In 2012, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms launched a tip line in Rutland, encouraging persons with information on illegal drug and firearms activity to call. The ATF’s spokesmen with the Burlington, Vermont field office explained that firearms trafficking and other crimes are often tied to drug trafficking, which is why they were encouraging information on both types of crime. Informants in the Rutland area, where drugs were a problem, were assured that they would be well paid for good information.
ATF agents in Vermont work with a variety of law enforcement agencies at all levels, such as U.S. Border Patrol, local and state police, and more. Some law enforcement entities that Vermont’s ATF agents have worked with include the Rutland City Police Department, the Burlington Police Department, the Essex Police Department, the Colchester Police Department, Vermont State Troopers, and sheriff’s offices in Caledonia County (St. Johnsbury), Bennington County (Bennington), Orleans County (Derby) and Washington County (Montpelier).
Meeting the Qualifications to Become an ATF Agent in Vermont
Before one can become an ATF agent in Vermont, one must meet qualifications at various levels:
- U.S. citizen
- Between the ages of 21 and 36 ½
- Legally able to carry a firearm/ammunition
- Willingness to relocate
- Registered with selective service (males only)
Physical and Other Qualifications
- Pass physical examination and drug screening tests
- Pass the ATF Physical Task Test, consisting of a 1.5- mile run, push-ups and sit- ups
- Pass the ATF Special Agent Exam
- Pass a complete background investigation
Education and Experience Qualifications
In order to obtain an entry-level, Grade 5 ATF agent job in Vermont, one must meet educational and/or experience qualifications. Education includes a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. Three years of criminal justice or law enforcement work experience qualifies candidates as well, as does a combination of education and experience.
For higher-grade ATF agent jobs at the GL-7 and GL-9 level, a graduate degree is required. Degrees that many Vermont ATF agents at these levels hold include master’s degrees in psychology, sociology, criminal justice and political science; as well as law degrees like the L.L. B. and J.D.
Training for a Career with the ATF
All new ATF agents in Vermont complete a challenging and rigorous training program. They are sent to Glynco, Georgia for 27 weeks of training. First, the Criminal Investigators Training Program (CITP) takes place for 12 weeks. New Vermont ATF agents learn about basic firearms training, crime scene management, federal court procedures, as well as law enforcement techniques such as driving, physical techniques, handcuffing, interviewing and surveillance.
Next comes the Special Agent Basic Training (SABT) for 15 weeks. It teaches new ATF agents in Vermont specialized practices they will need to know, including identification of firearms, tactical and firearms training, undercover procedures, physical training, investigations of arson and explosives, investigations of alcohol and tobacco diversion, firearms trafficking, and report writing.
The ATF in Partnership with Local Law Enforcement
ATF agents in Vermont are part of the agency’s Boston Field Division. There is just one ATF field office in Vermont, located in Burlington. The Burlington Field Office houses the Resident Agent in Charge and handles Criminal Enforcement for local ATF cases.
One of the multi-agency collaborations that Vermont ATF agents enjoy is with the U.S. Border Patrol. In 2011, an eight-person unit was formed as a violent crime task force in Vermont to combat firearms trafficking. This unit consists of representatives of Border Patrol, ATF, the Addison County Sheriff’s Office, Rutland City Police Department and the Vermont State Police. The collaboration has helped ATF agents identify many organizations that traffic firearms in return for drugs from the U.S. to Canada along the international border.