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'It's been a great career': Longtime Cleveland FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson-Gregg prepares to retire next week

Anderson-Gregg has worked in Cleveland's FBI office for 22 1/2 years, including the last decade as PIO.

CLEVELAND — She's been the face of Cleveland's FBI office for a decade, and a special agent negotiating with hostages for years before that.

But next week, Vicki Anderson-Gregg will retire, ready for a quieter next chapter.

"It's been a great career for 22 1/2 years, and I've been right here in Cleveland the whole time," she told 3News’ Sara Shookman in an interview Thursday.

Anderson-Gregg didn't grow up dreaming of being an FBI agent, but after studying psychology was intrigued by its role in the criminal world.

"I thought, 'You know, the FBI would be a cool adventure,'" she said. "Of course, I had watched all the movies like everybody else had and thought I'd be going to the behavioral unit, and I threw my application in and it was a process."

After three years of background checks and tests -- with a government hiring freeze thrown in -- she began training at Quantico. Then, the West Virginia native was assigned to Cleveland and the white collar squad.

"There were all kinds of cases," she remembered. "With my psych background, I was always involved with missing kids or any kind of behavioral kind of avenue I tried to get involved with. I was also a hostage negotiator and I was on the evidence response team. I tried to get involved in everything I could."

As the public information officer for the last decade, she's briefed the media and the public on hundreds of Northern Ohio cases. There's one that is always top of mind.

"There's nothing that could top the escape of the girls [Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight]," she said. "We'd been looking for them for years, so you know, all we had were pictures, and we knew of their families. And here they are, so it was quite an ordeal, quite an experience, and I just feel very honored to have met them."

Vicki's been an advocate for the missing and for healthy living. She's a cancer survivor, whose daughter was born in the midst of her battle in early 2007. She only recently shared with now-14-year-old Audrey the whole story.

"I said, 'You know, you're just truly a miracle that you're here and that I'm here,'" she recalled. "I think she gave me the hope, and again, my husband [was] there the whole way. I look back on it, it seems like a blur. But it did happen and I'm blessed for coming through like I have and [to] have the things that I do now."

Now, she says, it’s time to spend more time with family.

"I have a teenager now," she said. "My husband was a former special agent also, so he totally has understood all along the way and he's retired. So we're going to enjoy our teenager through those wonderful teenage years, and we have a rental property business.

"Hopefully [we] enjoy the beach and whatever else I want to do, and just not have a phone ring in all the time."

Anderson-Gregg encourages aspiring law enforcement leaders to "hush and learn" from experience.

"You learn from everybody," she said of her own time at the bureau. "I don't think there's one mentor. You learn from all of them, and it's been a great career. It's been a lot of fun. … I thank Cleveland and all of Northern Ohio for the opportunity that I've been given."

Anderson-Gregg's last day with the bureau is Dec. 22. Her replacement has not been publicly named.

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