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FBI St. Louis welcomes first female assistant special agent in charge as it strives to diversify

Left, Richard Quinn and Alicia Corder spoke with host Don Marsh about the FBI’s efforts to diversify its agents on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis on the Air
Left, Richard Quinn and Alicia Corder spoke with host Don Marsh about the FBI’s efforts to diversify its agents on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.";s:

While attending Indiana State to become a surgeon, Alicia Corder took a criminal justice class and her entire life plan changed.

“It’s not anything I had considered before,” she said describing a time she heard from an FBI agent about their work. “But there was something about the way he spoke about the people he worked with and the mission he served, and his passion and dedication to it that I was absolutely struck by it. And the next week, I went and changed my major and ended up going to law school and geared everything after that to becoming an agent.”

Now, after spending 15 years with the agency, she comes to St. Louis as the first woman to serve as the assistant special agent in charge.

In an attempt to increase diversity within FBI St. Louis, the local division recently hired Corder however, its efforts haven’t stopped there. A Diversity Agent Recruitment information session will take place Wednesday, July 11, in hopes of attracting people with wide range of skills and backgrounds.

Corder joined host Don Marsh on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, along with her supervisor, Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn, to talk diversity within the agency.

“Whether you’re in federal law enforcement or in state and local level law enforcement, probably the most important currency you have is trust with the community,” Quinn said. “In order to trust, you have to understand, and in order to be able to understand you have to have perspective – different perspectives, and diversity is one way for us to become more effective at what we do.”

Noting that trust issues currently exist among society regarding the FBI, Marsh pressed the two on their thoughts about the public’s opinion.

“We are certainly not immune to criticism and so when that criticism is voiced, when it is identified, we do our best to accept it and make ourselves better,” Quinn said.

According to Corder, her career with the organization primarily has not been influenced by the public’s opinion.

“The day to day functions are unaffected. We just do our work,” she said. “All the time, but certainly in times like this, we just endeavor to do our mission and we stay focused on that mission always.”

Quinn echoed this sentiment and added that the agents in St. Louis have “more important work to do.”

“As you get further and further away from Washington, we’re dealing with some very real problems out here,” Quinn said. “Whether it be opioids or violent crime in a city like St. Louis, racial divisiveness – those are the things that we concentrate on and all of that other stuff – it’s not that we don’t recognize it, but we quite frankly don’t have time to distract ourselves with it when we have more important work to do.”

Those interested in joining the organization in its work must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 23 and 37 with a bachelor’s degree and three years of work experience. To attend the July 11 DAR session, registration is required online by Sunday, July 1. Afterward, applicants will be reviewed and notified of the specific details for the information session.

Related Event:
What: Diversity Agent Recruitment Program information session
When: Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Where: apply.fbijobs.gov (Click on the "Apply for Jobs" button. Search “DAR” and click on the "DAR St. Louis Talent Network.")

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.