The Lakeland Mirror

FBI agent encourages exciting career paths

Michelle Fromm, Managing Editor

Special Agent Parker Shipley, a bomb technician from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke to students about his experiences in a career that most people only see in movies.

Shipley came from the Milwaukee FBI field office where he has worked for 14 years, and is an Air Force Academy graduate. He was previously an army officer on active duty for about eight years, but his work with the FBI has allowed him to work in a variety of areas serving the American people, including civil rights, terrorism, and public corruption.

“If you’re somebody who just likes to blow stuff up, it’s a fun job,” said Shipley of his current position as a bomb technician.

Shipley’s presentation was well-attended by students interested in the field, but a handful of other curious students also came to listen to Shipley’s real-life stories of defusing bombs and dealing with suspicious packages.

Shipley completed his four month FBI training in 1999 in Virginia. He explained that new agents now train for five months, and this requires things such as a physical fitness test, fingerprinting and other identification, counterintelligence, defensive tactics, range shooting, and training for dealing with terrorism, public corruption, and white collar crime.

Shipley also emphasized the continuing importance of academics even when training for the FBI.

“You have to achieve at least 85 percent on all your written tests,” said Shipley, “or else you fail. You get one chance to take a retest. You fail that, you’re gone.”

Shipley showed that having high grades in FBI training is really a matter of keeping the country safe.

“We [the FBI] investigate violations of federal law,” said Shipley. “And we collect evidence and intelligence about that, about violations of law or things that would affect national security.”

Shipley went on to describe situations where, as a bomb technician, he had to work with other government employees to determine how to deal with dangerous substances and packages suspected of containing bombs.

“It’s not risk-free at all,” said Shipley. “There are just some things a robot can’t do.”

 

 Watch video of highlights from Shipley’s talk with Lakeland students.

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FBI agent encourages exciting career paths