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What does a FBI Agent do?

Patrick Wensink
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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An FBI agent is an important job in law enforcement in the United States. Made famous in countless television shows and movies, FBI agents are responsible for upholding the law on a federal level. The job entails a great deal of complex work in the field and in the office. There are a variety of cases that an agent can investigate, ranging from murder to tax fraud, cyber crime and much more. No two FBI cases are the same, and a special agent often has a specialty.

The key responsibility for an FBI agent is to investigate crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigations handles only federal offenses, because anything at a lower level is left up to local authorities. Terrorist threats, bribery and organized crime are some of the bigger situations than an agent deals with. Every agent must be an expert in United States law, law enforcement procedures and criminal investigating. Before becoming an agent, candidates must pass rigorous physical and mental tests to prove that they have what it takes to handle the strain and challenge of this position.

Half of the work of an FBI agent involves investigations in the field. This refers to crime scenes and dealing with suspects and witnesses outside of the office, all of which can be anywhere in the country, depending on the case. FBI investigations revolve around looking at the crime scene and collecting evidence. A special agent also could be asked to track suspects for long periods of time, work undercover with little sleep or food and put himself in danger by apprehending criminals. Teamwork is an important part of what he does, because an entire team of agents could be working a case, so taking and giving orders is essential to a case's success.

The second half of responsibility for an FBI agent is all of the work he does away from the field. This primarily concerns work within the office, which includes researching each case to solve the puzzle. Reviewing evidence, interviewing suspects and witnesses and researching similar cases are all important parts of this job. One overlooked part of office work is writing reports for the FBI, because this job requires completing an enormous amount of paperwork.

An FBI agent often has a specialty that helps the bureau focus on certain aspects of a case. Agents with computer backgrounds can focus on cyber crimes, agents with a financial background often work closely with accounting fraud cases, and agents with traditional law enforcement backgrounds handle more physical crimes. No matter what an agent's specialty, there is a need for his services in the FBI.

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Patrick Wensink
By Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various genres and platforms. His work has been featured in major publications, including attention from The New Yorker. With a background in communication management, Wensink brings a unique perspective to his writing, crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.
Discussion Comments
By Markerrag — On Feb 14, 2015

@Melonlity -- Those law students need to know the training required of FBI agents. Those agents go through boot camp like military folks do. That is a tough program to get through, indeed.

By Melonlity — On Feb 13, 2015

One thing that might surprise people is how many FBI agents are attorneys. The FBI, in fact, recruits people out of law school to join the FBI as there is a belief that attorneys learn the investigative skills necessary for FBI agents.

That might not be a bad career choice for law students wondering what to do after they get their degrees.

Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various...
Learn more
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