Jacksonville, FL (May 31, 2019) – This spring, Councilman Becton was selected out of over 100 plus applications to have the opportunity to participate in the 2019 FBI Jacksonville Division Citizens Academy along with 36 fellow citizens within the Jacksonville area.
The purpose of the FBI Citizens Academy is to foster a greater understanding of the FBI’s mission and in turn, learn more about the communities they serve. During weekly meetings, the academy provides participants presentations, demonstrations and discussions that outline the FBI’s investigative priorities and explore the work of their counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, white collar crime, cyber units and more.
Graduates of the FBI Citizens Academy go on to serve as ambassadors in the community, and many join the FBI Jacksonville Citizens Academy Alumni Association upon graduation. This group actively assists the FBI’s outreach unit in the promotion of FBI crime-prevention programs for children and adults throughout the community.
The classes for the 2019 sessions began April 25th and lasted for 7 weeks on each Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
“This opportunity to go behind the scene of the FBI was a fantastic experience,” Councilman Becton explained. “These professionals within our community are extremely committed to their mission for which they serve and it was very interesting getting to hear their stories and to see what it takes to do this job.”
The FBI Citizens Academy is a by invitation only and participates are selected by and from nominations from previous graduate members, former or present FBI employees, and individuals who self-nominate. The deadline for the 2019 class was January 15, 2019.
“A great way to make connections and create a pathway for nomination is through the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Sheriffs Watch program of the City of Jacksonville,” Councilman Becton said. “Sheriff Watch meetings are once a month and for Zone 3 which makes up all or parts of city Council Districts 11, 6, 5 and 4 within the city of Jacksonville, you meet many of the graduates from former classes and develop relationships that can help in this endeavor.”
Qualified nominees submitting applications must be in good standing in the community and meet the following criteria:
- A recognized business, religious, or community leader.
- Live and/or work within the Division’s jurisdiction.
- Minimum 18 years of age.
- No prior felony or serious misdemeanor convictions.
- No misdemeanor arrests within one year of application.
- Must consent to a limited background check.
- Agree to attend all sessions (Dates TBA in advance of commitment by nominee)
The nomination form must include a narrative stating of the reasons for which a person is being nominated.
I learned a great deal about the FBI and their mission,” Councilman Becton said. “Understanding how this Federal Agency works with our local law enforcement on a state and city level was beneficial, especially to see and understanding how the coordination works and that these agencies are interconnected without territorial conflicts provided insight of a higher appreciation.”
The final class of the 2019 term was not only a graduation of sorts but was held at the FBI Firing Range in St. Johns County where members were actually allowed to fire FBI issued hand guns, rifles, automatic weapons and to see demonstrations of hostage and terrorism activities and a live explosion of c4 which we hear about unfortunately on the news and those law TV shows.
“This was a fantastic experience for which gave me a heighten appreciation of the FBI and the role that they play in law enforcement and our community.” Councilman Becton acknowledged. “I certainly met a lot of great people within the class and working for the agency that these relations will continue for years to come.”
In addition, for all graduates, the FBI hosts a once a year trip and tour of their Washington DC Headquarters and training center in Quantico, Va. Only approximately 14 spots are typically available and it is considered a once in a life time opportunity. The trip expenses are up to each individual to plan and pay for airfare, hotel, meals and miscellaneous. Selected member will be picked up at FBI Headquarters, shuttled to and from Quantico, VA with no special stops being accommodated. The 2019 trip is in September of this year based on a first come, first serve basis.
Schedule for this year:
- Tuesday OPTIONAL – Dinner, Old Ebbitt Grill, Time TBD
- Wednesday ALL DAY – FBI Academy at Quantico
- Thursday AM – FBI HQ (Depart by 1 PM)
- Thursday PM OPTIONAL – Lunch, Pentagon 9/11 Memorial / TBD
- Friday OPTIONAL – Capitol / Supreme Court / TBD