How to Become an ATF Agent in South Dakota

ATF Agents in South Dakota are faced with combating gun violence, federal arson and explosives related crimes, as well as alcohol and tobacco related federal incidents. Illegal firearms in the state of South Dakota have been on the rise in recent years, and ATF agents have focused their investigation efforts on career criminals, known gun traffickers, armed violent offenders, and gangs around the state. Working in partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, ATF agents in South Dakota have been successful in recovering hundreds of illegal firearms each year.

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Illegal firearm recovery is only one of the many duties special agents working out of one of South Dakota’s ATF offices are responsible for. Other duties include:

  • Investigating federal violations within the jurisdiction of South Dakota
  • Testifying for the federal government in any necessary court proceedings or before a grand jury
  • Gathering, reviewing and analyzing evidence through leads, arrests, execution of search warrants and seizures
  • Conducting ongoing investigations relating to explosives, firearms, tobacco, arson and alcohol


Meeting ATF Special Agent Job Requirements

In order to start become an ATF Special Agent in South Dakota, all applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • U.S Citizenship
  • Current driver’s license
  • Completed ATF agent applicant questionnaire
  • Complete and pass an ATF agent exam
  • Complete and pass an ATF agent assessment test
  • Complete and pass an ATF Pre-Employment Physical Task Test
  • Complete a successful field panel interview (some writing required)

All applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in order to apply for an entry-level position. Entry-level positions are designated as GL-05 and GL-07 (Government Liaison). Typical majors of applicants include sociology, psychology, criminal justice, and political science. A degree in any of these fields will pay off when conducting extensive investigations. Special agents should have a keen eye for detail, superb problem solving skills and excellent cognitive skills.

South Dakota ATF Special Agents must be strong – both physically and mentally – and capable of handling a rigorous two-part training course.

Training to Become an ATF Special Agent in South Dakota

Newly hired ATF Special Agents are required to undergo a two-part training course.  The first portion of the training course consists of the Criminal Investigators Training Program (CITP). CITP lasts about 12 weeks, but may be waived for newly hired agents that have already completed CITP training with another federal agency. Successful completion is a requirement for employment.

The second portion of the training course is called Special Agent Basic Training (SABT). The SABT training course lasts approximately 15 weeks and is designed to provide foundational requirements for newly hired ATF Special Agents. Successful completion is a requirement for employment.

Working out of the St. Paul ATF Field Division Office

ATF Special Agents in South Dakota work under the auspices of the St. Paul ATF Field Division Office. In addition to the main Field Division Office in St. Paul, there are satellite offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

Employees in the St. Paul Field Division Office are proactive in investigating violations of federal law pertaining to illegal firearms, explosives and arson. ATF Agents work diligently to ensure that all firearms are registered, stored, handled and sold in a safe manner according to federal and state laws.

Recently a Tomah man was sentenced to 37 months for possession of an illegal firearm. ATF Agents in South Dakota worked in collaboration with local law enforcement offices to conduct an investigation on stolen guns, which led to the arrest and conviction of Shelton Hughes, 23, from Tomah.

ATF Special Agent will also encounter federal offenses and crimes associated with drugs, arson and alcohol. South Dakota agents in the past have helped to bring down marijuana distribution rings, and have brought arson charges against the owner of Fat Boys Pizza burning his place of business to the ground in hopes of collecting insurance money.

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