FBI Citizens' Academy Alums Unite
A National Network is Born
FBI Citizens’ Academy Alums Unite
Where can you find gathered in one place mayors, CEOs, religious leaders, TV news anchors, newspaper reporters, doctors, lawyers, heads of civic and cultural organizations, school superintendents, university officials, police executives, and more—all getting an inside look at the FBI and asking us plenty of hard questions?
At our FBI Citizens’ Academies, now active in each of our 56 field offices, where we invite community leaders to spend up to 10 weeks’ worth of their evenings and weekends getting to know us better.
How much better? They get in-depth briefings on our top investigative priorities: counterterrorism, counterintelligence, cyber, public corruption, and civil rights, to name a few. They learn how we investigate cases and pull together evidence. They get overviews of major local cases. They meet our agents and professional staff. They even test their shooting skills in our weapons simulator—so they can better understand the split-second decisions we must sometimes make.
How detailed are the briefings? Detailed enough that each “student” needs a security clearance to attend.
More than 5,200 community leaders have graduated from the program since it was launched in 1993. Many have stayed in touch...with each other and with us. Some have formed local alumni chapters so they can work together on initiatives to make their communities safer.
How do they keep their communities safer? Think about people learning how to protect themselves and their families from frauds and from cyber predators. Businesses protecting themselves from hackers and economic espionage. Schools and the workplace protecting themselves from violent rampages and from illegal drugs. And all citizens being alert to potential acts of terror and extremism.
The next step? Making a community of these community leaders...to exchange ideas and learn from each other—and to communicate more effectively with the FBI about specific needs in their communities.
In April, graduates from Citizens’ Academies across the country formed a National Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association (NCAAA), headed by Kansas City business leader Jerry Fogel. He said it best at the formal ceremony where the NCAAA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FBI: “Until this morning, Academy alumni had no official method of networking with each other to learn what was taking place at the various Academies throughout the country or about what issues the respective field offices were facing.”
The bottom line: Thanks to the input of our new NCAAA partners, we expect to strengthen our protection of America...at the community level.
Read more about our Citizens’ Academies and similar initiatives on our Community Outreach Program website.
Above photo: FBI public affairs exec Cassandra Chandler and NCAAA President Jerry Fogel sign the Memorandum of Understanding.