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FBI Citizens Academy

FBI Citizens Academy

The Minneapolis Division has been hosting FBI Citizens Academy classes each spring since 2005. The Citizens Academy program is designed to bring together a diverse group of business, religious, and community leaders to learn about the FBI’s work in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota and around the world. During the class sessions, FBI special agents and subject-matter experts will cover a variety of topics including international and domestic terrorism, counterintelligence and espionage, cyber crimes, violent crimes, white-collar crimes, civil rights and hate crimes, evidence response, legal matters, and a SWAT team demonstration.

The curriculum is similar to the traditional methods used at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, but geared toward non-law enforcement participants. Presentations are provided by special agents and FBI experts with a free exchange of questions and observations. The Citizens Academy works to foster greater understanding of the FBI’s role in the community through the presentations, discussions, and demonstrations. The academy also builds relationships and develops partnerships that can help reduce crime in the communities we serve.

The Citizens’ Academy alumni during a tour of the new Minneapolis FBI Headquarters building
The Citizens Academy alumni during a tour of the new Minneapolis FBI Headquarters building

Our Citizens Academy consists of multiple sessions conducted over a several-week period each spring. Citizens Academy class members also participate in a graduation ceremony and a session at the firearms range, where they view a demonstration by our SWAT (Specialized Weapons and Tactics) team and have a chance to fire the same weapons used by our agents.

In addition, we offer Citizens Academy alumni an opportunity to visit the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia for a unique tour and series of briefings from the Academy staff. Participants on this optional trip get to see how our agents are trained, visit the FBI’s Forensics Laboratory, and see where our Hostage Rescue Team trains each day. They also attend a series of presentations at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Citizens Academy alumni are responsible for their own expenses on the trip, including transportation and hotel.

The basic requirements to participate in the Citizens Academy include:

  • Being at least 21 years of age
  • Having no prior felony convictions;
  • Living and/or working within the Minneapolis Division’s jurisdiction; and
  • Passing a limited background investigation.

Citizens Academy graduates are eligible to become members of the Minneapolis FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, which works with the FBI to promote a safer community through educational and service projects.

Because of the limited number of slots for the class, the application process is competitive and applicants are asked to certify that they will attend all sessions. Successful applicants tend to be business, religious, and community leaders who provide details on their volunteer and leadership experience and an explanation of how they will use the information they learn. Participants are required to complete a background check prior to admittance.

Due to high demand, acceptance is not guaranteed. The online application period for the 2016 Minneapolis Citizens Academy is now closed.