Field Canine Coordinator

For Field Canine Coordinators of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), their animal partners are more than their best friends. Their dogs allow them to do their jobs successfully. Trained to detect concealed humans and the odors of controlled substances like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, hashish, and ecstasy, these canines are integral to the success of the mission of the CBP.CBP Field Canine Coordinator

Field Canine Coordinators work with their canine partners to support other CBP personnel during interdiction operations. They manage interdiction strategies at ports of entry and border crossings. Together with their partners, coordinators conduct investigations into narcotics, weapons, or human smuggling operations and detect and locate explosives, chemical or biological weapons. With their keen and highly-trained animal partners, coordinators search and rescue individuals who are lost, injured or incapacitated due to accident or natural disaster; pursue and apprehend aliens who try enter the U.S. illegally; and track and capture fugitives or criminals of foreign origin.

If you love animals and think you have what it takes to be a Field Canine Coordinator, you can definitely apply when the CBP calls for applications. To be considered, you must be a U.S. citizen; possess a valid state driver’s license; and pass the various tests during the entire application process. These include drug test, background security check, and medical examination. You should also have a bachelor’s degree at the least or have three years’ work experience related to this position. A combination of course work and work experience are also qualifying.  To increase your chances of getting hired, having a degree in fields like criminal justice; police administration; police science; law and evidence; police investigation; criminology; and law enforcement will be advantageous. Those with post graduate education will be hired at the higher pay scale and have more chances for promotion. If you are aiming for supervisory and instructor positions, some training with canine units may be required.

When you have submitted all your requirements and the CBP hiring committee thinks you are qualified, you are going to be asked to take a writing test which will evaluate your organization, reasoning, and written communication skills. Upon passing this test, you will be called for two interviews. The first interview is meant to assess your reasoning skills, emotional maturity, and character. This will be conducted by a panel of three Field Canine Coordinators. The second interview will be done by a U.S. CBP manager. You may also be asked to write another sample for further evaluation.

The next stage is the background investigation. A history of arrests, convictions, drug use, domestic violence, or extreme financial debts could render you unfit to become a Field Canine Coordinator. If you pass this, you will be asked to take a medical exam and drug test.

If you pass these tests, you will be given an offer of employment subject to your passing a training program for Field Canine Coordinators at the National Canine Facility in El Paso, Texas. This is a long and rigorous six-week training program where you will be paired with your canine partner who will then stay with you for as long as you remain as a Coordinator—unless, of course, something happens to either of you while you are both discharging your duties. After the training, you will then be sent to your posts but must complete 16 hours of maintenance training every month.