As of 2010, 55 federal law enforcement agencies were active in Pennsylvania, providing an avenue for federal agent careers. The state is a key one in the fight against terrorism in the U.S. In fact, the FBI currently has three Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) active in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania had the fifth highest number of terrorism convictions of any state in the period between the 9/11 attacks and March 2010.
Both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have been designated as high-threat, high-density targets for terrorists. The Pittsburgh FBI Division was pivotal in efforts to investigate the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11. Since Philadelphia is a port city, federal law enforcement efforts there are particularly critical to U.S. homeland security. The Philadelphia JTTF helped to disrupt the 2007 terrorist plot against the Fort Dix U.S. Army Base.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Attorney General has designated the use and trafficking of illegal drugs to be the number one threat to public safety in the state. A number of interagency task forces have been implemented to fight drug trafficking and its attendant crime in Pennsylvania.
One key example of joint law enforcement efforts in Pennsylvania was the 2012 Violent Crime Reduction Partnership in Philadelphia. This paired officers from the DEA, FBI, ATF, and US Marshals with those from the Philadelphia Police Department. They helped to secure 77 indictments against 92 people by the U.S. Attorney’s Office over 120 days. US Marshals alone arrested over 300 violent fugitives during this period.
Preparing for a Career in Federal Law Enforcement
Residents of Pennsylvania who seek jobs as federal law enforcement officers have a number of options given the strong presence of federal law enforcement agencies in the state. Most of these agencies require a bachelor’s degree from prospective federal agents. Many applicants to these agencies have obtained a degree in criminal justice to help them become more effective agents.
Recruits for federal agents undergo a substantial amount of training to ensure that they are well equipped to carry out their missions. Agents for the FBI and DEA are trained at their respective academies in Quantico, Virginia. DEA agents receive their practical training in skills such as using firearms and driving in pursuit situations at the FBI’s Academy.
US Marshals – This agency is highly active in Philadelphia with its Violent Fugitive Task Force. It is the oldest of its type in the country. Despite its general absence from the press, this task force has captured over 17,000 fugitives during its thirty year period. Recent cases involved the following arrests:
- The rapist of an 11 year old girl
- The killer of a police officer
- An arsonist responsible for the death of six people
- A murderer who was tracked to Italy
FBI – FBI agents have been active in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh since the earliest days of the agency. The Philadelphia Division has been particularly pivotal to counterespionage efforts in the country and provided the link between Soviet spies Julius Rosenberg and Klaus Fuchs. It has also been highly active in the fight against organized crime and targeted leaders like Bruno and Scarfo.
In Pittsburgh, FBI agents have also been heavily involved in the fight against espionage and had over 2,000 pending national defense cases in 1942. It has also been a pioneer in the fight against cyber crime. The agency’s first computer crimes task force was based out of the Pittsburgh office and became a national model.
Recent FBI cases in Pennsylvania for 2013 have included the following:
- A million dollar investment fraud scheme
- A multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme
- Soliciting terrorists to wage Jihad against the US
- A $1.4 million drug trafficking ring that brought cocaine from New York into Pennsylvania
Federal Law Enforcement Offices in Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia Division Office
- Pittsburgh Division Office
- Scranton Resident Office
- Philadelphia District Office
- Pittsburgh District Office
- Scranton Resident Office
- Philadelphia with seven groups including ones specializing in
- Violent crimes
- Pittsburgh with three groups specializing in:
- Industry operations
- Harrisburg (industry operations)
- Lansdale (industry operations)
- Wilkes-Barre (industry operations
- Allentown—LeHigh North Hampton Airport
- Philadelphia International Airport
- Pittsburgh International Airport
Secret Service Locations: