TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - It’s as close to the real-life experience as you can get, and that’s just the way the bureau wants it.
More than a dozen college students completed the FBI’s range day, part of the bureau’s Honors Internship program.
“They’re going to be going through different parts of what an FBI agent traditionally does throughout their career,” said Antonio Vargas Tampa FBI’s recruiter.
That includes everything from forensics to firearms. Vargas says it takes a certain type of person to work for the agency.
“We’re looking for highly motivated individuals,” he said. "Obviously, they need to be physically fit, and they need to be willing to move, and at least two years of work experience.”
A part of range day also includes using firearms. Students learn how to shoot everything from a 9mm handgun to a 45 Thompson submachine gun.
“You have to be proficient in firearms training. It’s something you must qualify every quarter,” Vargas said.
Rey Riveros, who’s been a part of the intern program for two years, admits he was inspired by Hollywood.
“To be frank, it was the TV shows and the Netflix series, but I started to do some research and I learned there’s so much more to the bureau,” he said. “It’s not just special agents, there’s a lot of professional staff. My favorite thing is the people. It’s like a family."
Riveros plans to continue applying for the internship until he’s old enough to apply to become a special agent.
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” he said.
Nearly 150 special agents make up the FBI’s Tampa field office, which spans 18 counties in central and southwest Florida.
The Tampa Field Office typically gets 15-20 interns every summer. Once they are enrolled in the program, they do not have to reapply to come back the following summer. But if they would like to keep their clearances active during the school year, they can shadow someone within the office for 16 hours/month.
Recent grad Nicole Liberato, who studied psychology, is hoping to become a full-time employee soon.
“I want to go into more of the behavioral side of the bureau. And I want to be able to go ahead and analyze any type of crime and why it is the person did what they did,” Liberato said.
The 10-week program wraps Friday, and applications for summer 2020’s internship program begins.