Livingstone College to host ATF recruitment event Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Livingstone News Service

SALISBURY — Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Special Agent Tanisha Jeter, a Livingstone College alumna, is coming back to the campus Wednesday, April 5, and she’s bringing a host of law enforcement personnel with her.

The mission: To diversify the criminal justice landscape by recruiting fellow Blue Bears to the agency.

Like many other criminal justice entities across the country, diversifying the workforce is a top priority for ATF in order to help change the system from within. And what better way to accomplish that than by visiting colleges and recruiting graduating seniors.

The ATF’s Law Enforcement Leaders of America (LELA) will host a panel discussion from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Tubman Theater. It is open to all students, regardless of major or classification. Students from other schools are also invited.

“Join us to hear from a spectacular panel of criminal justice professionals, representing multiple agencies, to promote a more diverse landscape for the next generation of criminal justice professionals,” said Jeter, who is ATF’s Diversity Career Impact Program coordinator.

“Students are presented a unique opportunity to hear from multiple criminal justice professionals regarding tools, tips and even pitfalls of the hiring process; successes and shortcomings of the panelists; and hiring and internship opportunities,” Jeter said.

Additionally, students will learn how to prepare for the job (credit, drug use, social media, friends, writing skills); how to land the job (appearance/attire, following up, physical fitness, truthfulness/polygraph); and why diversity/representation in this field is important.

Jeter said she can’t stress enough that the panel discussion is not just for students in criminal justice majors, but to those seeking to make a difference in their communities with or without a badge. Examples include working in the lab (STEM), ATF industry operations investigators, ATF intelligence research specialists, law clerks, aspiring attorneys, SBI crime scene agents, and so many more.

“A biology major, a women’s basketball player, a psychology major or a track athlete may not have even considered using their skills and knowledge for our field,” she said. “They may think that we are typical police officers who respond to 911 calls. We are not. We are so much more.”

In addition to Jeter, who will serve as moderator and was recently recognized by ATF for Women’s History Month, two other Livingstone College graduates are scheduled to participate in the panel. They are Mercedes Trammell-Fordham, associate warden for custody at Piedmont Correctional Institute; and Demeer Gray Sr., Bureau of Prisons education specialist/teacher.


Other panelists include:

  • Sandra Hairston, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina;
  • Eddie Buffaloe Jr., secretary of North Carolina Department of Public Safety;
  • Kevin Canty, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge;
  • Deputy Whitney Browning, U.S. Marshals Service;
  • Joe Bright Jr., retired first sergeant of the NC State Highway Patrol/current BLET daytime coordinator at Wake Technical Community College;
  • Major Rico Boyce of the Raleigh Police Department; and
  • Investigator Devante Mackins of the NC Public Defender’s Office.

“Livingstone College students can walk across the stage and into careers with the federal government as special agents with the ATF,” Jeter said. These jobs start at $58,000 per year, depending on residence, and salaries increase exponentially each year. Some applicants can start at $62,000 per year by meeting certain criteria.

In February, Livingstone College hosted an FBI Collegiate Academy with a similar mission to diversity its workforce.

“The time is ripe for students to enter the criminal justice field as there is a focus on diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Latarcia R. Barnes, chair of the Livingstone College Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology. “The hope is that diversity will help to solve a lot of the challenges that law enforcement is facing in today’s society.”

For more information, email Barnes at or call 704-216-6954.