Real Talk w/CJ: DEA Agent Rodney Lott

Wed Apr 10, 2013
3:00 pm - 4:00pm
Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom

Rodney Lott, a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, will discuss his career and how to get a job in the federal agency.

DEA Agent Rodney Lott
DEA Agent Rodney Lott.
After spending almost nine years with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, Alumnus Rodney C. Lott took a leap to the federal system at the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“In law enforcement, the investigation of narcotics trafficking seems to be the most exciting and intriguing,” said Special Agent Lott (BS ’96). “Narcotics trafficking is a global issue; therefore, you are able to work with many different agencies. It’s exciting.”

Lott will return to his alma mater on April 10 for Real Talk w/CJ to talk about his career and provide tips to students on how to get a job in the federal agency.

Drug proceeds from DEA Operation 4 Horseman.
Agent Lott investigates the Mexican drug cartels.
At the DEA, there is a single mission: to enforce the controlled substance laws of the United States. Lott’s day-to-day duties at the agency include locating, disrupting and dismantling the Mexican cartels that operate across the U.S.-Mexican border. He is involved in the investigation, arrest and criminal or civil prosecution of drug traffickers, such as members of infamous gangs like the Los Zetas and Gulf Cartels. His mission will soon take him to Brazil.

“My primary responsibility is working with the Mexican cartels,” said Lott.

While there are basic prerequisites for applying to the DEA – like a college degree, age and moral character -- it’s work history and the “intangibles” that will get you the job, Lott said. DEA is looking for candidates with diverse experiences and those fluent in a second language.

“We have 86 offices abroad in 67 countries,” said Lott. “We are everywhere except for Antarctica.”

Montgomery County Sheriff's Badge.Lott’s journey to the DEA began at Sam Houston State University, where he had the unique experience of obtaining a degree and attending a police academy simultaneously. Upon graduation, he went to work for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer, a position he held for 18 months before becoming a deputy.

“You grow up real fast,” said Lott. “You are in a hostile environment with people who have made bad decisions. You learn the criminal mind because there is such a concentrated population. You learn to communicate with all kinds of people, and you become hyper-aware of how they react to things.”

Lott also spent several years on patrol in East Montgomery County, a rough and tumble area in the county. He learned about life on the streets and befriended a Texas State Trooper, who encouraged him to join the Department of Public Safety. He said the State Trooper Training Academy was a life-changing experience.

“Physically and mentally, they take you to the edge,” said Lott. “They take you to the edge of whether you will be able to handle what is out there. After all, you are a man in one car on long and lonely stretches of highway.”

Lott spent four years as a trooper patrolling in Laredo and in South Montgomery County. He served on the Civil Disturbance Team, an elite group assigned to large event in the state, including Mardi Gras in Galveston and contentious executions on Death Row in Huntsville.

Lott worked narcotics as part of his regular duties and when he began researching the federal system, the DEA fit the bill. It was a two year process to get hired because of the backlog in background investigation.
“It is very helpful to be employed during this time,” Lott said.

Lott credits Sam Houston State University with lighting the fire for criminal justice. He also said that the College of Criminal Justice is “well-known and well-respected in the field.”

“When I was at the DEA academy, my roommate was from John Jay College of Criminal Justice,” said Lott. “He had heard of SHSU. It is a well-known program. At the time, I didn’t know how prestigious the college is.”

Member of The Texas State University System