BY JEFF McCORMICK
One of the greatest strengths of the National Academy is its vast network of NA graduates. Being an NA graduate puts one into a very exclusive membership, with representatives from Local, State, and Federal Agencies throughout the United States, as well as more than 170 other Nations. And with the Graduation of Session 268 on June 7, 2017, the FBI NA now has 50,141 graduates.
After Session One in 1935, it has taken 82 years for the NA to reach its 50,000th graduate. At the current rate of attendees, it will be over 50 more years before we graduate the next 50,000th.
These numbers speak directly to the exclusivity of this network. Every one of these 50,141 graduates were not just involved in law enforcement, they were leaders within the profession. Patrolmen do not attend the National Academy; each attendee is expected to already be serving in a leadership capacity within their agency. This ensures the attendee has the requisite background, and is prepared to fully participate in discussions, adding insight from their unique experiences and perspective. This requirement both validates and ensures the NA reputation as the world-wide leader in Law Enforcement Leadership education.
As you already know, the only way to access this network of graduates is through the National Academy Associates. The nearly 17,000 active members represent the only organization of its kind; a network of Law Enforcement Leaders, who have a shared experience, formed at the FBI Academy, and perfected through the application of the values of Knowledge, Courage, and Integrity within their own Agencies.
With these thoughts in mind, I submit that candidates for the National Academy should be selected not based on who they ARE, but rather upon who they WILL BECOME.
The ideal NA candidate should not already be at the pinnacle of their career. You will recall, we ask candidates to commit to remaining in law enforcement for at least three years after graduation. Unfortunately, there are a number of students who retire from Law Enforcement within a short period of time after their attendance at the NA. This represents a lost opportunity to grow the critical network of NA graduates who are working in Law Enforcement. Each attendee who retires shortly after graduation filled a slot in his Session which could have been used by someone who would share the knowledge earned at the Academy, expand the NAA network, and carry the NA flag in their community for many years. Our goal at the FBI National Academy is for NA grads to continue to advance within their organizations, and continue to influence the Law Enforcement profession as they are identified and selected for positions of greater and more significant responsibility.
Finally, on behalf of the FBI’s Training Division, I would like to congratulate President Joey Reynolds on his retirement as Chief of the Bluffton, South Carolina, Police Department. Joey has been a tremendous leader for his Agency, the FBINAA, and Law Enforcement as a whole. Thanks, Joey for your four decades of service, and particularly the 21 years since you graduated National Academy Session 184 in 1996!
Jeffrey S. McCormick
National Academy Unit Chief
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