Since Sept. 11, the FBI has been deluged with applications and inquiries about jobs, an unusual situation.
Before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., agent Traci Dow-Wyatt, the FBI application coordinator in Denver, received about 10 job applications a week. Since then, she's received about 20-30 applications a week. She also gets at least 100 phone inquiries a week about FBI jobs.
And with the government's new emphasis on anti-terrorism investigations, there are an unusual number of positions to be filled: 966.
Ex-police officers and ex-military members are high on the list of potential candidates. The bureau seeks former military and police personnel with backgrounds in investigations who already know how to gather intelligence and conduct criminal probes. Agents must also have good people skills.
"Where else in the world do you come out of training and they throw a set of car keys on your desk and give you all kinds of equipment to play with and say, 'Now go get a bad guy'?" said Dow-Wyatt.
But it's not as exciting as some might think. According to agent Ann Atanasio, much of the FBI's work is intelligence, which can take years to develop. Compared to other areas of law enforcement, such concrete accomplishments such as arrests are few and far between because of the time often involved in reaching that part of the process. "It is an entirely different kind of work," Atanasio said.