- Gathering and analyzing evidence
- Preparing criminal investigative reports
- Interviewing suspects and witnesses
- Testifying for the government in investigations
Individuals without experience may qualify at the GL-7 level if they possess a bachelor’s degree with superior academic achievement; if they possess a master’s or graduate degree (LLB, JD, LLM or PhD); or if they possess a combination of education and experience.
Criminal Investigator and Special Agent Basic Training
In addition to meeting the education/experience requirements for ATF jobs, individuals who want to learn how to become an ATF agent in North Dakota must meet the minimum requirements for employment, which include:
- Being a United States citizen
- Being between the ages of 21 and 36 years old
- Possessing a valid driver’s license
- Possessing excellent vision and hearing
Candidates who meet the minimum requirement for ATF careers must also successfully complete the agency’s special agent physical assessment test, the special agent assessment test, the special agent exam, and a field panel interview. Other pre-employment tests include a drug screen, a polygraph examination, and a background investigation.
Training requirements include completing the 12-week Criminal Investigator Training Program through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, followed by the 15-week ATF Special Agent Basic Training (SABT).
The SABT includes physical conditioning, tactical training, and classroom training. Classroom training includes study in constitutional law, federal criminal law, and the Gun Control Act, as well as study in areas such as:
- Firearms technology
- Report writing/Interviewing
- Legal issues
- Arson/Arson regulations
- Explosives/Explosives regulations
Individuals are required to pass 7 academic exams and achieve a minimum score of at least 80 percent to pass the SABT.