I talk a lot about networking and research and joining writers’ groups. Well, here’s an example, last Thursday, I toured the FBI Academy. (Of course, I then had to bust it home to get my daughter to a swim meet where I had to work as a parent volunteer.) But the info I took in was worth the rushing around and I would have never gotten this invitation had I not been a part of a local writers’ group where I met a retired FBI Special Agent.
Anyway, the FBI Academy tour (not to be confused with the actual Headquarters which no longer gives tours) was phenominal! Highly recommend it.
Here are some quick highlights.
The Academy located on the Quantico Marine Base in Northern VA. The base spreads over 60,ooo acres of gorgeous woodlands and rolling hills. The FBI gets to use about 600 of those acres for their Academy, the National Academy, the Hostage Recovery Unit and their famous crime lab. The tour, given by Special Agent Kurt, lasted about three hours and was easily one of the best, most informative tours I’ve ever completed.
The Academy is where all new agents train. Special agents account for over 13,000 of the FBIs employees, special agent being just one of the 600 various job titles in the FBI. New agents attend the Academy for 20 weeks learning everything from count-terrorism to fire arms to driving skills. It is physically and mentally demanding. I was able to see new agents in a Defensive Tactics course. They use rubber guns to train with and actually practice saying “Stop! FBI!”
Here are pictures of the famous Hogan’s Alley where they role play investigations. I was surprised at the size of it. There’s even a pretend used car lot.
Behind Hogan’s Alley is the crime lab which is enormous!
The FBI Academy is the top police academy in the world. But also there is the National Academy. Two hundred fifty local and foreign police officers come to this program each year. This is a shorter program (10 weeks), run by the FBI, which trains officers (lt grade and higher), sheriffs, military police and other law enforcement agencies. And you can’t apply. You must be nominated to this program to attend. At the end, they run a Marine built fitness course called the “Yellow Brick Road.” Looked pretty brutal.