Internship Success - Federal Law Enforcement

by Adam Gallegos on January 27, 2021
Internship Success - Federal Law Enforcement

Adam Gallegos '15, '16, completed two federal law enforcement internships while completing his bachelor's degree and master's degree.  He interned with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (Buffalo, NY)  and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations Bureau (Los Angeles, CA).  Both of these opportunities contributed to his current career as a Criminal Investigator/Special Agent with the United States Federal Government.

Below is what Adam had to say about his internship experience and current career.

How did you secure the opportunity?                              

I was fortunate enough to be set-up with the ATF internship through my internship with the United States Marshals Service before I transferred to NU from California State University, Los Angeles. I had to complete a background investigation before starting.

ATF was able to assist me in securing my internship opportunity with HSI. I had to give a writing sample and a panel interview, along with completing a background investigations

What did you do on a daily basis?

ATF:

  • Traced firearms recovered in a crime or by an individual
  • Ran complete intelligence queries on targets
  • Assisted agents in their criminal investigations by developing leads through the manipulation of multiple law enforcement/intelligence databases and other techniques
  • Participated in search warrants
  • Attended law enforcement meetings

HSI:

  • Assisted agents in their criminal investigations by developing leads through the manipulation of multiple law enforcement/intelligence databases and other techniques
  • Participated in search warrants
  • Participated in arrest warrants
  • Monitored jail calls
  • Tracked financial deposits

Most importantly, what did you learn?

I learned different techniques/methods of investigation, laws covered by the agencies, functions of agency databases and how to manipulate them to receive results needed to pursue leads. I also learned to operate in a federal law enforcement environment and the functions of the federal courts.

Would you recommend this internship to other students?

Yes, without hesitation.

How did this internship help with your future career goals?

These internships taught me how to investigate, interact and network with federal law enforcement personnel, and most importantly allowed me to get hired with the federal government right out of school.

Through these internships I was able to secure a position as a civilian employee with ATF and subsequently was offered a Special Agent position with both ATF and HSI.

Please share information regarding your current career choice.

Who is your current employer?

I am a Criminal Investigator (Special Agent) with the United States federal government.

What does your job entail?

As a special agent, my job is to conduct criminal investigations on individuals who seek to violate federal criminal law. I investigate crimes involving drug trafficking and possession, crimes involving firearms, gangs, and human trafficking. Doing so requires the use of multiple investigative techniques and methods.

I coordinate with my federal, state, and local partners in cooperative investigations, task forces, and public safety.

What advice do you have for students interested in this type of career?

My advice is to intern, 100%, multiple agencies if you can. By doing this you can learn the mission of that agency, its culture, what they investigate, and if you want to be a part of it. Network as much as you can.

Anything else you would like to share with current of prospective students?

Law enforcement is more than a career, it’s a way of life, and you need to be prepared to go through a lot to get the job but be ready to actually do the job. Never stop believing that you can do whatever you set your mind to.