Hope, Ark., Police Chief J.R. Wilson recently attended the FBI National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia.

Internationally known for its academic excellence, the National Academy Program, offers ten weeks of advanced communication, leadership, and fitness training for selected officers having proven records as professionals within their agencies.

From January 9 through March 17, Chief Wilson attended the academy. During the 10 week program, Wilson earned 9 Master’s credit hours and 6 bachelorette hours.  Courses included Employment Law, Constitutional Law and Policing, Legal Issues Impacting Law Enforcement Officials, Psychology of Leadership and Leadership in Advanced Investigative Strategies for Violent Crime.

Training for the program was provided by the FBI Academy instructional staff, Special Agents, and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise.

All students were required to participate in enrichment seminars, a mandatory nutritional and physical fitness program and participate in weekly physical challenges.  The challenges culminated in a 6.1 mile run, 3 miles of which was participation in the Marine Corp Officer Candidate School obstacle course.  All challenges were named after themes from the Wizard of Oz.  Upon the successful completion of all challenges, students were awarded the Yellow Brick Road award.

Two hundred and twenty-seven Law enforcement officers graduated the 267th session of the FBI National Academy Program.  The 267th Session of the National Academy consisted of men and women from 48 states, the District of Columbia, 25 international countries, three military organizations, and eight federal civilian organizations.  The session was divided into 5 sections of approximately 45 students each.  Chief Wilson was selected as the section 1 class representative.  On average, students have 21 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions.

FBI Director James Comey was the principal speaker at the ceremony and Shaquille O’Neal was in attendance. Since 1972, National Academy students have been able to earn undergraduate and graduate credits from the University of Virginia due to the accreditation by the university of the many courses offered.

A total of 49,913 graduates now represent the alumni of the FBI National Academy since it began in 1935.  It is estimated that out of the 17,000 plus law enforcement agencies in the United States with somewhere around 800,000 Officers at any given time, approximately 1 percent of law Enforcement Officers are able to attend the National Academy during their careers.