Indianapolis FBI office works to improve diversity

Indianapolis FBI office works to improve diversity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Field Office of the FBI wants to make sure its agents are an accurate representation of Indianapolis.  

Only 20% of the Indianapolis Field Office staff are deemed as minorities, but, the FBI says, the future is bright for diversity with the applicant pool they’re seeing.

For years, the FBI would get around 50,000 applications a year from around the country. Agents would process applications and never think about needing to recruit … until 2018, when application numbers fell to around 12,000 a year.

“We had empty chairs at the FBI Academy, which had never happened before,” said FBI Indianapolis Division Special Agent In Charge Grant Mendenhall. “We started looking at it differently. We started looking at recruiting differently.”

Agents at the Indianapolis Field Office said they really stepped up their outreach, letting people know about opportunities through a program called The Unexpected Agent.

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“They’re putting things on LinkedIn,” FBI Applicant Recruiter Jeremy Michaelis said. “They’re trying to reach out to people that may not have ever considered the FBI agent position or law enforcement as a career. Educators, biologists, you name it. Any career path because we do want the bureau to reflect the community we serve.”

After implementing that program, the Indianapolis field office is seeing a better representation of Indianapolis. Forty percent of applicants are minorities, although agents aren’t quite sure why those numbers have gone up.

“That’s the real question,” Michaelis said. “We were talking about that, how headquarters called us yesterday and said ‘How are you doing it?’ and I wished I could say and I wished I could take credit for it.”

Now that the agency has applicants through the door, the next step is turning them into recruits and raising the 20% minority employment rate.

“We shouldn’t be a diverse organization just for the sake of diversity,” Mendenhall said. “We have to be a diverse organization to do our job.”

The recruitment process is continuing. The Indianapolis Field Office will have a diversity agent recruitment event on Aug. 22. To apply, visit apply.fbijobs.gov and enter “DAR Indianapolis” in the search bar.