Alumni Success Story: Scott Stachowski ’01
BS in Criminal Justice and International Studies
Scott Stachowski ’01 is currently employed as a Special Agent for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as an Assistant Attaché at the US Embassy in London. HSI is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international criminality arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within, and out of the United States. The main goal of HSI focuses on disrupting, and dismantling terrorist, transnational, and other criminal organizations that threaten or seek to exploit the customs and immigration laws of the United States.
Since 1789, the legacy components of HSI have specialized in the investigation of financial crimes, illegal commerce in munitions, customs fraud, narcotics smuggling and human trafficking/smuggling violations. HSI has approximately 250 Special Agents in 68 offices and 51 countries throughout the world.
Where it All Started
When Stachowski attended SUNY Brockport in 1998, he knew that he wanted to work in the field of criminal justice but did not have any specific career path in mind. Through the guidance and mentoring from his academic advisor and a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, he decided to pursue a career in Law Enforcement.
The summer following his Freshman year, Stachowski secured an internship with the East Aurora, NY Police Department. The internship functioned as a ride-along program where he was able to witness all aspects of a small police department and got his first exposure to the field. The following summer he interned at the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. Stachowski observed the inner workings of a criminal prosecution’s office and witnessed pretrial preparations and court proceedings.
“Although this experience was interesting, it quickly reaffirmed my initial instinct that the enforcement side of the law was where I wanted to make a difference,” Stachowski said.
Stachowski’s final internship was an international experience at the Humberside Police Department in Hull, United Kingdom. This was the first time that he had been more than from a United States border.
“That internship was one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of my life,” Stachowski said. “My first day at the Humberside Police Department was accompanied by a 45-minute car chase that I was able to witness from the back seat of the primary pursuit vehicle.”
From there, Stachowski’s experiences seemed to multiply. He took part in multiple training opportunities such as escaping from a submerged and overturned helicopter cockpit in a blacked-out swimming pool and walking through the six-foot flames of a hand-propelled, liquid fuel incendiary device (Molotov Cocktail) in a flame retardant riot suit.
In December 2001, Stachowski received a tentative job offer from the U.S. Border Patrol and nine months later he accepted an on-duty position in Yuma, Arizona and after a six-month training academy in Charleston, South Carolina; he began his 2,500-mile drive to his new home.
“For the next four years I worked as a Border Patrol Agent in Yuma, before making the transition to Nogales, Arizona as a Special Agent with Homeland Security Investigations,” Stachowski said. “There the investigative focus was mainly directed at narcotics investigations associated with the Mexican Cartels, while also working on the craft of cultivating and controlling confidential informants.”
During this time, Stachowski became a member of the Homeland Security Investigations Special Response Team, their equivalent of SWAT. After four years of working narcotics investigations, Stachowski transferred to Phoenix, Arizona to work Counter-Proliferation Investigations
“We focused on the illicit transfer and export of single-use and dual-use United States military technology and weaponry to bad actors and countries that are prohibited from obtaining these commodities without the appropriate licensing and export requirements,” Stachowski said.
In 2016, Stachowski’s time in Arizona finally came to an end when he transferred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he continued work Counter-Proliferation Investigations for a brief two and a half years before a new opportunity arose.
“An opportunity came up to accept a position at the US Embassy in London and continue my work in the United Kingdom as an Assistant Attaché for HIS,” Stachowski said. “My responsibilities currently involve conducting and supporting HSI investigations and critical programs, coordinating and collaborating with foreign law enforcement, immigration, and customs counterparts, and coordinating cross border investigations involving dual criminality between the United States and the countries of responsibility that fall under HSI Mission UK.”