Federal Government Jobs

Helping job hunters find, apply for, and land government jobs

Special Agent in Charge (GS-1811)

The GS-1811 series includes all classes of positions, the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform investigation, inspection, or enforcement work primarily concerned with alleged or suspected offenses against the laws of the United States, or such work primarily concerned with determining compliance with laws and regulations.

There are 192,929 federal workers employed in the GS-1800 Investigation Group working within all Executive Branch departments, and in many large and small independent agencies with 3,800 employed overseas. Even small agencies employ investigators including the Federal Maritime Election Commission (3), and 15 with the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Keith Toomey, is a special agent in charge, with the Fish & Wildlife Service’s Professional Responsibility Unit, in Shepherdstown, WV.


Keith Toomy, Special Agent in Charge (FWS)
Keith Toomy, Special Agent in Charge (FWS)

The largest employers of the Investigative Group are the Department of Homeland Security (130,343), 28,541 with the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture employs 8,126, and there are 3,802 employed with the Department of Transportation. All of the cabinet level agencies employ workers in the GS-1800 group with 34,265 in the GS-1801 general inspection, investigation, enforcement and compliance series, 42,442 in the GS-1811 criminal investigation position, over 20,000 in border patrol enforcement GS-1896, and 21,038 in the GS-1985 customs and border protection.

Don’t overlook any agency in your job search as there are positions available in most agencies.

Q and A with Keith Toomey

Why did you want to become a Special Agent in Charge? I felt it was a great responsibility and challenge to lead this office. It provided stability to the office and has allowed our program to continue to develop and evolve. I was lucky to have many great mentors at the county, state and federal level as my career progressed like Danny James and Nick Susalis to name a few. This position has allowed me to share some of that experience, but as General Gray said when I joined the Marine Corps years ago “you are first and foremost a rifleman, everything else is secondary.”  I still consider myself a working agent and handle a case load.  I think it’s important to stay current and connected to those investigative skills.

What is the most challenging part of your job? The most challenging part of this particular position is trying to balance the caseload against the amount of time our PRU agents are traveling away from their families handling cases nationwide and the stress that results from that time away.

What is the most dangerous part of your job? This profession at any level has been and will always be inherently dangerous. I constantly remind our officers and agents they need to have the courage to take decisive action when required and not worry about the current level of anti-police rhetoric in the public or press.  We were called to be and the Service employs us to be law enforcement officers which at times means things will not always be pretty or easy.  We need to be safe and go home when the work is done.

What is the best part of being a Special Agent in Charge? The best part of this position is the daily diversity.  We handle a variety of cases for the Service besides traditional Internal Affairs issues and we teach at many levels within the Service and to outside agencies as well.  We are also very lucky being located within Jefferson County, WV to have a great working relationship with the local Sheriff’s Office and State Police.

Would you recommend this job occupation? I would recommend this position but it is not for everyone.  I think the same goes for the profession as a whole.  This occupation is dangerous, challenging and requires a ton of common sense along with communication skills.  There will be internal and external political frictions each requiring your attention and tactful handling. At the end of day, it is also a very satisfying and rewarding career as long has you have the moral courage for it.

Office of Law Enforcement

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement is responsible for focusing on threats to wildlife that are detrimental.  These threats involve illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental contaminants. They will investigate wildlife crimes, regulates wildlife trade, helps Americans understand and obey wildlife protections laws, and works in partnership with international, state, and tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources.

The work of this office includes:

  • Breaking up international and domestic smuggling rings that target imperiled animals.
  • Preventing the unlawful commercial exploitation of protected U.S. species.
  • Protecting wildlife from environmental hazards and safeguarding critical habitat for endangered species.
  • Enforcing federal migratory game bird hunting regulations and working with states to protect other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.
  • Distributing information and outreach materials to increase public understanding of wildlife conservation and promote compliance with wildlife protection laws.
  • Inspecting wildlife shipments to ensure compliance with laws and treaties and detect illegal trade.
  • Working with international counterparts to combat illegal trafficking in protected species.
  • Training other federal, state, tribal, and foreign law enforcement officers.
  • Using forensic science to analyze evidence and solve wildlife crimes.

When fully staffed, the Office of Law Enforcement includes 261 special agents and some 140 wildlife inspectors. Most are “officers on the beat” who report through eight regional law enforcement offices. A headquarters Office of Law Enforcement provides national oversight, support, policy, and guidance for Service investigations and the wildlife inspection program; trains Service law enforcement personnel; fields a special investigations unit; and provides budget, management and administrative support for the Office of Law Enforcement.

The Office of Law Enforcement has the Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory which conducts scientific analyses that support federal, state, and international investigations of wildlife crime. They also maintain a National Wildlife Property Repository, which supplies abandoned and forfeited wildlife items to schools, universities, museums, and non-government organizations for public education, and operates the National Eagle Repository, which meets the needs of Native Americans for eagles and eagle feathers for religious use.

Job Requirements of a GS-1811

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply
  • Salary ranges from $87,263 to $113,444.00 per year.
  • Provides expert technical advice, guidance, and recommendations concerning tactical field operations and the application and use of criminal investigative techniques to subordinates, other law enforcement partners
  • Plans and oversees tactical field operations, case administration, and the supervision and management of the criminal investigative unit.
  • Directing a comprehensive criminal investigative program that has handled all aspects of the criminal investigative process.
  • Directly managing/supervising law enforcement agents and analysts.
  • Maintaining liaison with other local, state, and federal law enforcement counterparts.

The GS-1811 job series covers positions which supervise, lead, or perform work involving planning, conducting, or managing investigations related to alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal laws. The federal government employs 42,442 in this occupation. The work involves:

  • recognizing, developing, and presenting evidence to reconstruct events, sequences, time elements, relationships, responsibilities, legal liabilities, and conflicts of interest;
  • conducting investigations in a manner meeting legal and procedural requirements; and
  • providing advice and assistance both in and out of court to the U.S. Attorney’s Office during investigations and prosecutions.

Work in this series primarily requires knowledge of criminal investigative techniques, rules of criminal procedures, laws, and precedent court decisions concerning the admissibility of evidence, constitutional rights, search and seizure, and related issues in the conduct of investigations. Criminal investigators conduct investigations of alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal laws. The Federal statute or law which may have been violated does not determine whether a position should be classified in this series. The actual process and the knowledge and skills used to investigate crimes determine the appropriate series of the position. Classification into the 1811 series should not be an automatic process but should be based on the work of the individual position. Work primarily requires knowledge of:

  • pertinent statutes, regulations, policies, and guidelines, including the Code of Federal Regulations or the Uniform Code of Military Justice;
  • Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures, Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and Federal guidelines on the conduct of criminal investigations;
  • criminal investigative techniques, such as protective surveys and assignments, surveillance, and undercover work;
  • the evidence required to prove a crime was committed;
  • the jurisdiction of various agencies;
  • sources of information and how to develop them (e.g., informants, surveillance, and undercover work);
  • electronic countermeasures and the latest technological advances used by criminals and investigators; and
  • decisions and precedent cases involving, but not limited to, rules of evidence, search and seizure, and detention and arrest.

Criminal investigative work is characterized by the types and scope of crimes investigated and the organization and sophistication of the criminals. Additional characteristics of criminal investigative work include: planning and conducting investigations extending over protracted periods of time; assignments made primarily on a referral or case basis; and an emphasis on identifying and apprehending individuals for criminal prosecution. During the course of their careers, criminal investigators may rotate through various assignments to include protective details, asset forfeiture investigations, and multi-jurisdictional task forces.   Some criminal investigators perform or oversee undercover assignments as a regular and recurring part of their assigned duties. Criminal investigator positions will normally be found in organizations whose primary purpose includes functions typically performed by criminal investigators, such as organizations responsible for performing inspection, compliance, enforcement, prevention, or deterrence functions.

Medical Requirements

  • The duties of positions in this series require moderate to arduous physical exertion involving walking and standing, use of firearms, and exposure to inclement weather.
  • Manual dexterity with comparatively free motion of finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, and knee joints is required. Arms, hands, legs, and feet must be sufficiently intact and functioning in order that applicants may perform the duties satisfactorily.
  • Sufficiently good vision in each eye, with or without correction, is required to perform the duties satisfactorily. Near vision, corrective lenses permitted, must be sufficient to read printed material the size of typewritten characters.
  • Duties of these positions are exacting and responsible, and involve activities under trying conditions, applicants must possess emotional and mental stability.
  • Any physical condition that would cause the applicant to be a hazard to

The special agent in charge is a very specialized job series.  It involves skills such as problem solving, use of fire arms, knowledge of various law enforcement regulations, tactical field operations, criminal investigation and analysis. This is a job occupation worth checking out.


  • Anita Noguera, Manager, BPHC Marketing Communications, Falls Church, VA
  • Photos were provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

Other Career Information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

About The Author

A Pennsylvania native, Betty Boyd moved to the Tennessee Valley in 1994. She retired in early 2012 after 30 years of Government service. Boyd was an Acquisition Manager/IT Manager/ Project Manager during her 30-year career. Boyd also served as a supervisor and team leader during her career. In 2012 Boyd founded a consulting firm, Boyd Consulting Services, which offers writing services to clients and companies. For more information about these writing services see the following website: http://www.BettyBoydWriting.com/. Betty attended Athens State University, Athens, AL and received a B.B.A. in Management of Technology in 2000. She received her Masters of Science degree from Syracuse University with a concentration in Information Management in 2007. Boyd is a certified Level III contracting professional and she received a Masters level certificate in Project Management from the National Defense University in 2008.