Learn How to Become a Narcotics Officer
Narcotics officers, also known as Narcotics Agents, work for local and state law enforcement agencies. The federal government has various agencies, like the DEA, FBI, ATF and Marshals Service that often work collectively with state and local agencies during investigations. Narcotics officers enforce local, state and federal narcotics laws.
The first step is to apply and be selected as a new recruit in a law enforcement agency. Narcotics officers most often begin their career as a police officer or related law enforcement officer. Requirements to become a law enforcement officer vary by department or agency, but typically require applicants to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, possess a current driver's license, be a U.S. citizen, and graduate from the a P.O.S.T. certified basic academy. Age requirements vary by department and it is a wise idea to inquire with your local department or the department you would like to join as to what their specific requirements are.
Law enforcement officers are paid very good salaries and have exceptional benefits packages, in most cases. Completing P.O.S.T. certification and an associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice, public administration or a related field can provide a competitive advantage when applying for a limited number of positions. Not to mention, most law enforcement agencies look favorably on those who have taken the initiative to earn these credentials prior to applying and pay higher salaries to those who do. Most all federal law enforcement agencies require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree.
With a few years of law enforcement experience an officer becomes eligible to write or test for promotions and special assignments, such as to a Narcotics Task Force. These exams can be extremely competitive due to the corresponding pay raises that accompany the promotion. Any and all additional experience, education and skills become critical in setting oneself apart from other candidates. Officers must also possess characteristics such as honesty, integrity, accountability, dedication, professionalism, respect and teamwork oriented.
What Does a Narcotics Officer Do?
Narcotics officers enforce local, state and federal narcotics laws. They investigate narcotics related crimes including drug trafficking and drug possession using a variety of resources and techniques. Examples of the techniques and resources include k-9 units, surveillance, wire taps, undercover work, developing and using informants, communicate with other law enforcement agencies to coordinate task forces during investigations, buy/bust operations to thwart the blatant sale of narcotics on the streets and many other effective drug enforcement tactics. In addition to investigating and enforcing drug related laws, narcotics officers are also involved in serving warrants, apprehending suspects and prosecution. They may even testify in court as to the methodology used during the investigation to apprehend the criminal.
Expect an exciting, variable, dangerous and rewarding career. Narcotics officers do not work a standard schedule. During an investigation, narcotics officers may be working day and night away from home. Law enforcement agents frequently deal with violent suspects and death. That being said, for the right person this can be the perfect career.
Research the criminal justice and related programs below. Get your education started now, so that by the time you apply to a law enforcement agency you may be well on your way to setting yourself apart from other candidates.
Ontario Criminal Justice Schools
- Diploma - Law Enforcement Foundations
- Diploma in Police Foundations
Iowa Criminal Justice Schools
Online Criminal Justice Schools
- Bachelor's - Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement (Online)
- Bachelor of Arts - Law Enforcement Administration (Online)