My Training in the FBI Citizens Academy
One of my 2015 highlights was my participation in the Academy of New York Field Office of the FBI citizens. I graduated last November and today, I am proud to be an ambassador for the FBI for the community of the luxury hotel in New York.
James Comey, FBI Director communicated to each of us in a letter that accompanied our graduation certificate. He wrote:
Beyond serving as Ambassador of the Bureau, I would ask you to do three things as citizens Academy Graduate. First remains a role model in your community and a leader in their chosen field. Secondly, please recommend your colleagues to us for the Citizens’ Academy program, so that even more people can benefit from this experience. And thirdly, please join the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, which promotes safer communities through community service projects focusing on the mission of the FBI.
About FBI Citizens Academy:
The FBI Citizens Academy currently houses along its 56 offices in the US and abroad. They have provided these kinds of training civilians for more than 20 years ago.
As I understand it, the purpose of this outreach program is multi – level. There is so much error generated by Hollywood movies and the media it is important to help unravel the mystique of the FBI interested civilians, providing an in-depth view of all operations of the Office. Graduates get to know the real FBI. FBI Citizens Academy also generates greater awareness and a deeper appreciation of how the Office investigates crimes and threats to national security of the United States. And perhaps most importantly, strengthening the bridge between the FBI and the local communities in which the Field Office is based.
Formation of the FBI Academy citizen also includes classes of firearms, fingerprints and even lectures on survival during active shooting situations.
Local office in New York City Academy 2015:
Our class consisted of 30 students, all of which represent diverse backgrounds ranging from government, private security, the media, the right to real estate and more.
Usually there is a single representative or leader, of their respective communities in each class. We meet every Tuesday night for 3 hours at FBI headquarters in New York where they have an incredible training facility on the premises.
To enter the building, we had to go through a few checkpoints and had to leave our cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices securely to the end of the class.
In the evening always starts with optional group dinner at 5:30 pm. These dinners were great opportunities for everyone to know each other through 8 weeks. Different students had volunteered to donate dinners and desserts, which was very generous of them. Each class also received ‘gifts’ bit. One of my favorites was a baseball cap FBI was gifted to us by a former graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy Field Office in New York.
The classes began on time at 6 pm., Followed by a short coffee break at 7 pm. The content was very informative, and sometimes quite dense. During the classes, we want to listen to presentations by ASACs (special agents in charge) of the various divisions of the FBI. To describe the different responsibilities of their squads and the challenges they face daily. It was fascinating. We learned about the different divisions of fraud, such as cybernetics, health and Securities and trafficking crimes and human hatred. We also cover the criminal courts that focused on the themes of the five Mafia families in New York assets, as well as other ethnic organized crime groups. And, of course, we learned about fighting terrorism.
The famous author Jack Garcia spoke at the FBI Citizen Academy
During a class that had a guest named Jack Garcia. Jack is the author of Making Jack Falcone, a book about his work as an undercover FBI agent who posed as the owner of a striptease bar mafia. His work led to several arrests of key figures of the Mafia.
Jack stories had us on the edge of our seats as we listened to him tell us about the high-risk times in which nearly lost the cover and put their lives at high risk. Once the case was closed, Jack revealed his true identity. It was very interesting to hear how many of the guys in the mob could not understand how it was that Jack was actually an undercover agent. We have heard that some of them even cried when they heard the news because they were so shattered by the strong bond that had grown between them.
These days Jack confesses to avoid certain places in Little Italy and other places favored meeting of the Mafia in New York. He just does not want to ” scrub ” them and seems to respect that fact and leave him alone . I think he still has his own bodyguard however.
Each of us received a copy of the book Jack autographs . I hope to read soon.
After completing the course , we had a formal graduation ceremony at the Thompson Reuters building. Catering donated a delicious meal and wine for us to celebrate the occasion . We were allowed to invite a few guests to attend graduation. Diego Rodríguez , Assistant Director in Charge of New York , personally gave each of us a personalized certificate beautiful leather binding , as well as a letter signed by James Comey , FBI Director . The entire city of New York ASACS also attended the event . Two policemen FBI presented the American flag and pledged our allegiance to the United States.
Next steps for us:
As James Comey urged us in his letter, graduates of the FBI Citizen’s Academy can join a local FBI non-for-profit alumni association. There are over 60 of these Associations in the USA. Their mission is support the FBI thru volunteer community action. The first event that we could volunteer for in our community was Operation Santa at JFK Airport. I volunteered to give toys to the underprivileged and handicapped children there and I wrote about it here.
I look forward to being in touch with my class and to new experiences with the FBI Citizens Academy.