So you want to be a federal agent
Law enforcement positions require significant training in many areas, to include law, defensive tactics, use of force and driving techniques. However, federal agents and law enforcement officers of the federal government primarily train at one specific academy for all programs: the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Whether you plan to attend FLETC (or “Flea Tech” as it’s called by the Brunswick, GA locals) as a trainee of a federal agency, or as a state or local law enforcement officer, this article will give you insight into what you can expect at “The Center”. Many aspects of FLETC training are comparable to what you would find in a police academy for local and state law enforcement, but there are also several unique aspects about FLETC that are discussed within this article. Train hard and follow this guidance and you will do well.
Overall, FLETC is somewhat like a combination of a police academy, college and Disney Land (and very different from what I went through in my previous state police academy). Some programs are more “para-military” than others (I’ve heard this is true for some of the uniformed agencies). The driver training here is a lot of fun (except Non-emergency Driver Operation- yawn!). You also get used to random explosions going off from the ATF bomb range.
Dorms: It’s not bad having maids make your bed every morning and leave you clean towels. The smell of over-powering bleach in your restroom can get a bit numbing, but it’s better than having it looking like a public restroom (fortunately my roommates were pretty clean). The dorm rooms are SMALL.
When I last attended FLETC in 2009 there was no wireless or broadband internet in the rooms (this may have changed), but the library and computer labs give you access. There is also wireless internet access at the Student Center, if you have a laptop and wireless card. There is cable TV in the dorms, but TV sets are not provided. I’d recommend bringing a TV, Xbox One/PS4 (if you’re into video games), micro-fridge and alarm clock.
Also, PUT VALUABLES IN YOUR SAFE WHEN YOU LEAVE YOUR ROOM! Things do get stolen from time to time, and FLETC security’s investigative skills leave much to be desired. It’s also smart to buy a bicycle to ride to class. Many of these commodities are sold by graduating students (with flyers posted at dorm billboards), so don’t rush out into town to buy these things brand new until you see what’s already available for much more reasonable prices.
Student Center: Commonly referred to as the “G Bar”, among other things. It’s a bar/community center on campus. It’s not a bad spot to go after hours when you need to unwind, and makes a good, convenient spot for class parties, too. Just do not be that guy who’s there every night… hint, hint.
Cafeteria and Medical/Health Unit: I think the best description I heard was one of the Marines in our class said, “I’d rather be back in Iraq eating MRE’s than this…” The “caf” is mediocre, but there are several delivery options from restaurants off the center if you’re attending FLETC on per diem. I will say that sack lunches at the Student Center are pretty good, and convenient. If you get sick (seriously sick, not just a cold) get off Center and GO SEE A REAL DOCTOR. Trust me, as I found this out first hand and was almost recycled months into my CITP course when I didn’t get better after being sick for 2 weeks. If you get hurt on-the-job (including during Officer Response Tactics/PT), report it and have a CA-1 form completed. If you don’t report it, you may kiss any chance at worker’s comp good-bye.
Academics: Overall, the academics are sort of like college during the freshman and sophomore years. Not overly challenging, but it does require a little bit of studying (perhaps more so if you have not worked previously in law enforcement, or are not used to taking tests). In CITP we had a few that made high 70’s, but no one was on the verge of failing academically.
About the Author: Ryan Schwoebel is the Anti-money Laundering Compliance Officer for Protective Life Corporation’s securities investment firm, and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Ryan is a former Special Agent of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and attended several training courses at FLETC, including: Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP), NCIS Academy, Firearms Instructor Training Program (FITP), and the Basic Procurement Fraud Training Program (BPFTP).