January 21, 2007
"There are always crimes so we are always out there working," said Special Agent Jim Lamb.
Inside the walls of a rather ordinary looking office building on Pantops, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a five agent office that deals specifically with the threats and crimes of Central Virginia.
"We are a very busy area. We are a very busy office. We are certainly not sitting the by the phone waiting for it too ring. We have any number of investigations," Lamb said.
Special Agent Lamb is a 22-ear veteran of the Bureau, spending time in Dallas and Newark, New Jersey before landing in Charlottesville for the past eight and a half years. He says one of the draws of working in a smaller area is the fact that agents work all kinds of cases.
"We do everything here. We have bank robberies, large fraud cases, we have extortions. It does make for some interesting work," he said.
Besides interesting, Lamb says the work load can be memorable but some times for all the wrong reasons. Lamb was one of the agents who worked the missing person and eventual murder case of Elizabeth Hafter, the 22-year-old UVa Graduate student who was murdered back in 2006 in Shenandoah National Park.
"It was truly a senseless act of violence. She was just there, relaxing, looking out over the Valley when she was murdered," Lamb said.
He says that case has and probably will stick with him for the rest of his career.
"Every day I think about that especially on those days when I have to drive over the mountain and cross through the park," he said.
But not every day is doom and gloom. Lamb points to the formation of a cooperative group of local law enforcement called the Joint Terrorism Task Force as a step towards making the area as safe as possible.
"We work well as a group to ensure that whatever threats come, they are addressed," Lamb said.
With 22 years of experience under his belt, Lamb says not much surprises him anymore, not even the fact that he would choose this calling all over again.
"I would gladly choose this career path. I have been happy every day I have been in the bureau," he said.
Even though the FBI's main focus has switched to fighting terrorism, Lamb says if you have a concern that you believe needs to be investigated by the FBI, give them a call.