The FBI is working to build relationships and recruit new agents to the bureau
By Vanessa Denha Garmo
There is a new agent in town and he is in charge of the FBI – Detroit Bureau. Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Tim Slater moved back home to Michigan after his last stint in Washington DC and has been meeting groups across the region. He and his team met with Martin Manna and Chaldean Community Foundation members last month at the foundation offices in Sterling Heights.
Also present was Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski. The police department has an officer assigned to the FBI and in certain cases the FBI will be brought in to assist in cases including an unsolved murder case.
Manna delivered details about the community including that Chaldeans are like the American Indians of Iraq and that Metro Detroit has largest Chaldean community outside of Iraq. In referencing Chaldeans, the term includes Syriacs and Assyrians.
Since 2003, the community in Iraq has been desolated. “Everything we do is tied to preserving the culture,” said Manna. “Our struggles internationally and nationally continue.”
He also reiterated the genocide. “Why is this important? Because, we still have hundreds of thousands of people displaced,” Manna said.
Manna also explained the business background of the Chaldeans in Michigan and in the United States. However, the focus was on how the Chaldean Community could help the FBI and how the two could work better together.
After Manna gave the agents an overview of the Chaldean community and the work of both the Chaldean American Chamber and Foundation, Slater and team engaged in a question and answer exchange for about 45 minutes.
They discussed career services and career fairs. “We think the more inclusive the government is, the better it is for all communities,” said Manna. “We also can be very helpful to you on international issues in the Middle East.”
Slater started at the Detroit Bureau more than six months ago. It was a lateral move from DC to Michigan. “Michigan is home and not very often in our agency do we get to come home,” he said. “I pleaded with the Director and Attorney General to come to Michigan and I am happy to be here.”
Slater spent most of his time during the first three to four months on building relationships within communities and with the media. “My message to the media is fairness,” said Slater. “We are open as to what we do and as open as we can be but we want to make sure the stories are not sensationalized. We want to create narratives that are accurate.”
Detroit is one of the top 10 largest FBI bureaus in the country and according to the Slater, there are a lot of threats in our state across all FBI programs meaning there are terrorist threats, white collar crimes, drug crimes and gang crimes to name a few. Most Bureaus across the country have more narrow scopes while the FBI in Michigan focus on a variety of threats.
In addition to dealing with a large bureau, the FBI is focused on diversifying within. “We have not done a good job in the agency representing the community that we are called to serve,” said Slater. “We are always recruiting. We are always looking for new employees on the professional staff and on the agent side.”
On the professional careers side of the Bureau, the agency is looking for individuals who play an integral part in the country’s security. These careers are across a variety of specialties including Intelligence analysts, linguists, IT specialists, scientists, administrative assistance, accountants, electricians, engineers, human resources, security officers, electronic and tradesman.
On the Special Agent side, there is also a variety of areas they need filled including in engineering, accounting law and IT. They are looking for people versed in other cultures and who speak various languages.
Each area has specific qualifications that are listed on the FBI website.
For those not interested in a job but still have a fascination with the FBI, there is the FBI Citizens Academy. This eight-week (10 sessions) program gives business, religious, civic and community leaders an inside look at the FBI. You can find out more by going to www.fbi.org
The FBI also created a Child ID App for families. It’s the first mobile application created by the FBI that provides a convenient place to electronically store photos and other vital information about children.
The City of Sterling Heights is also hosting a citizen’s academy. You can find out more by going to www.sterling-heights.net