Oklahoma’s history of terrorist activity has resulted in the state initiating rigorous homeland security efforts. A number of federal law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma work in partnership with local law enforcement to thwart criminal enterprises, track down fugitives, and provide security for air travelers.
One of Oklahoma’s security problems is rampant drug smuggling. The state is a transshipment point for illegal drugs being brought up from Mexico and from the East and West Coast. In addition, Oklahoma has a large problem with foreign cartels and gangs. This led the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to open a new office in Tulsa in 2009 to help investigate crimes in eastern Oklahoma that are perpetrated by criminals in the county illegally.
The continued presence of criminal activity in Oklahoma creates jobs for federal law enforcement agents in the state. Those seeking these types of careers would be well advised to get at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field, since a college degree is frequently a requirement for federal law enforcement positions.
Federal Law Enforcement Jobs with Oklahoma’s DEA and FBI Field Offices
DEA – One agency that has a number of agents in Oklahoma is the DEA. Agents had been swamped by so many cases at the Oklahoma City that they opened up an additional office in Tulsa in 1983.
The DEA’s efforts to fight drug trafficking in Oklahoma are complicated by the presence of Mexican cartels that use locations in the state to stash drugs and then ship them elsewhere. Often with the help of other agencies, DEA agents routinely make significant busts in Oklahoma. This includes the capture of a methamphetamine ring in Tulsa in April 2013 that had distributed millions of dollars worth of the drug and was operating internationally.
The fight against drug trafficking can also lead to legitimate businesses such as retail pharmacies. A prominent drug store chain agreed to pay $11 million in April 2013 for violating federal drug laws. DEA agents found over 6,000 instances of pharmacists using false prescribing doctors’ DEA registration numbers in 2009 alone.
Individuals from a number of different career paths are welcome to apply to work for this agency. This can include:
- Having a law enforcement background in drug investigations
- Having a college degree
- Having experience in a number of relevant fields, including accounting and engineering
Applicants who are chosen to become DEA agents are trained at the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Additional training in practical skills such as using firearms and driving in pursuit takes place at the FBI Academy at the same location.
FBI – The FBI has a long history in Oklahoma with efforts starting in the early 20th century. Fighting crime on Indian Territory was a major goal of the FBI in its early years in Oklahoma. In recent times, FBI efforts were pivotal in capturing those involved in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Given the breadth of investigations carried out by the FBI, the agency is seeking individuals with a diverse array of skills ranging from those in law enforcement to engineers, computer scientists, and accountants. Linguists are in particular demand. Being physically fit is a highly important for special agents and is emphasized as a hiring criterion.
Training for FBI recruits takes place at the world famous FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It emphasizes academic skills, along with rigorous physical fitness training. Potential agents are trained in the use of firearms and learn high-powered driving skills.
Federal Law Enforcement Offices in Oklahoma
DEA – Drug Enforcement Agency efforts in Oklahoma receive their direction from the Dallas Field Office. The Oklahoma City District Office on Broadway Extension has jurisdiction over the whole state, with the Resident Office in Tulsa on East 63rd Place oversees drug interdiction efforts in eastern Oklahoma.
ICE – The Office of Investigations has two permanent offices in Tulsa, including one at the Tulsa’s Sherriff’s Office and one on North Denver Ave. In addition, there is an office in Oklahoma City.
Secret Service – The Secret Service developed its highly advanced Cell Phone Forensic Facility in Tulsa in 2008 to help fight against cybercrime. In addition, this agency has a financial crimes task force based in Tulsa at West 15th Street. Two task forces operate out of Oklahoma City with one specializing in financial crimes and the other on electronic crimes. Their office is located on NW 5th.
FBI – Agency efforts for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Oklahoma are based out of its Oklahoma City Division on West Memorial Road. In addition, 11 satellite offices operate around the state in the following cities:
- Elk City
CBP – Border patrol agents work at ports of entry in Oklahoma City and Tulsa under the auspices of the Field Operations Office in Dallas. They investigate both air and rail traffic for contraband and illegal agricultural goods being brought into the country.
ATF – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has two Field Offices in Oklahoma: one in Oklahoma City and the other in Tulsa. In addition, it operates a satellite office in Muskogee.
TSA – Transportation Security Agency employees screen airline passengers and their baggage at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa International Airport.
U.S. Marshals – The organization of the U.S. Marshals Services parallels that of Oklahoma’s Court Systems and is divided into three districts:
- Northern District
- Western District
- Eastern District