The FBI is celebrating a major milestone this month.
50 years ago the first woman entered the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, VA.
To this day more than 22% of all special agents are women.
We had the honor of meeting one of those special agents and learning more about her career.
Growing up, Special Agent Dianne Shaffer never thought she would be working in law enforcement.
“I wanted to be a veterinarian,” said Dianne Shaffer, FBI Special Agent.
The universe however had other plans for this Erie native.
“I was working as a CPA. I bumped into another agent and he said you should apply. I laughed at him and said no thank you,” said Shaffer.
18 years later, Shaffer’s career is no laughing matter.
She spent six years working out of the Buffalo field office before moving back to Erie.
In 2020, Shaffer was the lead agent on a case that resulted in the largest criminal recovery in the history of the Western District of Pennsylvania.
“It was a pharmaceutical fraud case that had 1600 primary and government insurers who were the victims in the case,” said Shaffer.
To this day, the FBI recognizes the vital role women play as special agents.
That is why the FBI is actively working to recruit more women like Shaffer to the male dominated agency.
“That’s one of my strengths is bringing that female perspective, and I think that it’s just helpful, and I think all the other male agents recognize hey it might be helpful to have a female in this particular situation,” said Shaffer.
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As the FBI celebrates 50 years of female special agents, Shaffer knows that she is more than just a special agent, she’s a role model who is continuing to pave the way.
“I remember vividly talking to some of the females that were there when I came and the advice they gave me, and I keep that with me to this day. I just try to make it easier for the next generation of female agents coming after us,” said Shaffer.