1. What do these Acronyms stand for and the Supervisory Rank Insignia?
2. I want to leave my vehicle at the Artesia academy, how is the security?
3. Is it mandatory to take time off after the academy or can you just report to your duty station that same weekend?
4. Does the BP also pay for that trip back to you duty station?
5. How many days do trainees accumulate at the academy?
6. What is the graduation day like?
7. What is a 60 Day letter?
8. Does being Federal employee give us any rights on a military base?
9. Who pays for my airline ticket and motel expenses when I EOD?
10. What is Artesia, New Mexico mailing address?
11. Which station is the best or worst?
12. Why do I have to report to my sector/station before going to the academy?
13. Who pays for the move to my initial duty sector/station?
14. Should I move my spouse/family closer while I'm at the academy?
15. When should I move my family to my sector/station area?
16. Should I resign due to an injury at the Academy?
17. Application - Ten Month Test
18. The Hiring Process
19. What can I do to physically get ready for the academy?
Q: What do these Acronyms stand for?
ALT - Artificial Language Test
NOR - Notice of Results
TO - Tentative Offer
EOD- Enter On Duty (date)
EO - Equal Opportunity
AUO - Allowable Uncontrollable Overtime
UDA - Undocumented Alien
Borstar - Border Search Trauma and Rescue
Bortac - Border Rescue Tactical
Borcap - Border Patrol Criminal Alien Program
FTO - Field Training Officer
BPA - Border Patrol Agent
SPA - Senior Patrol Agent
SBPA- Supervisor Border Patrol Agent
FOS - Field Operation Supervisor
SOS - Special Operation Supervisor
APAIC - Assistant Patrol Agent In Charge
PAIC - Patrol Agent In Charge
ACPA - Assistant Chief Patrol Agent
DCPA - Deputy Chief Patrol Agent
CPA - Chief Patrol Agent
To get a complete list!
Supervisory rank (Insignia designations are based solely on supervisory title, not grade)."
Chief- 4 stars
Deputy Chief-3 stars
Chief Patrol Agent: 2 stars
Deputy Chief: 1 star
Assistant Chief: Eagle
PAIC: Silver Oak Leaf
APAIC: Silver Oak Leaf
FOS./SOS/Watch Cmdr: Gold Oak Leaf
SBPA: Double Bars
Chief: 2 stars
Deputy Chief: 1 star
Assistant Chief: Eagle
Training Ops Supv. (TOS): Gold Oak Leaf
SBPA (Instructors): Double Bars
Q: How is the security at Artesia, New Mexico? I intend to drop my car at the academy before I EOD. Do they have decent police coverage and security?
A: The Artesia FLETC main center is 220 acres and is fenced around the entire acreage. We have 24 hours, 7 day a week, 365 days a year security. The entire campus is patrolled by armed guards. If a BP agent would like to bring his vehicle to the Center and leave it, he can rest assured that it will be safe. The agent can enter the Security Office, identify themselves as an agent and obtain a parking pass for the duration of his time here.
Q: Is it mandatory to take time off after the academy or can you just report to your duty station that same weekend?
A: Your station isn't really ready for you if you come in. When you first arrive you are assigned to a Field Training Unit (FTU). They have to have your group go through the whole orientation thing, get your O/C, radio, forms filled out, qualifications at the range, etc. before you'll get out in the field. They'll probably just give you some sort of administrative(light-duty) type task or building maintenance duty. Just take the time off. You'll be plenty busy after you get going.
Q: Does the BP also pay for that trip back to you duty station?
A: Yes they pay for your airplane ticket back to your duty station, or if you choose to go home instead of to your station first, they will reimburse you the amount that it would have cost them to fly you back to the duty station. You have to get prier request from your Lead Law Instructor and also right a memo with receipts to turn in to get refunded.
Q: How many days do trainees accumulate at the academy?
A: Usually 40 hours, which gives you 5 days plus your 2 days off, so a total of 7 days.
Q: What is the graduation day like?
A: Typical Graduation Day Monday 6:45 am Formation - All the classes were there getting inspected by there leaders, the class got inspected.
That lasted until about 7:30 am. Then the class started marching off and all other classes followed.
7:30 Graduating class marched straight to the chow hall for breakfast with there family and friends. This is when to get the chance to meet some of the instructors and get some pictures. Breakfast lasted until about 9:00 am.
Make sure you bring money if you plan on eating.
Then you go to the dorm room to finish packing things.
10:00 a.m. they took everyone to the auditorium for the graduation.
To get a good seat arrive at the graduation room about 30 minutes prior to graduation. If you want to be right there when they march in as a class, it is best to sit by the door. Seats fill up real fast.
An agent spoke to the families prior to my husbands graduation ceremonies and told us that this wasn't just their graduation, but that it was for us too. We as significant others and families had supported and waited for 4-5 months for this huge event to take place. So, we were told that we could get up and move around to take pictures - just as long as we did not get in the way of the trainees or those who were running the program. It was formal up front, but in regards to families-they could move around and take "the picture". Just FYI. It could change, this was the way it was for my husbands graduation.
Graduation started at 10:30 or a little later. Graduation lasted for about 2 hours. A few people spoke and offered the class good luck and so forth. They then handed out academy awards for "top dogs" in PT, driving, shooting, etc. Once that was completed, badges are handed out--one at a time, by name, like a true graduation. After that, they take the Border Patrol oath and then are dismissed as a class. They will them march out as a class for the last time. Once graduation was over with then they go and get there guns and are free to leave.
You leave the same day to go home. Some of the guys that flew home had to wait till Tuesday to leave (official travel day)(that was on the governments dime).
Pretty much that is it. There are a lot of great opportunities to get some great pictures before, during and after graduation.
Q: What is a 60 Day letter?
A: The 60 day letter is the letter you get once you have completed every step in the hiring process, just waiting for "the CALL" of a job offer.
Q: Does being Federal employee give us any rights on a military base?
A: We are not allowed to shop at the BX/PX or the commissary there on base. Some bases may let us eat at their dinning facility, and the agent only might be able to use their gym.
Q: Who pays for my airline ticket and motel expenses when I EOD?
A: You are responsible for all costs when you EOD (your flight to your station, hotel and your eateries). The government will start to pick up the tab for your airline ticket on Wednesday (usually) when you head to the academy.
Q: What is Artesia, New Mexico mailing address?
1300 W. Richey Ave.
Artesia, NM 88210
Q: Which station is the best or worst?
A: It depends on what your needs are!
- Are you married
- Are you single
- Do you like remote areas
- Do you like small or large stations
- Do you have any medical needs that you or someone in your family need to have quick access to a major hospital
- Do you want the big city life
- Do you want to REALLY work or are you okay with sitting on an X
- State tax
- Housing prices
- Cost of living
- Vehicle registration/insurance
- Firearms laws
- Hunting/Fishing Regulations
- Political/Cultural issues
- Does the local gene pool offer any decent dating possibilities?
When you can answer these questions, then you can get some great feedback that is tailored just for you.
Q: Why do I have to report to my sector/station before going to the academy?
A: The reasons you have to report to YOUR SECTOR/STATION before going on to the academy is so you can feel out paper work, get sworn in by the chief usually, choose medical insurance, and this also gives you a chance to back out one more time BEFORE the Government’t flies you to one of the academies.
You DO NOT move your family until you have graduated the academy. The reason you don’t move your family until then is because you don’t know if you can make it through the academy due to the stress, family issues, academics, you get hurt, or you plan don’t like it.
Q:Who pays for the move to my initial duty sector/station?
A: You are responsible for all costs to get you moved to your sector/station (keep the receipts for your taxes because they are deductible.)
Q: Should I move my spouse/family closer while I'm at the academy?
A: This isn't a good idea! Family can be distracting and they will be frustrated with the little amount of time that you actually get to spend with them. Some have moved their spouse/family nearby and have been successful, but it is highly discouraged!
Q: When should I move my family to my sector/station area?
A: It is recommended that you do not move your family to your sector/station area until after they pass the academy. Some move before completion of the academy which is not a good idea. Some move after the 7 or 10 month tests. It all depends on what is best for your family.
Q: Should I resign due to an injury at the academy?
A: Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never opt to resign due to an injury at the academy.
If you are hired, you are hired. If you sustain an injury at the academy that keeps you from graduating, you can go back to your station, or home, on COP(Continuation Of Pay). COP is where you continue to receive your pay as if you were ON DUTY, for a period of 45 calendar days from the date of the injury. COP includes night differentials and AUO overtime according to whatever shift you are regularly assigned to at the time of your injury (i.e.: if you are working mids and get injured, you continue to get paid your midnight pay). Once you recover and are certified by your doctor fit for "full duty", you can return to work, or in your case as a trainee, you can go to your station and work admin duties until another class opening at the academy becomes available. Then, you return to the academy.
Admin duties, at present, are abundant due to the fact that the BP has not been hiring enough admin people to do all the support functions that are essential. My evidence of that is the fact that there are all kinds of "able bodied" agents all over that are doing admin type jobs just to keep the organization running (i.e. time and attendance keepers, garage mechanics, etc.).
Now, the idea of re-treading, that is the deciding factor in this equation. Do you/are you willing to go back and retread? Many have thought it was worth it.
Q: Application - Ten Month Test
A: Looks like you are JUST beginning to investigate the BP.
You must first fill out an application to take the BP entrance exam (go to honorfirst.com to do this).
Then a letter will be mailed to you when/where that test will need to be taken at.
Then comes the waiting and the NOR (notice of results). You need to get a 70% or higher to get a TO (tentative offer)
Once a TO has been sent (if your husband/spouse passes with a good enough score), a package of forms will be mailed to you. This is called a SF-86 (I believe). This form you will need to fill out will include ALL the information about your life. Where you have lived, worked, etc.
Then you will have a medical, vision, and hearing evaluation that will need to be done.
After that you will have a BI come and visit you and all your friends you listed on you SF-86. This person needs to investigate your past and make sure you are a trustworthy, credible person.
Next comes the oral board. A panel of BPA (normally 3) who invite you into a room and ask you some questions which you need to ask as honestly as possible. They will then excuse you and talk amongst themselves to decide if you would make a great BPA or not. They will then invite you back in and tell you yes or no. If they say no, you can go back in 6 months and try again.
After, during, and a lot more to come: waiting!
Once everything has been approved, passed, and okayed-you get "THE CALL" which means someone will call to tell you which station you will be working at and what class you will be in at one of the Academy's in order to EOD(EOD-enter on duty).
You will need to pay your own way when you EOD to your station (approximate 2-3 days). The government does NOT pay your way until you fly to the academy (they pay for your plane ticket). After the plane ride, they pay you for your time in training, room and board and meals.
The duration of the BP Academy is 19 weeks long. Family members are encouraged to stay behind and NOT move with their spouse when at the academy. It is doable. It’s hard, but you have come to the right place for support. Once the BPA-t (t for the trainee-will keep this title up until a year has been passed). After 4:30 p.m. (on most days), it’s your time. Meaning you can call home, go off base, study, clean, iron, and polish your uniforms-whatever. Learning Spanish is a must.
7 months after EOD, a BPA-t must take an exam to prove that he/she has stored all his/her knowledge over the past 7 months. If the agent passes, they get to move on. If the agent fails-they must start all over again to the VERY beginning.
Again at 10 months, there is another exam. Once the agent passes this exam, they get to keep their jobs (for the most part) and coast through for 14 more months to earn their 2 year. Once that happens they are an official BPA and off of probation.
You MUST/HAVE to work on the SOUTHERN border 1st. In order to work on the Northern border-you have to earn your time. It's a long wait!
This is a lot of info in a nut shell. You will learn a lot more if you are indeed interested in the BP. Just come and visit here on the BP spouse’s board or to Honorfirst.com for more hiring help and questions.
Q: The Hiring Process
A: First you have to take the test. You might be notified by email of your NOR (notice of results) then you will get a copy in the mail in a couple weeks.
After that you wait. Then, the BP HQ will draw what are called "certification scores". These scores are arrived by the needs of the BP for the different regions. For example, if South Texas needs 200 new agents HQ will get out its list of applicants that are arranged numerically by test score. They then count down 200 people and look at that persons test score. That score is the "certification score" for South Texas for that draw. Let’s say that 200th score was an 86. Everyone with a South Texas preference with a score of 86 and above at that time will be slated to get a TO (tentative offer). Everyone below 86 gets to wait longer.
When you get your TO it is a packet full of all kinds of forms and paperwork that has to be filled out and returned to the BP by a certain date. Most of the forms in this packet can either be downloaded from the net or other applicants like myself can send them to you. It is a good idea to get busy downloading these forms ASAP. It is a lot of info to have to get together.
This part is not always in this order but you will do each of these.
Then shortly after you get your TO you are scheduled to take a medical, vision and hearing exam somewhere close to where you live. You might have to drive across town or down the street depending on what clinic they send you to. You go do this and then wait again.
You will be notified of your OB (Oral Board). It will most likely be right there in or near the town you live in. You might have to drive 5 minutes or 4 hours and spend the night in a motel.
You will then be contacted by your BI (background investigator). They will schedule an in person meeting with you. They will also be going to talk to your friends and coworkers and bosses at current and past jobs.
You will be notified to take a drug screen (whiz quiz).
After you have successfully completed each and every one of these steps and you "clear" security and get what is called a "60 day letter". This letter will notify you that you have successfully completed and passed all of the requirements for the BP and you will hear something from the BP within 60 days about where and when to report for duty. This letter is horribly named. 60 days will most likely be between 120-500 days.
Then when the BP is ready to hire new agents to send to the academy for training they will call and offer you a station and an EOD (Enter On Duty) date. You might get lucky and get a choice of a couple stations to choose from and a date to report. You decide then EOD (enter on duty) and go to the academy.
And then you’re done.
Oh, during this entire process you should be running and working out to get yourself in the best physical condition you can possibly be in for the academy. The BP academy is the toughest academy in law enforcement (so I have been told) and you need to be ready. More people flunk out of the academy because they get hurt in PT due to stress fractures in their legs from running. You don’t want that to happen to you.
Good luck and study for that test. You want to make the best possible score you can.
Q: What can I do to physically get ready for the academy?
A: It will be very hard to maintain your size at the academy... and you probably won't want to.
Each PT session lasts 2 hours. That's 50 minutes of pushups, sit ups, squat thrusts and jumping jack s.... and then you run for 30 to 45 minutes. A 200 lb. person is going to burn over 1500 calories during such a session.
If you want to prepare correctly, do the following routine:
1) Hold the push up position for 2+ minutes and then do 25 pushups.
2)75 flutter kicks
3) 30 more pushups
4) 40 crunches
5) 10 squat thrusts (body builders)
6) 20 sit ups
7) 20 jumping jacks
8) 50 flutter kicks
9) 25 pushups
10) 10 squat thrusts
11) 20 sit ups
12) 20 pushups
13) 40 crunches
14) 20 pushups
15) 50 flutter kicks... hold legs in the air for 20 seconds
16) 10 squat thrusts
17) 30 jumping jacks
....and then run 3 miles.
If you can do that routine at your current weight then keep lifting.
You'll be amazed at how few 'muscle heads' there are at the academy and at the fact that the 'smaller' guys actually do better in PT