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National Academy Associates Never Stop Learning

National Academy Associates Never Stop Learning
FBI Debriefs Investigation of MLK Day Bombing Attempt

The bomb scattered shrapnel through metal filing cabinets and human-sized dummies. Frank Harrill, FBI Seattle’s Supervisory Senior Resident Agent (SSRA) for eastern Washington, turned from the video and explained how this demo replicated the potential force of the explosive device planted at the January 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march in Spokane, Washington.

On December 2, 2011, Harrill presented to FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA) lessons learned from the investigation of the attempted parade attack. Harrill pointed out many aspects of the law enforcement response that worked well—such as the decision of the Spokane Police Department to change the routing of the march immediately after receiving word that a suspicious backpack had been reported along the planned route. Harrill also suggested ways that information flow might be optimized, should similar incidents occur in the future.

Seattle Police Department (SPD) Assistant Chief Jim Pugel at podium on stage sharing with audience observations about SPD’s experience maintaining public order during the ongoing Occupy Seattle movement.
Seattle Police Department (SPD) Assistant Chief Jim Pugel shares observations about SPD’s experience maintaining public order during the ongoing Occupy Seattle movement. In addition to Harrill and Pugel, U.S. Marshal (USM) Mark Ericks also provided training to the FBINAA at the December 2 meeting. USM Ericks provided prospective on interacting with the state legislature, based on his six years as a state representative.

This investigation debrief supports the FBINAA mission to provide FBI National Academy (NA) graduates with opportunities for continuing education, training, professional development, peer networking, and research in law enforcement disciplines. Just as the FBI selected NA participants because of their high standards in law enforcement work, the FBINAA sponsors enrichment activities and events in order to promote improved leadership, cooperation, services, efficiencies, and higher standards of professional conduct in all levels of law enforcement throughout the world.

Other training the FBINAA has hosted includes “Ethical Policing,” “A Case Study on Public Corruption,” and “Mentoring Across Gender Lines”—and that’s just in the last few months, among a whole year of events.

Membership in the Washington chapter of the FBINAA comprises 390 members, of which 55 percent are still active law enforcement officers representing 98 different agencies. Several of the retired members, even though no longer serving in a commissioned status, are still employed in law enforcement agencies.

FBI Seattle’s SSRA for northwestern Washington, Marty Prewett, speaks with FBINAA chapter officer Tim Braniff, undersheriff of Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
FBI Seattle’s SSRA for northwestern Washington, Marty Prewett, speaks with FBINAA Chapter officer Tim Braniff, undersheriff of Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Networking such as this is part of FBINAA’s mission. Outgoing Chapter president Eric Olson says that, as chief of the Kirkland Police Department, the benefit he received from FBINAA is the experience and knowledge among colleagues. “When I have questions or am trying to address an issue, I have more than 300 advisors across the state I can reach out to,” says Olson.

“The caliber of personnel the FBI has sent to the NA has been outstanding,” says FBI Seattle’s training coordinator, Special Agent Colleen Sanders. “It benefits the community to have graduates come back together through the FBINAA and continue to share their expertise with each other.”

“The networking we do at these training sessions have created partnerships that would have never existed,” says Commander Scott Child of the Kennewick Police Department. “Located in our department’s space, we now have an FBI Violent Gang Task Force that came to fruition due to contacts made through the Washington FBINAA Chapter.”

The FBINAA Washington Chapter will continue to grow because FBI Seattle each year nominates additional participants for the NA. Participants join over 250 fellow law enforcement officers from around the country and around the world for ten weeks of vigorous training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. NA students take courses focused on leadership development that emphasize critical thinking. Course offerings include legal issues, behavioral science, forensic science, law enforcement communication, and fitness. (Read more about the National Academy.)

Five Washington state law enforcement officers will attend the first of four NA sessions in 2012: Assistant Chief William Pierson, Auburn Police Department; Deputy Chief Bradley Moericke, Sumner Police Department; Commander David King, Vancouver Police Department; Sergeant Lyman Moores, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office; and Deputy Chief Carlos Echevarria Tulalip, Tribal Police Department.

Incoming NA participant, Carlos Echevarria, introduces himself to the FBINAA chapter.
Incoming NA participant Carlos Echevarria introduces himself to the FBINAA chapter. The chief of Echevarria’s department is an NA grad who “especially recommended the leadership classes,” Echevarria says. “I also look forward to keeping in touch with classmates after the academy.”

“Officers who attend the NA are given a great gift,” says NA graduate Chief Bonnie Bowers of the Anacortes Police Department, reflecting on what she would tell incoming NA participants. “I thought of my time there as a sabbatical. It was a time to recharge, gain knowledge and skills, challenge myself, and reaffirm my commitment to my department.”

“I would encourage anyone given the opportunity to go, to do so and make the most of the experience,” says Bowers.

Given the high recommendation by Bowers and many others, the incoming Washington state NA participants appear to have powerful experiences ahead of them. And given the FBINAA’s mission to continue learning and strengthening networks of colleagues, the academy itself seems to be just the beginning.

FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Laura Laughlin congratulates Youth Leadership Program member Sarah Fick.
The FBINAA is also active in promoting the development of future leaders through the Youth Leadership Program (YLP). FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Laura Laughlin congratulates Sarah Fick at the annual luncheon following the December 2 training. The FBINAA Washington chapter selected Fick among many accomplished teenaged candidates, and she represented her state at the 2011 YLP Academy at Quantico, Virginia. (Read more about the Youth Leadership Program.)