By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — You are the first one through the door and the hotel room is a mess, with broken glass and a bloody footprint streaked across the kitchen floor. As a special investigations agent, your job is to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
This was the scene as special agents, with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, conducted training at a simulated crime scene in a hotel room here.
“Training like this needs to be done often because a lot of the skills you have in processing a crime scene are perishable. We have not had a felony death case in over three years in the local area; and if you are not practicing those skills, it is very hard to just start up again,” said Special Agent Paulo Dutra, Air Force Office of Special Investigations 8th Field Investigations Squadron.
The need to maintain these ‘perishable skills’ makes training like the one conducted recently by base agents vital to keeping those skills sharp and ready to employ.
“This type of training is essential for when the real thing happens, being able to control and properly document a crime scene so that we can answer family members questions and those from Capitol Hill,” said Special Agent Deandre Davis, AFOSI 8th FIS.
A 14-year veteran of AFOSI, Davis has the experience to train and mentor the younger agents on the tactics and procedures used when documenting a crime scene; he was one of the trainers during the event.
“The training received today is pertinent in making sure that we are ready. Some of these agents have just come out of the academy, and it is very important that they get this experience because tomorrow we could get a call but it’s real-world,” said Davis. “Many people think that this is something that is very difficult and complex to do — it’s actually not. We have set procedures and checklists that we follow based off of what type of crime scene we are dealing with. Even with a small team, two to three agents can effectively and efficiently process a crime scene that resulted in a fatality.”
The Air Force’s investigative branch is staffed different than other military services, which do not have enlisted investigators. AFOSI has a mix of enlisted, officer and civilians.
“It’s a rare opportunity to be a federal agent, investigating violations and crimes, and unlike other Military Criminal Investigative Offices (MCIO) we have enlisted, officers and civilian agents,” said Special Agent Derick Nieves, AFOSI 8th FIS base investigations branch chief. “Many OSI agents go on to pursue investigative careers after retirement in the civilian sector due in part to the great training and experience they get while in the service.”
AFOSI continuously strives to identify and court talented personnel to join its select force. The agents are part of a highly-trained team that investigates and deters felony-level crimes including base-level and contract fraud. AFOSI also seeks to identify, neutralize and exploit threats to Air Force information systems and technologies while providing counterintelligence support for sensitive military programs. A career within AFOSI is challenging, dynamic and full of opportunity, said Nieves.
Senior airmen with less than six years time in service and staff sergeants through Technical sergeants with outstanding records and fewer than 12 years of military service are eligible. Security forces members in the grades of Senior Airman staff through Technical sergeant are also eligible. Senior airmen must be in their cross training window; 35 to 43 month for four-year enlistees and 59 to 67 month for six-year enlistees. Members must have at least 18 months time-on-station, which can be waived.
Officers must have less than 12 years total active federal military service and less than six years total active federal commission service to apply. Air Force Personnel Center must agree to release officer applicants in order to apply.
Applicants with foreign language, intelligence service, prior civilian law enforcement, computer and technical skills are among those highly sought after by AFOSI.
For more information about AFOSI recruitment, contact the AFOSI Detachment at 556-4347 or go to http://www.osi.andrews.af.mil/.