BY JOE HELLEBRAND
Attending the 197th Session of the FBI National Academy began an incredible twenty-one year journey that led me from a student in the spring of 1999, to serving as the association President in 2020/2021. It is a position that I humbly embrace, and will give my utmost effort and attention. It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve world’s strongest law enforcement leadership network, the FBINAA, and I look forward to the challenges and triumphs of the coming year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kevin Wingerson for his leadership this past year as the FBINAA President, and we look forward to Kevin’s wisdom and guidance as he will continue to serve on the board this year as the immediate Past President. I would also like to thank Johnnie Adams for his dedication and service to this Association.
Under normal circumstances, we would have met in New Orleans this summer for our annual national training conference. The pandemic made that an impossibility. Instead of folding our tents and looking forward to the conference in Orlando in 2021, as many associations did, your association continued moving forward determined to serve our members, partners and alliances. The focus was a simple one, face the challenges ahead by finding new and innovative ways to continue our mission and engage our members. Throughout the spring, we were able to develop and introduce our newest initiative, FBINAA 2020: CONNECTING LEADERS our first ever FBINAA Virtual Conference. Nearly 2,000 attendees joined us and heard from law enforcement and public safety leaders from throughout the country, as well as mental health experts who shared their leadership philosophies, experience and expertise on the most important issues affecting law enforcement around the world. We were fortunate to have had world-class keynote presenters and the continued support from our strategic partners. Attendance was impressive, particularly given the short timeframe our current environment provided.
Our plan moving forward is to continue finding ways to address current issues and challenges head on, and as evidenced by the connecting leader’s virtual event, we plan to turn many of those challenges into opportunities. The issues we face may change, but our vigilance in addressing them will not. The FBI National Academy Associates has always been committed and dedicated to providing our communities, states, countries, and profession with the highest degree of law enforcement expertise, education, and information… it is our plan to continue that tradition with passion.
As this year’s President, I can say with confidence, this association is on solid ground, it is fiscally sound, and well prepared for the future with a strategic and balanced approach. I want to assure you that your National Board and your National Office staff are working to make this Association more responsive and relevant to our members than ever before. We are only a phone call or e-mail away so please share your ideas, challenges, and suggestions with us so we can continue to make our network even stronger.
During these challenging times, some of our members may be facing hardships or periods of uncertainty, please keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Please remember that “The Helping Hands” of our Association our own FBINAA Charitable Foundation is here to lend its support. Since their inception, they have given back to our members over $220,000 and 110 college scholarships. Law Enforcement Officers tend to be a very proud group, and rarely ask for help. If you know of a member that needs assistance, regardless of the circumstances, please contact the Foundation. You can find their contact information on their website at https://fbinaafoundation.org/. All it takes is a quick phone call and help will be on the way in a matter of hours.
In closing, I would like to take a moment and personally thank our Executive Director Howard Cook and the National Staff for all of their efforts during the past six months. They are the ones behind the scenes that have kept the association on track, and moving forward. They have done an amazing job under less than ideal circumstances. Thank you.
Stay safe and stay healthy…
President FBI NAA
Director, Brevard County Sheriff's Office (FL)
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