Securing the maritime borders, ports, and protecting Massachusetts through homeland security initiatives are just some of the critical duties entrusted to federal law enforcement agents in the state. These officials have been involved with everything from busting members of the Irish Mob to retracing the steps of the 9/11 hijackers and investigating the Boston Marathon Bombing.
There are approximately 30,000 employees on the federal payroll in Massachusetts, and candidates who are interested in joining their distinguished ranks as federal law enforcement agents must be prepared physically, mentally, and with the proper qualifications. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agents are particularly important in Massachusetts. These are the agents responsible for inspecting incoming maritime traffic and patrolling the seas for drug smugglers, human traffickers, weapons and gunrunners, as well as those seeking to make illegal entry into the United States.
Terrorism Brings Out Federal Law Enforcement in Massachusetts
Americans remember the dramatic events that unfolded in the days following the recent Boston Marathon bombings. What began with a car chase in which law enforcement units from specialized squadrons pursued the two terror suspects as they threw improvised explosive devices at the units, all finally ended with a massive manhunt and images from an infrared camera focused on a boat in a Boston resident’s backyard.
However what many people do not realize is the scale of the alert, dragnet, and subsequent investigation that was set up by local and federal law enforcement across the region:
- Coast Guard units increased their awareness and presence with extra marine and air patrols around key port areas in the Northeast, principally Boston and New York, ensuring these vital points functioned normally and were not targets of follow-up terrorist attacks.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE) Agents played a critical role at the scene of the terror attack where hours after the twin explosions went off they were on their hands and knees gathering fragments for bomb residue analysis that would help investigators determine what type of explosives were used.
- The FBI’s Evidence Response Team were the ones who processed the crime scene on Boylston Street.
- 18 months before the attack the CIA had the suspects’ names added to a watch list, which notified a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agent working with the Boston Terrorism Task Force when one of the bombing suspects left the US for Russia as well as when he returned.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents assisted specialized FBI units in developing a suspect profile and pursuing the suspects throughout the City of Boston.
- Two days after the two suspects were taken into custody Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents arrested two people in New Bedford where one of the bombing suspects was believed to have lived.
- As a precaution, shortly after the bombing took place the Secret Service shut down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, and in Baltimore Penn Station Air Marshals provided extra security.
- US Marshals moved the surviving terror suspect from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the Federal Medical Center Fort Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts.
Making Preparations for Massachusetts Federal Law Enforcement Employment
Whether for reasons stemming from a sense of patriotism, wanting to make a difference after 9/11, a desire for public service to the country, or just wanting a stable career with plenty of promotional opportunities, Massachusetts federal law enforcement careers continue to be a popular choice for many job seekers. As candidates consider pursuing these jobs, the first consideration is always meeting the education requirements that will qualify them for federal law enforcement training.
Most federal law enforcement jobs require a bachelor’s degree at minimum, while others require an advanced degree. There are a wide variety of applicable college degree programs available in Massachusetts that provide candidates with specialized options in highly relevant areas of study, such as:
- Homeland Security
- Emergency Management
- Crime Scene Investigations
- Forensic Science
- Public Safety
- Public Administration
- Police Science
Some agencies – such as the FBI and DEA – also look to candidates with degrees outside the realm of criminal justice. This includes everything from business administration and accounting degrees applicable to fraud investigation, to linguistics programs pertinent to the work performed by foreign bureau agents, to computer science degrees relevant to cybercrime investigators.
Federal Law Enforcement Jobs in Massachusetts
As a major East Coast hub and with a strategic location on the Atlantic Ocean, Boston serves as a central focal point for federal law enforcement careers in Massachusetts, and some agencies have offices at additional locations throughout the state:
- FBI Field Office on 1 Center Plaza, Suite 600
- Drug Enforcement Administration in the JFK Federal Building room E-400 on 15 Sudbury Street
- US Marshals District of Massachusetts Office in the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, located at 1 Courthouse Way, Suite 1-500
- Metro Boston Homeland Security Office of Emergency Management located at 1 City Hall Square in City Hall room 204
- CIA Boston Office at 545 Technology Square
- The Coast Guard operates out of many facilities on the Massachusetts coastline, with its First District Office being headquartered on 408 Atlantic Avenue
- Multiple Boston Field Offices of the ATFE with additional locations in:
- CPB Offices with a full-service port in Boston and other facilities in:
- Fall River
- Logan International Airport
- New Bedford