Federal LEOs moving amidst agencies

This is a discussion on Federal LEOs moving amidst agencies within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Currently state LEO and have considered going Federal. I've applied to a couple and interviewed with one agency before my current job and have pondered ...

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Thread: Federal LEOs moving amidst agencies

  1. #1
    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    Question Federal LEOs moving amidst agencies

    Currently state LEO and have considered going Federal. I've applied to a couple and interviewed with one agency before my current job and have pondered another go round down the road.

    Naturally, I'd like to do my research, apply with and join one agency I like and stay there til retirement (already been through one LEO academy and the "new guy" experience once). But I've also wondered what happens when someone goes from one federal agency to another (say ATF to FBI or vice versa). Job descriptions for US Marshalls and Secret Service and others refer to what appear to be similar pay scales and LEAP rates of extra pay which makes me wonder if they're grouped similarly as employees under Uncle Sam. I've read about 6(c) Law enforcement and their retirements just a bit.

    My main questions are...

    1. Do agents who move from one agency to another self-sabotage their retirement setup (e.g. 7 years in Secret Service and then another 20 required in Diplomatic Security to retire)?

    2. Do agents who move from one agency to another come in at the entry level salaries with their fellow classmates?

    Much obliged.
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    Senior Member Array Bigsteve113's Avatar
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    I think fed leo's have pay grades similar to military i.e. E1, E2, E3.... I assume your grade stays with you. Many retirements are transferable, sometimes with an adjustment. Not really sure about this though. Never was a fed, never wanted to be!

    Do yourself a favor, Stay State !!!!
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    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsteve113 View Post

    Do yourself a favor, Stay State !!!!
    Again, just pondering.
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    An 1811 is an 1811 - the skill code is generally "transferable" and people can and do move from one 1811 position to another between agencies fairly regularly. There is rarely a reduction in pay, you do not have to take the "basic" training over again (though there may be job specific training that would be required), your retirement moves with you with no penalty whatsoever. Diplomatic Security is slightly different because they are Foreign Service as opposed to Civil Service (though there are a few 1811 DS agents) and therefore have a different skill code, though their skill code is generally understood to be equivalent to 1811.

    In short, you don't lose pay/benefits by moving. You do lose "seniority," and of course you have to learn a new culture/climate/specific job. Most folks stay with their agency for their entire careers (at least once they get to a full 1811 position), but a sizable minority do "jump ship" and move to a different agency. In my experience, many of those ship jumpers then go on to jump BACK to the agency that they left, finding that the grass isn't greener but the tape is just as red no matter where you go. Hope that helps.
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    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    That's helpful. Thanks.

    I always wondered how much stuff was seen as transferrable between different agencies.

    And part of the reason I'm looking at moving someday is because if I want to do criminal investigations, my agency has very little room for branching out. Our state criminal investigations is handled by another agency altogether, so even if I did state criminal investigations, I'd likely have to change anyway. We'll see what happens. The grass is not always greener like you say.
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    Distinguished Member Array lionround's Avatar
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    I can't speak to Fed LE specifically, but I am a Federal non-LE employee. OPFOR is right about the retirement. It is called FERS (Federal Employee Retirement System) and it is transferable between agencies as long as there is no break in service. The good thing about Federal employment is sometimes there are opportunities to move to another city/state. There are also offices in all the territories like Guam and PR. One of the OPSEC guys in our office recently transferred to Hawaii. I don't think he likes it but he won't admit it. No good Memphis BBQ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lionround View Post
    I can't speak to Fed LE specifically, but I am a Federal non-LE employee. OPFOR is right about the retirement. It is called FERS (Federal Employee Retirement System) and it is transferable between agencies as long as there is no break in service. The good thing about Federal employment is sometimes there are opportunities to move to another city/state. There are also offices in all the territories like Guam and PR. One of the OPSEC guys in our office recently transferred to Hawaii. I don't think he likes it but he won't admit it. No good Memphis BBQ.
    I'll trade places with him and I won't complain about the food or the beautiful weather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsteve113 View Post
    I think fed leo's have pay grades similar to military i.e. E1, E2, E3.... I assume your grade stays with you. Many retirements are transferable, sometimes with an adjustment. Not really sure about this though. Never was a fed, never wanted to be!

    Do yourself a favor, Stay State !!!!
    All depends on what you want out of a career and what you're willing to put up with. I've seen plenty of political disgust at Local, County, State and Federal levels.

    My best friend left the PD to go Federal and I stayed Municipal. Money-wise he was way ahead after three years and the gap increased as time went on. He never went the supervisor route while I went to Lt. At the end of our careers (we're same age) we were making the same money. Except I was stressed with a trainload of never ending problems; he just had himself to worry about. Something to consider.

    On the other hand some Federal agencies jack their employees around like the FBI. Last time I was in Quantico the Academy staff were saying they running 33% loss of recruits within a year and a half. Part of the reason is the Blue Flamers get put in the high cost/high crime metro areas. Their salary, although good, can't really hack the cost of living plus many don't like the environment. Spouses have a lot to say also in decision to bail out.
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    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    Yeah I've heard the antirecruitment speeches before from friends in the bureau. I really don't know which agencies are known for treating folks best. I'd do DSS if I wanted to travel a ton internationally.
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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    Having been a federal, state, and local employee and consultant, I believe the state level is the best. You have much more bureaucracy and frustrations at the federal level. Local governments are prone to changes every election cycle whether taxes and budgets are passed or rejected or you get a new boss every election cycle. The state level usually has much less bureaucracy than the federal level and less election cycle dependency than local governments.
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    VIP Member Array Patti's Avatar
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    If you are hired by a federal agency, you will have to attend the academy, even if you attended a police academy. Part of the training will cover federal laws.

    ATF, US Marshalls, ICE, CBP, Secret Service all go to FLETC -

    FBI attends Quantico

    There is an age limit. So, if you're thinking about applying for a federal position, do it before you age out.
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