Getting Started in Investigations

Hello everyone. I am a LEO that will be eligible for retirement in the next few months. I have been a Task Force Officer on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for the last 6 years. I currently have Secret clearance with SCI access. I held a Q clearance until recently. I am interested in doing federal background investigations after I retire but I’m not sure how to get the certifications required. Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome MW!

So you are going to need two things. An active T/S clearance and training (which last I checked was 6 weeks in duration, and done both online and riding along. I could be misinformed).

My first rhetorical question is do you want to work as a full time employee (W2) or an Independent Contractor (1099)? There are pros and cons to both.

If you are looking for full time W2 work, apply to the two Primes or directly to the Federal Goverment. The Primes on the contract currently are CACI and Peraton. Both are hiring, depending on what area of the country you are in (Big demands in the metro DC area, Denver, parts of California. Not so much in Montana, mid west states, etc). A quick google should put you in touch with their recruiters or HR.

1099 is a bit trickier. CACI is not hiring 1099s at this time, but some of their Subs are. Training and sponsoring you for a T/S would vary by company. Peraton I believe is hiring 1099s (again I could be wrong) I do not know if they provide training for 1099s.

Do some research, ask around, and decide what works best for you. Good luck.

Thank you for the information. I live in SW Louisiana so there’s probably not a huge demand in this area. Do any companies offer sign on bonuses? Would my current clearance make me more appealing to employers?

I cannot speak for all of the companies/subcontractors. From personal experience sign on bonuses were usually in play for folks who were already cleared and credentialed by DCSA. Do the same job, just for a different employer.

I am not aware of any sign on bonuses for new to the industry folks. Companies are looking at investing in training you and paying for training while you are not producing in the hopes that in the long run you will stay with them and be a productive investigator, so a bonus on top of that? I don’t believe so.

Your current clearance might make you more appealing, but you would still have to go through the T5 process, which can take months.

I’m in Southern Louisiana and when I was in the field I often traveled to Baton Rouge & Lafayette areas all the way from NOLA. There’s good demand. Apply with Peraton and CACI.

So what I need to do is apply with a company to go through the training process? I’m not eligible for retirement until June. Should I wait until then or would it not matter due to the long background investigation?

I would go ahead and apply, I’m also in the process of BI. This process takes a long time and it won’t hurt to get a head start.

I got my CJO in August and completed eqip in early September. As of right now December 5th, I’m still in investigations and have not made it to adjudication as of yet to give you an estimate of a timeline for TS. So far going on 3 months.

Hope this helps.

Agreed. Go ahead and apply. Let them know your intentions and they may go ahead and put you on a training schedule date in future.

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People who come from LEO backgrounds come into this industry thinking it will be a breeze. Fair warning the report writing is nothing that you are probably used to.


Run away

No but really


Of course there are folks who advise “run”. Not every job/career is a good fit for every person. Others of us have been in the industry for decades and are still enjoying the work (not always the company, but the work)

Give it a shot. It’s what I tell my kids. Take the job, try it on for size. You can always decide it’s not for you.


Thanks for the encouragement. As far as report writing, that will not be an issue for me. I’ve written thousands of reports over the years across the whole spectrum of crimes. Working homicide for 10+ years where details will make or break a case. Working the JTTF for the last 6+ years I know what’s required on federal reports.

That being said, I’ve seen many reports from other LEO’s that were on a 3rd grade level. :roll_eyes:

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I can assure you the report writing will still be very different than you’re used to and will have you questioning your sanity all the time. I am at this very moment writing about the difference between Cook and Kitchen Staff.


I got reopened once for using the word “monies” As in the person deposited the monies into their account. I now use the term “proceeds” Review insisted that “monies” was not a real word. Don’t even get me started on the use of present perfect tense… aye aye aye…

Yes, you will question your sanity, as well as others’ grasp of the English language…


My top arguments have been about whether subject “pleaded guilty” vs “pled guilty” and whether my local sheriff is an office or department. That’s why whenever someone comes here and says “I’m good at writing! I’ll be fine!” (no offense to OP), I just sit back and chuckle.


And always having to remember to explain in your report why a Subject listed that he married in Los Angeles, CA, but failed to list that it was Los Angeles county, will surely test your investigative and report writing skills and keep you on the cutting edge of national security.


I have said it before on here, but I once had a Jessica Smith who married a Joe Smith. I disclaimed that her maiden and married name are the same. Reviewer still RZ’d me for not disclaiming the dates she used Smith and the dates she used Smith.


We really need a “laugh” button in addition to the heart. :slight_smile:


Once I wrote that Subject received financial report from his nest egg while he was unemployed. Reviewer RZ’d me and said nest egg wasn’t acceptable. I pointed out to the reviewer that nest egg is in the dictionary but then changed it just to get the RZ off my plate.

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Not questioning your report writing skills at all; I’m sure you’re great at it. Just warning you it’s not what you think it would be.

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