The ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) agency is headquartered in Washington, DC. In addition to spearheading national initiatives, its agents carry out a number of operations within the city.
With its large number of government buildings, DC has no shortage of targets that could be of interest to terrorist groups. In addition, the inner city has a great deal of drug crime and suffers daily from the violence associated with cartels fighting to maintain their turf. This problem is so severe that Washington has been classified as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). A number of national and internationally based street gangs operate in Washington, including the El Salvadoran-linked MS-13.
ICE has responded by developing the National Gang Unit (NGU). Agents working with this unit on Operation Community Shield identified three MS-13 leaders for their roles in murders and extortion committed in Washington and the surrounding areas. They were found guilty and sentenced in 2013.
Steps to Becoming an ICE Agent in Colorado
About 30% of ICE special agents have had previous careers in which they performed criminal investigations. Having this type of background can help to substitute for some of the educational requirements associated with becoming an ICE special agent.
Education Requirements – To become an ICE agent, the agency requires that applicants have completed either a year of graduate school or have met performance standards for their bachelor’s degree. These standards include the following:
- Having been elected to a national honor society
- Ranking in the top third of their class
- Achieving the following average for their whole term of study or in the final two years:
- B in all courses
- B+ in their major
General Qualifications – Applicants must also meet the following requirements:
- Being a citizen of the United States
- Being younger than 37 (This can be waived for veterans.)
How to Apply – Once the requirements have been met, the next step is to apply when ICE criminal investigator jobs are being advertised in Washington, DC on the federal website for government jobs.
Training – Before being hired, applicants are thoroughly screened. This includes a full background check. Upon hiring, recruits receive 22 weeks of paid training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center (FELC) in Georgia. This paid process includes the following types of study:
- Academic coursework
- Physical conditioning
- Becoming proficient with firearms
Getting in Contact – Residents of the District of Columbia who want more information about becoming an ICE agent are encouraged to contact the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for this city. There is a field office in Washington that can be reached at 703-285-6700.
ICE Operational Agencies Headquartered in DC
A number of ICE task forces operate out of Washington, DC. Two prominent ones are listed below.
National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center – ICE leads the IPR, which partners with US law enforcement agencies and those of its allies to protect consumers by dismantling organizations that traffic in counterfeit merchandise.
As a result of Operation in Our Sites, ICE agents took part in Project Cyber Monday IV in December 2013 to seize 297 domain names that were selling counterfeit merchandise illegally over the Internet. These companies not only sold shoddy merchandise, but also put their customers’ financial information at risk.
Human Exploitation Rescue Operative Child Rescue Corps – ICE is the current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce of law enforcement agencies and partners in the private sector that work together to deter and prevent the online sexual exploitation of children.
Part of this effort is the HERO Corps pilot program that was announced in September 2013. With this program, ICE special agents directly supervise a group of highly trained veterans who have received special training in computer forensics. Working in tandem, they identify and rescue children who have been exploited sexually.
The training of these veterans involves the following:
- Four weeks at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to learn to identify and rescue children who are being sexually abused and exploited online
- Seven weeks at ICE’s Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Virginia to learn to use computer forensics and the digital collection of evidence