The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that, as of 2008, there were 1,155 federal law enforcement officers in West Virginia. Of those, the largest number of federal law enforcement jobs was in corrections, followed by criminal investigations and police response/patrol.
West Virginia is home to the following federal law enforcement agency offices:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
United States Coast Guard
- Falling Wasters
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
United States Secret Service
United States Marshals
Careers in Federal Law Enforcement in West Virginia
The presence of federal law enforcement professionals in West Virginia—and the potential career opportunities here—are realized upon examining some of the major task forces within the West Virginia District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. These task forces, which are in place to enforce federal law in West Virginia, consist of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that target a specific criminal activity:
- Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
- Central West Virginia Task Force
- Huntington Violent Crime and Drug Task Force
- Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team
- Parkersburg Drug and Violent Crime Task Force
- Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force
- U.S. Route 119 Drug Task Force
- Greenbrier County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force
- West Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigations
Recent headlines out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office also show the coordination between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies in West Virginia:
- A Spencer-based oil and gas company bookkeeper convicted of stealing more than $800,000 from her employer was sentenced to two years in federal prison. The investigation was conducted by the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- An Ohio drug dealer convicted of assaulting a West Virginia state trooper and was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison. The West Virginia State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.
- A Huntington heroin dealer was convicted to 11 years in prison for his involvement in a heroin distribution conspiracy. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Huntington Police Department, and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force were involved in the investigation.
- A Moorefield man was sentenced to 15 years for the trafficking of painkillers, including possession with the intent to distribute hydrocodone and possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, methamphetamine and morphine. The federal agencies involved in the investigation included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Federal Law Enforcement Education and Training in West Virginia
The first step to a career in federal law enforcement is often the completion of a college degree program. A four-year degree culminating in a bachelor’s degree is the most common educational path chosen by individuals in federal law enforcement, as many federal law enforcement agencies demand this degree as a minimum requirement for employment, including the U.S. Marshals, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration..
Training is also a vital and required component to many federal law enforcement positions, and this training most often takes place through one of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) located throughout the United States. The closest FLETC training center for federal law enforcement professionals in West Virginia is the FLETC in Cheltenham, Maryland. The FLETC-Cheltenham training center, consists of more than 372 acres and a number of facilities, including:
- Indoor firing range
- Driver training simulators
- Computer laboratories
- Video teleconferencing
- Firearms simulators
- Multi-purpose classrooms