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Making Money Border Patrol
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YoungBlade Away
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Post: #1
Border Patrol
Is anyone on the forum a border patrol agent? I'm thinking of joining if Trump gets elected. I'm young with nothing to lose, fit, and firearm-savvy. I looked up the requirements on their website, which I fit (I need to learn Spanish, but I already speak 4 languages, including Latin, so Spanish will be easy). What's the pay like? And is it a few years gig or more lifelong?

Searched and found nothing, so this shouldn't be a dupe.

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03-03-2016 09:18 AM
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The Black Knight Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Border Patrol
You need to double check to make sure this is current information but from what I know, border control officers are NOT considered LEOs for retirement purposes (supervisory officers are for some reason). This matters A LOT for retirement purposes. 6c retirement (federal LEO retirement) has far more generous pay/benefits vs regular fed retirement on multiple fronts.

Quote:CBP Officers are treated like all other federal employees with regard to their retirement benefits, rather than like other federal law enforcement officers. If they were recognized as LEOs, they would be eligible for retirement benefits much sooner and would have their annuities calculated according to a much more generous formula.

Quote:Today, many but not all federal police officers are covered under this definition, including the Capitol Police, FBI, Park Police, Secret Service Officers, and supervisory CBP Officers, but not CBP Officers themselves.

In addition, Members of Congress, federal air traffic controllers, and federal firefighters also enjoy the same retirement system rules as LEOs.

Quote:A Law Enforcement Officer who retires at age 50 with 20 years of covered service, whose “high 3” is $65,000 would get $22,100 a year in retirement, plus the option of continued health and life insurance. A CBP Officer who retires today at age 50 with 20 years of service whose “high 3” is $65,000 would get just $13,000 a year in retirement (until age 56). He only gets an immediate annuity and continued health and life insurance if he was RIFed or the agency gave had voluntary early retirement authority. The LEO gets almost twice as much than the CBP Officer with the same salary, age, and service.

https://www.afge.org/index.cfm?page=cust...tentid=190

Also from what I understand, if you do lets say 5 years at the BP and then transfer to the DEA/FBI/whatever and do 20 years, those 5 years will not count as LEO retirement points (you will only get 1% a year for the 5 years)

LEOs get 1.7% a year = 20 years = 34% of pay
Regular fed get 1.0% = 20 years = 20% of pay
(look at the $65,000 example to see the difference)

So if you did 25 years like the aforementioned example, you would only get 1% for those 5 BP years. To get a 6c retirement, you have to 20 years in a 6c position from what I understand; so you want to start the clock ASAP.

So basically, BP is a LEO position where you don't get the retirement benefits of a LEO. Congressman and Air Traffic guys get LEO retirement perks but your ass on the New Mexico border with one other bro in the middle of nowhere get the same retirement package as a secretary. Since fed retirement is pretty shitty by government standards (compared to some state packages), losing that 0.7% a year and some of the other unique perks of a LEO retirement is significant.

If you are going to do BP, I would only do it for 1 year to get your foot in the door and then bounce to something with a LEO retirement. Or maybe not do it at all and get picked up doing something that gets 6c benefits from the get go. Otherwise, I would find a state with far better pay/benefits if you want to do LEO work (California has sick benefits... assuming they can pay them in 50 years).

Also if you are young, you could always do the military (coast guard handles border control stuff) as well. Do 20 years (get in before Jan 2018 since they are changing the system) and get a pension of 50% base pay the day after you retire even if are in your early 40s. Someone who retires as an officer typically is taking home 45-50k+ plus a year. Again, that's starting in your 40s until forever or until the USA can't pay its bills.
(This post was last modified: 03-03-2016 10:38 AM by The Black Knight.)
03-03-2016 10:21 AM
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YoungBlade Away
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Post: #3
RE: Border Patrol
Thanks for the advice. Good to know it's not a great retirement choice. I might look into the coastguard as well.

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03-03-2016 03:21 PM
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Zona Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Border Patrol
I've been strongly considering Border Patrol for awhile now, and I've done a fair bit of research on it. I'm far from an expert on the matter, so don't take what I say as gospel, but I might be able to help clear a few things up.

As far as pay goes, you'd probably start at either the GL-5 or GL-7 level, with starting base pay around 40-45k/year. It will be higher with overtime, and your base pay will improve with time as you move up the grade levels. You'll also be entitled to a lot of solid government benefits, including (I think) federal law enforcement retirement.

Black Knight provided some good info on federal retirement, but a few aspects might be a bit outdated and not applicable to what you're looking to do.

From what I can tell the link he provided only applied to Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPO), which are different from Border Patrol Agents (BPA). They fall under the same umbrella organization within homeland security (Customs and Border Protection) but they typically have very different job responsibilities.

CBPOs work IN ports of entry doing mostly inspections. It usually isn't a particularly mobile position unless you work in a port where you're inspecting cargo. Many locations will have you sitting or standing around all day, though the duty locations themselves can be a lot better than what's usually available to border patrol agents.

BPAs do what their name implies...they patrol in BETWEEN ports of entry in the border region. Generally speaking BPAs see a lot more action in the field, and usually work in remote, desolate areas with little support. If you want to spot, track, and chase people through the desert then this is for you.

It's an important distinction to make because the two jobs are very different, even though they operate under the same homeland security banner. For more info on their unique responsibilities check out their respective pages:

http://www.cbp.gov/careers/join-cbp/whic...bp-officer

http://www.cbp.gov/careers/join-cbp/whic...trol-agent

As for the 6c (now 12d) stuff, I believe Black Knight's site is outdated (and again, not applicable to Border Patrol). There was a time when CBPOs were not considered LEOs (though I think that BPAs still were at the time), but from my understanding they are now both under the federal LEO retirement program.

This site has some more info specific to Border Patrol: http://myborderpatroljob.com/benefits-of...ol-agents/

Quote:The salary range of border patrol agents is quite competitive at around $38,000 to $63,000 annually. But aside from their pay, they also receive the benefits that are accorded to Federal employees. For starters, their future is taken care of as they are part of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) which includes three components. They can contribute to a Thrift Savings Plan which is similar to a 410k plan; Social Security; and FERS basic annuity. As a law enforcement employee, border patrol agents may voluntarily retire at any age after completing 25 years of service or at age 50 or older with 20 years of service. Your mandatory retirement age is 57 with 20 years of service. But you can work beyond this age until you meet the combination of age and service requirements to retire under law enforcement provisions.

From what I've read the general consensus is that BPAs (and now CBPOs) DO receive federal LEO retirement benefits. This thread (and the site in general) has some good info as well: http://forums.officer.com/t88514/

In terms of it being a gig for a few years or a career...that's obviously up to you. You aren't stuck for a number of years like you would be if you joined the military, and you might even be able to switch to a different federal agency job if you absolutely hate the work.

Just know that if you do join the Border Patrol in all likelihood you'll initially end up stationed in some small, probably shitty town along the southern border. I guess after a few years you can put in for a change of location, but from what I've read most new agents end up doing tours in the California, Arizona, or Texas deserts. This is one of the main deterrents for me. I'm from that area, and I've been to most of the towns where you'd likely end up stationed...they suck big time. I'm not sure that I want to be in one of those locations for any length of time.

Incidentally, one of my good buddies just accepted an offer of employment as a CBPO, and he starts academy very soon. He chose CBPO over BPA for the reasons I mentioned. Like Black Knight said, you may want to also look into the military, although you're pretty locked in to that once you sign.

An alternative that I'm considering now is police work. Many police/sheriff's departments pay more than Border Patrol, and they would allow you to live in a decent area. Most also offer excellent benefits and good LEO retirement packages if you stick with the department for 25 years.
03-04-2016 05:37 PM
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Chauncey
YoungBlade Away
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Post: #5
RE: Border Patrol
I don't mind a slow town, but I can see how the desert would get to one's head. The government retirement sounds nice, but I'd be getting out in my 40's if I were to take it, so I reckon I'd stay in for a few years while working on something more affluence inducing.

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03-05-2016 07:14 AM
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Chauncey Away
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Post: #6
RE: Border Patrol
Lots of good info in Zona's post.

Spanish is not a requirement for hire, but you will have to spend an extra 40 days in the academy if you are not proficient. The basic academy is 58 days.

The pay is decent, and there are bumps in pay based on location, night/weekend differentials, holiday pay etc. They used to have AUO (Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime) pay which added 25% to each paycheck but that has changed as of 1/1/16. AUO was a huge selling point for the BP because it would bump a starting salary of $40k up to $50k, bump a 5 year man up to $80k, and a 10 year man up to $120k+ (depending on GS-level). I am not familiar with the new overtime pay scale but the changes to AUO have pissed off many in the Patrol. If stacking cash is your main goal then go get a job in the trades.

Most agents follow one of three career paths:
  1. Go the academy, report to duty location, grind out a few years, leave the BP
  2. Go to academy, report to duty location, grind out around 5 years, then transfer to another Federal agency (ICE, Customs, US Marshalls, etc)
  3. Stick it out for 20, retire, start second career

If you think option one sounds good you shouldn't even waste your time. The pay during the first few years is not worth relocating to bum fuck desert and staring at line in the sand for 80% of your time.

If you have aspirations of a career in Federal Law Enforcement but don't want to be tied to the Southwest or the Border Patrol then option 2 is reasonable. Many guys from the east coast will go out west for 5 years, get some experience, build the resume, then transfer back home to a gig with another agency.

If you are on the 20 year plan you can create your own path. Some guys will do details in different areas to boost their resume for advancement or just to find a niche they enjoy. Some of the details include: ATVs, horse patrol, qualification training (firearms, use of force), canine handler, BORTAC (tactical/special response team), BORSTAR (search and rescue), UAVs, Academy Instructor, and snowmobiles (northern border). By acquiring experience in different areas it is easier to move up to supervisor positions and transfer to more appealing stations.

There are leadership opportunities for those who are motivated for such. I know a guy who started out as a PA (Patrol Agent), worked his way up to APAIC (#2 at a station), then transferred to DC as an Assistant Chief overseeing 3 sectors. He is retired now in his mid 50s living a very comfortable lifestyle.

A new agent will spend his first few years near the border with a good chance of being stationed in the middle of nowhere AZ, NM, or TX. Many agents will choose to live in bigger cities like Tucson, El Paso, etc and commute 1-2 hours back and forth each day to their station.

After 5 years or so agents can put in for transfers to better locales on the southern border. Northern border assignments are hard to get, it is mostly 10 year guys up there. Florida assignments are even harder to land. There is even a station in Aquadilla, PR but that mostly goes to Ricans who have 10 plus years.

Some cons:
-Live in the Southwest, probably in a shitty 5k-20k person town, for at least the first 5 years
-First few years as an agent are spent mostly on patrol. You drive a truck for hours on end, sit parked and stare at spot along the fence, and fight lots of boredom. Out of a 50 hour week you might have 10 hours of actual tracking or apprehending (if you are in a slow sector)
-Some stations are strictly checkpoints. You get to stand on your feet for hours at a time asking people to state their citizenship. When not doing this you are sitting at a desk watching movies or bullshitting with your mates.
-Dealing with the bureaucracy that goes along with the Federal Government (sequesters, shut downs, getting your AUO stripped, PC bullshit)
-Working nights, weekends, and holidays. Most stations have rotating shifts where you spend X months on days, then swings, then mids. You can request time off but this isn't a 9-5 M-F gig.

Some pros:
-Live in the Southwest, there is some cool shit in AZ/NM if you are into outdoors stuff. Also you are not far from CO, UT, CA.
-Mexican women everywhere. These are not your high end chicks that you find in Miami or Bogota, but there are plenty of good looking senoritas who like to fuck, cook, and clean. Just be careful, they also like to make babies, especially with gringos that have a federal job with federal benefits.
-Training in various details (mentioned above) if you choose, after your first few years. Some of them are pretty damn cool and you get to play with some badass toys.
-Opportunities for advancement
-Opportunities for travel (relocating for several years, not weekend vacations)
-Mostly masculine work environment, lots of former military and other LEOs go into the Patrol.
-If you are in a busy sector the action is pretty constant, with daily apprehensions, tracking, and adrenaline pumping situations.
-Keeping America Safe

Here are two websites that have lots of info:
Honor First (unofficial BP site)
Some job site that goes into detail on working in the Patrol


If you are fired up about Trump and think a job with the Border Patrol would be nothing but driving around the desert in Humvees chasing down drug smugglers and coyotes while blasting Kid Rock and smoking a Marlboro.................... then you are correct! (minus the Humvee, you are in a Tahoe or F150 most likely). If you are stationed in a high volume area (Tucson Sector and RGV Sector) then this is very much what the job entails.
[Image: 149433238_orig.jpg]

However, if you are stationed in a slower area (CA, NM, W TX) then it is a lot more of this:
[Image: BorderPatrol.jpg]

Keep us updated if you decide to proceed. The application/background check process is long though, start now if you are serious.
(This post was last modified: 03-05-2016 10:37 PM by Chauncey.)
03-05-2016 10:28 PM
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The Black Knight Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Border Patrol
Glad to see people stepping in to correct some of my outdated info; been a while since I really read up on LEO retirements.

(03-05-2016 07:14 AM)YoungBlade Wrote:  I don't mind a slow town, but I can see how the desert would get to one's head. The government retirement sounds nice, but I'd be getting out in my 40's if I were to take it, so I reckon I'd stay in for a few years while working on something more affluence inducing.

However regarding the bold part: I recently looked into general federal retirements (no idea if this applies to fed LEO retirement) with the same mindset (punch out in my 40's) and I came across some info indicating that you DO NOT get inflation/COLA for the time between retirement and when you actually draw pay in your 60's. You only get COLA when you are actually drawing retirement pay. In other words, you could lose around 20 years of pay increases that keep up with inflation. That's huge. Imagine drawing your retirement check based on 1996 pay scales today? Fuck that. Something to look into and check on for sure.

The only way to combat this from what I researched by the way is that you have to go back and work for the feds in your mid-50s or later for a few years to get the more current pay scales.

For me at least: the already weak retirement package AND the lack of COLA before drawing retirement really turned me off to working for the feds with the idea of punching out in my 40s. It seemed like a brilliant idea until I really investigated all the weasel ways the feds fuck you on retirement.

They also upped employee pension contribution requirements from 0.8% to 4.4% just in the past few years for new employees. There IS a process in place that allows you withdraw your contributions; which I would consider doing since I can make more investing it in index funds then waiting for some paltry annuity eroded by two decades of inflation. Maybe take the pension contributions and put it in TSP to get the match instead. Anyhow, just food for thought.
(This post was last modified: 03-06-2016 06:15 AM by The Black Knight.)
03-06-2016 06:12 AM
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Chauncey Away
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Post: #8
RE: Border Patrol
TBK, maybe you could clarify some of the retirement stuff.

-They take your top 3 years average pay, then what? You get that pay annually, you get a % of that pay annually?
-Do you start receiving this pay the day you retire (mid 40s up to 57) or do you start receiving this pay at 62-65 (normal retirement age)?
-I've had some agents tell me about a gap between retirement and benefits kicking in but I'm not sure what they mean, any idea?

In my head I thought these guys would retire after 20+ years, have a top 3 salary average of $100k+, and then have that amount coming in yearly for the rest of their life. Similar to the jackoffs in Congress. I have a feeling this is not quite how it works for Border Patrol.
03-06-2016 06:10 PM
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YoungBlade Away
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Post: #9
RE: Border Patrol
Thanks y'all for all the info. It's been a real boon. While I do see the downsides, it's something I'll consider should I find myself in need of a steady job.

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Havamal 77

Cows die,
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you will die the same way.
I know only one thing
that never dies:
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03-06-2016 07:15 PM
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KsockZ Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Border Patrol
Send me a PM if you guys want to know more info about the patrol. Id rather not say too much in the thread.
03-11-2016 11:17 AM
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The Black Knight Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Border Patrol
(03-06-2016 06:10 PM)Chauncey Wrote:  TBK, maybe you could clarify some of the retirement stuff.

-They take your top 3 years average pay, then what? You get that pay annually, you get a % of that pay annually?
-Do you start receiving this pay the day you retire (mid 40s up to 57) or do you start receiving this pay at 62-65 (normal retirement age)?
-I've had some agents tell me about a gap between retirement and benefits kicking in but I'm not sure what they mean, any idea?

In my head I thought these guys would retire after 20+ years, have a top 3 salary average of $100k+, and then have that amount coming in yearly for the rest of their life. Similar to the jackoffs in Congress. I have a feeling this is not quite how it works for Border Patrol.

I explained federal retirement formula already. You get full general fed retirement around 62. If you retire at 40, you get fucked by inflation. It's retarded.

With fed LEO retirement, you should get COLA immediately when you retire so you don't get fucked on inflation.

http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/reti...ons/34278/

And you DO NOT get 100k/year in fed LEO retirement. 1.7% * years of service up to 20 years and I think less after 20. Which equals more like 34-50K a year.

Fed retirement can be a bit complicated. You really need to research this, the agency/job, and when you plan to retire to get a better sense of things.
(This post was last modified: 03-12-2016 07:19 AM by The Black Knight.)
03-12-2016 07:15 AM
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KsockZ Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Border Patrol
Coming in at such a young age you would have to put in at least 25 years before you retire. After 25 you'd be looking at about 45% or so of your 3 of about 100k. Plus if you max out your tsp, from the day you start and can average about 8% a year, you'll have roughly 2m in your tsp or retirement fund. You could take that as a lump sum or get an annuity. Most guys who are smart retire and take home over 100k year.
03-15-2016 03:13 AM
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redbeard Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Border Patrol
"Trump Wall Day" bump for all those interested in working for ICE

"Every saint has a past, every sinner a future."
01-25-2017 09:03 PM
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