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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Life as a Community Outreach Specialist

09/11/06

Photograph of Tammy Peter

Tammy Peter studied sociology and government at the University of New Mexico before joining the FBI in 1996. Today, she’s putting those skills to good use as our Community Outreach Specialist in Albuquerque, making friends and demystifying the FBI throughout the state. We spoke to her about her day-to-day work and memorable experiences.

Q: Tammy, how do you see your role?

Tammy: Like all professional support jobs in the FBI, community outreach specialists have a detailed job description that parallels our investigative mission. The way I see it, though, our job is mainly to build bridges where there are none, so that people will be open and receptive to the FBI and willing to help and support us. To do that, I introduce community members and students to new resources and help investigative programs with targeted outreach initiatives. I also help with recruiting, special events, and liaison with law enforcement and minority leaders and groups.

Q: What’s a typical day like?

Tammy: Funny you should ask. Every day I meet with members of the community or provide information to organizations interested in FBI programs. And I often get asked, “Why did you join the FBI?” I always say that I came here because I wanted to serve the public and to be part of an organization that’s not known for having a “typical day.” I really like the fact that no two days are the same and that I’m managing multiple programs at the same time. One minute I’m creating an agenda for an upcoming event, the next I’m speaking with a member of the Citizens’ Academy about next week’s session. Later, I’ll be hosting an activity for students from our “adopted school” and e-mailing people interested in the Bureau and its outreach programs. If there’s a dull moment, I certainly haven’t noticed!

Q. What’s been your most memorable experience?

Tammy: The great thing about this job is that I’ve had so many positive experiences and memories, and yet, I really believe the best is yet to come. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say that starting a Citizens’ Academy here was an extremely inspiring moment. There’s no better reward than hearing how much the graduates enjoyed and appreciated the experience. Their enthusiasm is contagious…and the relationship we build with these community leaders is so valuable that it can’t be measured. I also get great joy out of our Adopt-a-School program, where we mentor grade school kids and teach them all about the FBI. Every thank-you card, e-mail, and handshake leaves a lasting impression. You know you are making a difference. I’ve even received letters of gratitude from the parents of the children. Their letters will stay with me for a lifetime.