James Hendricks is the FBI's new top agent in Albany. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with the 20-year agency veteran this morning at FBI Headquarters.
The 48-year-old Kentucky native became Albany's 37th Special Agent in Charge in August. Now that Hendricks has settled in, the FBI invited reporters to its McCarty Avenue building for an interview and overview of the Bureau’s area of responsibility, mission, and goals.
"One of the things about this area it's very unique and I'm very impressed with so far is the level of partnerships we have with federal state and local law enforcement. Other areas of the country is not as good as what we have here in the Capital Region. I was extremely excited to hear about the number of task officers that are assigned here to the FBI Field Office, and so we work very closely with them. We have officers who are on the Joint Terrorism Taskforce. We have officers who are on the Child Sexual Exploitation Taskforce. So, my level, I deal with the chiefs and Mr. Beach with the State Police and my ASACS they engage at the command level and then my supervisors are working at the same level with their peers," said Hendricks.
The Albany Field Office oversees nearly 40,000 square miles including a large chunk of upstate New York as well as the entire state of Vermont. Hendricks says there are different ways the FBI could enter a local case. "First of all, if we have concurrent jurisdiction, if there's a crime, if there's a federal violation that would marry up with a state violation then we could work that case together. Many times that's not the case but the state and locals would ask for our assistance based on some special skills that we have, whether it be evidence collection, you know through our SWAT teams or even cybercrime."
Hendricks says of all the various crimes and cases the agency investigates, there is one that troubles him most. "The one thing that really keeps me up at night is the home-grown violent extremist. These individuals are the ones sitting home, getting radicalized online, you know, sitting there in the mom's basement. The FBI has 1,000 cases across all 50 states. These are the ones who commit the knife attacks, the vehicle attacks, you know they're just the traditional terrorists that build a bomb and blow something up. These are the individuals who wanna do us harm."
Hendricks says the Albany agents are a "good mix of folks," some with local roots and others from around the country. And for those who may be looking for an interesting career change... "This year the FBI is gonna hire 900 agents and we need good quality applicants, and I wanna make sure the folks in this region realize what a great career it is, and that they should come to our ‘Ask An Agent’ event on December 6. This'll be a great opportunity to sit down with an agent, where maybe they wouldn't have an opportunity before. We have people from all walks of life, all career levels. We have schoolteachers who decide they wanted a change, always wanted to be an FBI agent. We have reporters, interestingly enough, that have decided to change careers midstream and we'd love to get the word out that the FBI is looking for good people."
From the Albany FBI office:
As part of a recruiting effort (the FBI as a whole is looking to hire 900 agents this coming year), we'll be hosting an "Ask An Agent" event on December 6th.
- We're asking qualified applicants to send in a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and then we will invite those whose qualifications fit the best in for an opportunity to speak with agents from 8 of our squads.
There are several hurdles to cross to become a Special Agent, so we're trying to make people more clear about the process so we can potentially see more candidates come through. Most people think we are just looking for criminal justice majors, but we're really looking for all walks of life to consider becoming an agent-which is why we're looking to really get the word out because most people would not otherwise consider themselves qualified for the FBI. *Again, everyone is encouraged to apply, but only those with an official invitation will be invited in.*
Here are the qualifications:
-Be between 23 and 36 years of age.
-Have a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a U.S.-accredited college or university.
-Have at least two years of full-time professional work experience; or one year if you have earned an advanced degree (master's or higher).
-Possess a valid driver's license and have six months of driving experience.
-Meet the Special Agent physical fitness standards -Be available to report to one of the FBI's 56 field offices for interviews and testing several times throughout the application process. You are responsible for your own travel to and from the field office. Applicants who reside overseas must be available for travel to the U.S. for testing and processing at an FBI field office at your own expense; you may choose a field office that is most convenient for you. While travel from an overseas location to the Processing Field Office (PFO) is the responsibility of the applicant, any additional travel for Phase II testing from the PFO will be incurred by the FBI.
-If you are currently on active duty in the military, you must be within one (1) year of completing your service before submitting your application.
Physical Fitness Test Information:
The Physical Fitness Test (PFT)
The PFT consists of four events in the following order, with no more than five minutes of rest between events. A passing score requires a cumulative 12 points, with at least 1 point in each event:
SITUPS: Maximum number of continuous situps in one minute.
SPRINT: Timed 300-meter sprint.
PUSHUPS: Maximum number of continuous pushups (untimed).
RUN: Timed 1.5-mile run.
And here's a link to the new APP developed by the FBI and released over the summer to help people train: