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Criminal Investigators
Significant Points

Positions included in this series have duties involving the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents involving United States aircraft anywhere in the world, and in the establishment of programs and procedures to provide for the notification and reporting of accidents. The investigation includes a report of the facts, conditions, and circumstances relating to each accident and a determination of the probable cause of the accident along with recommendations for remedial action designed to prevent similar accidents in the future. Special studies and investigations on matters pertaining to safety in air navigation and the prevention of accidents are conducted to ascertain what will best tend to reduce or eliminate the possibility of, or recurrence of, accidents. These duties and responsibilities require the application of a broad technical knowledge in the field of aviation, and experience or training that provides a knowledge of investigative techniques and/or legal procedures and practices.


Criminal Investigator, GS-1811-07

Knowledge of, and skill in applying, the basic principles, concepts, and methods of fact-finding and investigations sufficient to:

  • conduct routine investigations for developmental purposes, or as part of a team or task force;
  • conduct record and database searches;
  • serve subpoenas;
  • participate in the execution of search warrants;
  • seize evidence;
  • conduct interviews;
  • take affidavits from suspects and witnesses;
  • conduct routine surveillance;
  • testify in court as a witness to events or to explain basic procedures;
  • prepare reports of routine investigations; and
  • assist in arrests.
  • Criminal Investigator, GS-1811-09

    SAMPLE 1 - Knowledge of, and skill in applying, laws, regulations, local policies, practices, methods, procedures, and precedents sufficient to:

  • investigate commercial fishing vessel owners and operators for suspected narcotics or weapons smuggling;
  • conduct covert surveillance of fishing techniques, gear, and practices; and
  • plan and conduct seizures with and without search warrants, gather and preserve evidence, question witnesses and suspects, and testify in court during the prosecution of alleged violators.
  • SAMPLE 2 - Knowledge of, and skill in applying, laws, regulations, local policies, practices, methods, procedures, and precedents sufficient to:

  • examine seized currency to determine if it is counterfeit;
  • detain suspects for further questioning about possible counterfeit currency;
  • interview suspects and witnesses for additional information to identify others involved and determine where the suspect obtained the currency; and
  • testify in court as an expert witness on whether currency is counterfeit or genuine.
  • SAMPLE 3 - Knowledge of, and skill in applying, laws, regulations and local policies, practices, methods, procedures, and precedents sufficient to investigate persons suspected of smuggling contraband and/or merchandise by:

  • interviewing cooperative suspects;
  • setting up a controlled delivery;
  • using a hidden tracking device;
  • putting a body recorder on a cooperating witness who is willing to meet the contacts;
  • effecting an arrest;
  • confiscating evidence and maintaining a chain-of-custody; and
  • testifying in court to present evidence of the smuggling operation.
  • Nature of Assignment – Work consists of routine, closely supervised assignments to learn different aspects of the work. What Needs To Be Done – The employee determines the appropriate process from easily recognizable alternatives to:

  • interview witnesses;
  • research pertinent statutes and laws; and
  • carry out selected segments of an overall investigation.
  • Difficulty and Originality Involved – Exercises judgment in determining:

  • facts from incomplete, conflicting, or contradictory data; and
  • commonly accepted investigative approaches required based on the violation.
  • Criminal Investigator, GS-1811-11

    SAMPLE 1 - Knowledge of, and skill in applying, the policies, precedents, goals, objectives, regulations, and guidelines of criminal investigations, and a wide range of investigative techniques sufficient to:

  • gather information to establish probable cause and necessity for initiation of electronic surveillance;
  • gather and examine intelligence from confidential sources, cooperating defendants, pen register and toll information, and investigative reports from other Federal, State, and local investigations to incorporate the information into an affidavit, and application for title 18 to be presented to an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA);
  • prepare periodic reports for AUSAs, grand juries, or judges in current cases;
  • complete affidavits in support of search and arrest warrants;
  • use analytical tools to untangle the intricacies of complex criminal schemes involving multiple businesses and innocent and fraudulent transactions;
  • conduct financial analysis of bank accounts of criminal suspects to detect fraud;
  • act on tips from confidential and anonymous sources to initiate surveillance of businesses suspected of criminal activities, such as forging prescriptions to obtain and distribute controlled substances;
  • conduct investigations to locate and apprehend Federal, State, and local fugitives using complex networks of family members and associates to avoid detection;
  • develop patterns of fugitive whereabouts based on phone records, information on family members and associates, vehicle registration, and other sources;
  • pose in undercover role to purchase and receive counterfeit goods while maintaining surveillance on unlawful import operations;
  • investigate individuals and organizations engaged in illegal drug trafficking, involving coordination with other Federal, State, local, and/or international law enforcement agencies;
  • investigate individuals and organizations engaged in credit card and debit card fraud, identity theft, and collusive merchant schemes; and
  • testify before criminal courts, grand juries, or judges as to the nature and complexities of various procedures, processes, and techniques used in conducting criminal investigations.
  • SAMPLE 2 - Knowledge of, and skill in applying:

  • a wide range of investigative methods to uncover criminal violations of numerous environmental protection statutes;
  • modern detection devices (sound and video), information from many sources, forensics, and laboratory services; and
  • investigative techniques to expose possible terrorist weapons of mass destruction (e.g., chemical, toxins, and biological) sufficient to:
  • investigate and refer for prosecution violations of environmental laws posing a significant threat to human health and the environment;
  • respond to and investigate acts of terrorism which present a danger to the environment and the nation’s citizens and infrastructure;
  • recognize, seize, and preserve evidence involving cutting edge scientific technology;
  • expose evidence skillfully manipulated and tampered with, including intentionally falsified records, spiked samples, falsified laboratory tests, and other false test results; and
  • serve as a witness for the agency at court proceedings and testify or present cases to grand juries.
  • Nature of Assignment (SAMPLE 1) – Work consists of a variety of law enforcement and compliance functions involving investigating aliens suspected of criminal acts; and apprehending aliens hiding to avoid deportation proceedings.

    What Needs To Be Done– The employee chooses the appropriate course of action from alternatives to:

  • interview aliens in the custody of other agencies;
  • conduct on-site inspections of businesses and organizations to review immigration records;
  • determine a person’s citizenship or immigration status from available records and other sources; and
  • prepare documents to initiate deportation proceedings.
  • Difficulty and Originality Involved – Exercises judgment in:

  • coordinating with other agencies and individuals to verify the authenticity of documents and information; and
  • determining citizenship or immigration status.
  • Nature of Assignment (SAMPLE 2) – Work consists of participating in a security detail to include standing post, conducting a site advance, or functioning as shift agent on a detail of a protectee with a low risk assessment.

    What Needs To Be Done – The employee chooses the appropriate course of action from alternatives to:

  • orient local law enforcement officers;
  • interview protected site employees;
  • keep in close proximity to protectee; and
  • take any measure to protect life.
  • Difficulty and Originality Involved – Exercises judgment in protection assignments of limited complexity and involving limited resources.

    Criminal Investigator, GS-1811-12

    SAMPLE 1 - Mastery of, and skill in applying, theories, concepts, principles, practices, laws, and regulations of criminal investigations including constitutional, international, and statutory laws; investigative procedures and techniques; and specialized investigative and business accounting techniques sufficient to:

  • develop multi-jurisdictional or international conspiracy cases, targeting organizations with large-scale supply sources;
  • solicit cooperating defendants and sources who will identify upper echelon members of criminal organizations, infiltrate the organization under the direction of the criminal investigation, or facilitate the introduction of an undercover agent to upper-level members;
  • draft affidavits in support of search and arrest warrants in multiple jurisdictions and judicial districts and coordinate the enforcement actions of Federal, State, and local agencies participating in the investigations;
  • review documentary evidence to identify other members of the criminal organization, potential witnesses, or assets meeting seizure and forfeiture guidelines;
  • investigate complex tax and financial violations, such as money laundering and financial and investment fraud schemes, in which suspects took advantage of systemic weaknesses in the financial payment system, tax codes, banking regulations, or reporting requirements to commit the crime and/or avoid detection;
  • investigate complicated electronic crimes perpetrated against financial or telecommunications infrastructure which thwart standard information security practices and obscure the identity of the attacker from conventional investigative methods;
  • investigate complex United States and foreign government currency and securities counterfeiting using the latest technology;
  • obtain relevant evidence for investigations routinely involving multiple entities, multiple judicial districts, obstructive activities, and interwoven legal and illegal transactions;
  • develop innovative approaches to document financial and tax fraud for financial investigations and detect fraudulent transactions in a variety of accounting, financial, and banking systems; and
  • set up a cover and storefront operation for domestic or international businesses being investigated, gain introductions to fraudulent business executives, trace money used in accounts, and serve arrest warrants as appropriate.
  • SAMPLE 2 - Mastery of, and skill in applying, laws, regulations, policies, procedures, theories, concepts, and principles of criminal investigations sufficient to:

  • investigate threats and allegations against executive and cabinet level officials, government witnesses placed in the witness protection program, and any others (e.g., foreign dignitaries or members of the United Nations General Assembly) designated by the Secretary of the Treasury or U.S. Attorney General; and
  • uncover confidential information involving planned assassinations of Federal officials and take the following steps:
  • initiate a series of wiretaps and surveillance;
  • determine whether the threat is valid;
  • work undercover using covert technical devices to infiltrate the conspiracy as a potential assassin;
  • develop incriminating evidence;
  • compile affidavits; and
  • provide testimony before the grand jury, criminal courts, and judges regarding unusual circumstances and complex theories of criminal activity.
  • SAMPLE 3 - Mastery of, and skill in applying, theories, concepts, and principles of constitutional and international law governing criminal investigations, complex investigative techniques, and investigative technology sufficient to:

  • conduct complex investigations of national and/or international organizations or groups;
  • uncover and document the illegal commercialization and destruction of protected wildlife resources;
  • work with and coordinate efforts of a dedicated network of intelligence gathering agencies, unique covert operations, and specialized forensic examinations providing essential tools for conducting complex investigations;
  • determine the routes of smuggling and methods of laundering money using covert contacts and surveillance;
  • use electronic technology and physical surveillance to identify suspects and their contacts, and document shipments being delivered to international organizations; and
  • serve as a witness at court proceedings, and testify or present cases to grand juries.
  • SAMPLE 4 - Mastery of, and skill in applying, Federal and international laws, theories, concepts, principles, policies, and procedures governing security protection and security planning sufficient to:

  • plan, coordinate, conduct, and lead sensitive protection activities, such as conducting advance security surveys for individuals who are vital to national and international security and the continuity of government;
  • conduct advance security surveys of a large-scale nature, involving continuous or extended domestic and international travel, and/or involving major events; and
  • develop detailed security plans in consultation with high-ranking State, county, and local officials, representatives of foreign governments, and prominent private individuals.
  • Nature of Assignment (SAMPLE 1) - The work consists of developing, planning, and conducting multi-judicial district investigations, including money laundering, counterfeiting currency and securities, and financial fraud investigations, using a range of criminal investigative techniques, such as:

  • physical surveillance;
  • electronic surveillance;
  • electronic and/or oral intercepts;
  • undercover operations and purchases; and
  • evaluating and disseminating intelligence gained during searches, seizures, interrogations, and arrests.
  • What Needs To Be Done – The employee selects the appropriate method from alternatives to:

  • ensure proper custody and handling of evidence;
  • resolve incomplete or conflicting information;
  • exploit prominent defendants; and
  • coordinate and handle jurisdictional issues pertaining to the timing and feasibility of major joint investigations, including:
  • prolonged multi-jurisdictional surveillance;
  • purchasing evidence;
  • conducting coordinated searches;
  • planning seizures and arrests while protecting the ongoing investigation; and
  • identifying when the investigation requires expansion and/or culmination.
  • Difficulty and Originality Involved – Exercises judgment in determining conflicting facts or evidence when subjects:

  • do not cooperate;
  • have covert or subtle resistance;
  • have explanations which are difficult to refute; and
  • use obstructive tactics to obscure relevant facts.
  • Nature of Assignment (SAMPLE 2) - Work consists of conducting a site advance for:

  • medium profile protectees with a low risk profile;
  • high profile countries considered a low risk;
  • evaluating proposed sites and facilities; and
  • identifying environmental factors and physical conditions posing direct or indirect potential hazards to protectees.
  • What Needs To Be Done – The employee selects the appropriate method from alternatives, and resolves conflicting data to:

  • make decisions on use of manpower and technical devices;
  • select and supervise the installation of mechanical and electronic detection devices at or near security sites for inspecting suspicious objects;
  • direct the establishment of controls, guard stations, check points, and other facilities necessary to ensure the safety of protectees;
  • gather and assess information for the proper course of action to prevent harm to protectees; and
  • develop multiple movement procedures and routes to avoid establishing predictable patterns.
  • Difficulty and Originality Involved – Exercises judgment in:

  • coordinating with local law enforcement agencies and addressing protocol issues;
  • addressing situations in open spaces (e.g., a large arrival ceremony);
  • preparing and directing alternate security plans for various locations where protectees must be moved;
  • preparing and executing contingency plans in response to reasonably anticipated security threats; and
  • maintaining an effective liaison with Federal, State, and local intelligence agencies to update security and movement plans.
  • Individual Occupational Requirements


    The duties of positions in this series require moderate to arduous physical exertion involving walking and standing, use of firearms, and exposure to inclement weather. Manual dexterity with comparatively free motion of finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, and knee joints is required. Arms, hands, legs, and feet must be sufficiently intact and functioning in order that applicants may perform the duties satisfactorily. Sufficiently good vision in each eye, with or without correction, is required to perform the duties satisfactorily. Near vision, corrective lenses permitted, must be sufficient to read printed material the size of typewritten characters. Hearing loss, as measured by an audiometer, must not exceed 35 decibels at 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hz levels. Since the duties of these positions are exacting and responsible, and involve activities under trying conditions, applicants must possess emotional and mental stability. Any physical condition that would cause the applicant to be a hazard to himself/herself, or others is disqualifying.

    Information on obtaining Criminal Investigator positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.

    Source: OPM's Position Classification Standards for White Collar Work

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