The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that there were 7,415 federal law enforcement officers with arrest and firearms authority in Florida in 2008 – that’s 40 officers/agents for every 100,000 people.
These federal law enforcement officers work for the following agencies at locations throughout Florida:
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) – Miami, Tampa (division offices); Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee, West Palm Beach (field offices); Gainesville, Fort Myers, Fort Pierce, Panama City (satellite offices)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Jacksonville, North Miami Beach, Tampa (field offices)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – Orlando (long-term recovery office)
- National Park Service (Rangers) – See below
- U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) – Miami (district office); Clearwater, Opa Locka (air stations); Jacksonville (helicopter squadron); Tampa (marine safety office); Fort Myers, St. Petersburg (stations)
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – Miami, Tampa (field operations offices that oversee 20 air and sea ports of entry)
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Miami (field division); Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Tampa (field offices); Tallahassee (resident office)
- U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) – Miami, Tampa (field offices)
- U.S. Marshals Service – Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Tampa (district offices)
- U.S. Secret Service – Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach (field offices)
Training and Education in Federal Law Enforcement in Florida
Federal law enforcement jobs generally require at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject like corrections, criminal justice, criminology, homeland security, law enforcement administration, legal studies, police science, etc. Florida has approximately 30 colleges/universities offering bachelors and master’s degrees as well as about a dozen two-year community colleges. Floridians can also take advantage of several accredited online schools.
Some benefits of working for the federal government are:
- Job security
- Excellent salaries
- Regular wage increases
- Generous vacations
- Excellent health insurance
- Excellent retirement and savings programs
Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) Jobs in Florida
Florida’s geographic location makes it vulnerable to severe storms, especially hurricanes. The state has a long history of devastating storms, including the1935 Labor Day hurricane that swept across the Florida Keys killing over 400 people. This strongest hurricane on record to ever hit the United States is dramatized in the classic movie, “Key Largo.”
The year 2004 proved to be one of Florida’s worst storm seasons with the triple whammy of hurricanes Charley, Ivan and Jeanne. Consequently, FEMA opened a “long-term-recovery” office in Orlando in 2005 to both assist Floridians affected by the disastrous 2004 storms and to help communities to become better prepared for future hurricanes. In 2009, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to keep the office open at least three additional years and perhaps permanently. The project included satellite offices in the worst hit areas and over 200 additional employees.
Special Coastal Federal Law Enforcement Agencies in Florida
Although the Tampa Bay area city of Clearwater is best known for its pristine beaches, it is also home to the nation’s largest and busiest U.S. Coast Guard air station noted for its important search and rescue response team. The territory covered by the Clearwater air station includes the Bahamas, the Caribbean basin and Mexico.
In 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) introduced a new biometric database in every Florida County that identifies the immigration status of anyone who is arrested for committing a crime. ICE agents are now able to evaluate every alien arrested and take the appropriate enforcement action.
National Park Service in Florida
Florida’s economy is significantly boosted by the National Park Service (NPS) which added $608,000,000 to the state coffers in 2012 thanks to the 10,366,613 visitors to national parks and monuments. The NPS employs almost 4,000 rangers nationwide and a good many of them work at the following national recreational areas in Florida:
- Biscayne National Park
- Everglades National Park
- Dry Tortuga National Park
- Big Cypress National Preserves
- Canaveral National Seashore
- Gulf Islands National Seashore
In addition, the Sunshine State has approximately 18 national natural landmarks and 43 national historic landmarks.