FBI Hiring Women
Today, as promised, we have a female FBI Special Agent as a guest blogger–what a treat. Being a special agent sounds like an incredible career for women. She tells me that the FBI has been hiring female special agents since 1972! –Heather
There are no guarantees for the Special Agent in training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I was reminded of this fact the first day I arrived and I often woke in my dorm room during the next 16 weeks wondering if I was going to pass all the exams. For a period of time, firearms training was my biggest challenge at the FBI Academy.
Like any job application process, you try your best but this law enforcement training required living with your evaluators and sweating with your future colleagues for a series of months. Up to this point, I had already been interviewed by a panel of FBI Special Agents, passed a series of written tests, and passed a polygraph. A few minutes after taking the polygraph, I sat in front of a 6′ 8″ supervisor who leaned over his desk and asked, “How do you feel about deadly force?” I replied, “No problem. I know I will be trained well and I will know when to use it.” I gave this logical answer because I knew that only if I measured up would I be entrusted with a badge and gun. I believed this was fair; I had to prove myself.
Growing up I had been a distance runner and had participated in team sports, but learning how to proficiently shoot a Glock 22 at the Academy was technical and required a higher level of discipline. I worked tirelessly executing the fundamentals of stance, grip, sight alignment and trigger control. Fortunately I realized the firearms instructors wanted me, a FEMALE, to succeed not wash me out so I gained the confidence I was lacking in a few weeks. Also early on my class counselor, a veteran female Special Agent, stood in front of my class of 28 males and four females and very convincingly told each one of us we could pass ALL the firearms courses. That day I chose to believe her and a few months later I graduated from the Academy, which included a congratulatory photo with then FBI Director Louis Freeh. It is important to note that this year marks the 40th anniversary (1972 – 2012) of the first female FBI Special Agent.
My agency recently changed its pistol qualification course to a longer course of fire. Last quarter I shot the course and only missed one point (one bullet) from a perfect score. Not bad for someone who held a gun for the second time during FBI Agent Training. I have learned a lot about fighting crime since those days, and I love the excitement of working federal criminal cases. The one thing that has remained constant all these years is the outstanding firearms instruction I receive at work. I have even considered becoming a firearms instructor, so I could help others reach their potential. Between now and my last day with the FBI, I may be called to protect a life or defend myself while in the line of duty. I know I will be ready.
(FBI disclaimer: “The opinions expressed in this blog are the writer’s and not those of the FBI.”)