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May 2019
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How to Become a Bounty Hunter


Thomas Brandon, ATF’s Top Official, Retiring

Acting head of ATF Thomas Brandon.

By Allan Lengel

Thomas Brandon, who led ATF since 2015, is retiring, the website The Trace reports.  Brandon will step down on April 30.

“Deputy Director Brandon has faithfully served ATF for 30 years, starting as a Special Agent in 1989,” ATF spokesperson Bradley Engelbert said in an emailed statement to the new site. “He has earned his retirement.”

Brandon, a career agent,  filled the top spot but never nominated as director. So, at some point, even though he remained the top official, he was given the title of deputy director.

No replacement has been named. Last November, Politico reported that Chuck Canterbury, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police, was being considered for the position.

Secret Service Agent Robert DeProspero, Fierce Protector of Presidents, Dies at 80

Robert DeProspero

By Allan Lengel

Robert DeProspero who became the Secret Service agent in charge of Reagan’s protection after the 1981 assassination attempt, died last Monday in Scottsdale, Arizona at age 80, the New York Times reports. He suffered from was amyloidosis, a rare disease in which an abnormal protein is deposited in tissues and organs.

After taking over the Reagan detail he added measures to shore up the president’s safety, the Times reports.

“There’s no question that if you made a wrong move or did not do what you were supposed to do, it would ruin your life, your family’s life, and would ruin anyone who was associated with you,” he told The Associated Press in 1985.

In a video message to agents in 1984, he said: “I don’t ever care about being criticized for overdoing as long as we consider security our first priority. We can’t afford to let up.”

In all, he protected five presidents.

Eric Jackson, Head of Dallas FBI, Leaving With Some Politicians Headed For Prison

By Allan Lengel

Eric Jackson, who began heading up the FBI in Dallas in March 2017, is leaving with a list of accomplishments, particularly in the area of public corruption.

He’s leaving behind a list of local public officials who are now facing prison time, NBC5 reports.

The station talked with Jackson about his tenure in Dallas.

Ex-Chicago Cornerback Charles Tillman Becomes An FBI Agent

Tillman (Photo by Jeffrey Beall)

By Allan Lengel

Former Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has become an an FBI agent.

A source tells the Chicago Tribune that Tillman graduated from the FBI’s training academy is now working as an agent.

Tillman, 37, retired from the NFL in 2016.


Gordon Johnson, First African American to Head up Baltimore FBI, is Retiring

By Allan Lengel

Gordon Johnson, FBI special agent in charge of the Maryland field office, is retiring from the agency after 20 years on the job.

Johnson, the first African American to head up the office, sat down with ABC7 to talk about his career. He was with the bureau for 20 years.

Eric B. Smith, Native of Ohio, to Head Up Cleveland FBI

Eric B. Smith

By Allan Lengel

Eric B. Smith, a native of Ohio, has been named head of the Cleveland FBI.

Smith, 49, a native of the London, Ohio, joined the FBI in 1999 and was first assigned to the Wichita Resident Agency, Kansas City Field Office, where he worked violent crime, counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

In 2005, he transferred to the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters. Three years later, he became a supervisor for the Cleveland Field Office’s counterterrorism squad and Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to an FBI press release.  Two years later, he became the FBI’s senior representative to a counterterrorism task force headquartered in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Smith returned to the Cleveland Field Office in 2013, where he was named assistant special agent in charge over counterterrorism and cyber matters and the resident agencies.

In 2015, he took on the role of  chief of staff to the FBI deputy director. He later became special assistant to the Director in 2016.


Joseph R. Bonavolonta Now Heads Up Boston FBI Office

Joseph R. Bonavolonta (FBI photo)

By Allan Lengel

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, who had served as deputy assistant director for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division since March 2018, has taken over as head of the Boston field office.

He’s no stranger to the Boston office, having previously served as assistant special agent in charge there from 2013 to 2017.

Bonavolonta has held a variety of leadership, operational, and investigative positions throughout his FBI career.

He entered the FBI in 1996 as an investigative specialist in the FBI’s New York Field Office.

In August 2000, he received his first assignment as a special agent in the New York Field Office, where he spent several years investigating the Bonanno La Cosa Nostra Family.

His work led to the convictions and/or guilty pleas of dozens of high-ranking members and associates of the Bonanno LCN Family, according to an FBI press release.

From 2006-2007, Bonavolonta served as the program manager in the Organized Crime Section at FBI Headquarters.  He also directed an international organized crime initiative with the Italian National Police to combat criminal operations between the American-based LCN families and the Sicilian Mafia.

In 2008, he became a supervisory special agent of the corporate/securities fraud squad at the Newark Field Office in 2008. In 2013,  Bonavolonta was named assistant special agent in charge of the Boston Field Office.

Todd A. Wickerham Heads Up FBI’s Cincinnati Office

Todd A. Wickerham (Linkedin photo)

By Allan Lengel

Todd A. Wickerham, who served as a special assistant for the FBI’s associate deputy director since 2017,  has been named special agent in charge of the Cincinnati Field Office.

Wickerham, who joined the FBI in 1997,  has held a variety of investigative, operational, and management positions in the bureau. He was first assigned to the Pittsburgh Field Office, where he investigated violent crime and criminal enterprises. He also served on the SWAT team and as a special agent bomb technician, according to a press release.

On Sept. 11, 2001, he responded to and worked the scene of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

In 2006, Wickerham was promoted to the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters, where he served as a supervisory special agent in the Strategic Planning Unit.

In 2008, he became the supervisory senior resident agent of the Akron Resident Agency where he managed all FBI investigative programs in the Akron area.

During that stretch, he also completed a four-month temporary assignment in Kabul, helping to establish the Major Crimes Task Force – Afghanistan.

In 2013, he was  appointed as assistant special agent in charge of FBI Cleveland’s criminal branch.

Before joining the FBI, he served as a deputy sheriff for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina, an investigator for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and a combat engineer with the Ohio Army National Guard.

He began his new post last month.