Celebrating Women Special Agents: Daphne Hearn (2012)

Daphne Hearn began her career as a special agent in the Buffalo Division in 1991. She transferred to the Chicago Division in 1999, where she worked on organized crime. In 2008 she served as a special assistant to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. She was named special agent in charge of the Intelligence Division in Los Angeles in 2010, and earlier this year was named special agent in charge of the San Diego Field Office.


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I arrived at Quantico. It was certainly a different experience than what I had anticipated, but you know within the first five or six days I would say you’ve been completely embarrassed and humiliated in front of all your classmates and that’s the worst of it. After those first five or six days you know each other so well, you go through it together as a team. It’s really, for me anyway it was a great experience. I was single and didn’t have a family that was struggling without me at home like a lot of my classmates with spouses and kids at home. It was more difficult on them but it was a long 16 weeks but I enjoyed every minute of it.

I mean it was different 20 years ago than it is today. I worked on a violent crimes squad for a year and even to some degree it’s the same way today. You get a lot of senior agents that are on the violent crimes squads or the bank robbery squads. And they certainly didn’t have any doubts in our abilities to do interviews or those types of things. But any time we were going out on an arrest certainly I was in the back yard. I was never going in through the front door to make the arrest. So that got a little frustrating but eventually I think certainly today we’ve come around and if somebody does have some limitations or they don’t care to do that, that’s fine but it’s really not based on a male-female bias anymore.

Like I said I’m stubborn and determined, so if there was a barrier I don’t believe I saw it as a barrier to women. It was just a barrier to me personally and one that I was going to work on breaking through. So you know there were definitely some people that probably didn’t view some of the women agents as equals at different times but I don’t think that exists today. That was I’m thinking of specific instances 20 years ago. But I don’t think it does exist today and I just think anybody who’s hard working and determined is going to be successful in this organization.

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