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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Life as a Community Outreach Specialist

07/19/06

Photograph of Natosha Gale

Natosha Gale joined the FBI in 1988 and has been the community outreach specialist in our Philadelphia Division for a dozen years. Her job? To get out and meet people in surrounding communities and demystify the FBI. We talked with Natosha about her day-to-day activities and her memorable experiences on the job—including her work on the "Step Up, Speak Up: Take the Big Step" campaign which encourages people with information on crimes to cooperate with law enforcement. Read the interview.

Q: Natosha, what's your role in the FBI?
Natosha:
It boils down to this: to make life easier and more productive for our agents and support professionals. I do that a lot of different ways—for example, by spreading the word about the FBI's work to stop terrorism, violent crime, gangs, drugs, Internet frauds, and more. That way, the community will have a better understanding of what we do and be more willing to help—and maybe even willing to sign up to join our team! I also try to get out and meet people…and to make new friends for the FBI. For example, not so long ago there was head of an organization here in town whose relationship with the FBI was strained, to say the least. I got to know him and he began to trust me…and that helped improve his opinion of the FBI. Eventually, I gently persuaded him (he'd say I twisted his arm!) to attend a Citizens' Academy. Right after the graduation, he went and bought an FBI hat. That's when I knew we had made a new friend. Today, he's by far one of our biggest supporters.

Q: What's a typical day like?
Natosha:
I'll tell you one thing, you'll rarely find me at my desk! One minute, you might find me giving tips to seniors on how to avoid getting scammed. The next, I'll be in a meeting focused on developing strategies to prevent terrorist attacks. The next, I'll be with elementary school children, reading a book I wrote that helps youngsters understand "stranger/danger" and how to avoid becoming targets of child predators. I also wear a couple of other hats—I'm the division's cultural diversity trainer, upward mobility coordinator, and equal employment opportunity mediator. I guess you can say the fun never stops!

Q. What's been your most memorable experience?
Natosha:
I'd have to say it's been the "Step Up, Speak Up" campaign. The day we launched the campaign, Sister Dee from a local organization called "Mothers in Charge"—one of our partners in the campaign—sang a beautiful song. One line really touched me: "Only way to stop this violence is we're going to have to break our code of silence." In May, we also held a rally at a community center where a 14-year-old boy was shot to death as he performed community service. At one point, I found myself hugging the boy's mother as she broke down in tears. There wasn't a dry eye in the place…and at that moment, the mission of the campaign truly hit home. For me personally, there's nothing more rewarding than being in a position to help keep mothers and children safe. It's something I try to remember every day—the FBI's job, above all, is to make our country safer for our children. It's not a cliché—they are our future.