UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Life as a Community Outreach Specialist
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?
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.