Thursday, October 3, 2013

Quantico Days 2-3

SHUT DOWN…. What kind of luck is this? Because of the political in-fighting just 40 miles away in D.C. we are stuck in a “holding pattern” described by our staff as a “Tactical Deferral” I’ve heard it described a lot more “colorfully” by my suite mate from Philadelphia (but I can’t print that)

Section 3 met in our “Home-Room” (yep, just like in high school) and listened to our limited options. We can go a few days and get some of the many “housekeeping” items done that didn’t require classwork such as Class Photos and Committee Assignments. I volunteered to the “Law Enforcement Memorial” Committee as we are due to tour this somber memorial in 2 weeks. Most students are glued to their laptops or PDA’s hoping for some kind of breakthrough. We have 24 students from other countries that can’t just “drive home for the weekend” so we get together in our Sections and “huddle up”

The FBI and University Of Virginia co-sponsor this course with the Instructors being Special Agents, being “vetted” and accredited through UV. So…quick decisions aren’t going to happen. They “gave us the day off” to do as we wish, exercise, laundry or “on our own” as a good deal of their staff were sent home.

Suleyman HANCERLI, Branch Chief of the Turkish National Police, was looking around as were most of the International Students trying to figure out why we were stopping because “our government was arguing.”   I tried unsuccessfully to explain, then after failing said “hey lets go get our groceries!” My car quickly filled as International students have no vehicles. We took my car to the ‘Marine version” of Walmart and picked up supplies. Suleyman  (pronounced Sue-lee-mahn) proudly explained that his name meant “Soloman” in our language and even more proudly, that he was names after “SOLOMAN” whom conquered the ancient OTTOMAN Empire.  We aptly nicknamed him “Sully” which he immediately disliked!  but it stuck.. We spent the day, traveling, dining and exercising with other foreign students such as Gatis Zvirbulis of the Lavtian Security Police and Andrew from Uganda whom I found has a city of 10 MILLION under his watch. Wow! (and I thought I had problems!)

Last night (Tuesday) we had an assembly where we strategized if/when this might be resolved and if/when it wasn’t at what point do we disband and return home. The FBI handlers, although extremely remorseful and optimistic had little encouragement as to how we would resolve without FBI Instructors and Medical Staff on site. Questions were posed and suggestions made from the gallery of 250 Law enforcement executives from around the world.

In the true spirit of police responding to adversity (not caused by themselves) and figuring a solution of their own, someone from the Ukraine made the suggestion to the FBI handlers.

“Sir, we are all some of Law Enforcement’s most elite, educated and professional officers in the world, most having advanced degrees, many with much more than our scheduled instructors. Why, do or can’t we teach our own curriculum? (approved by FBI) We each have a unique and necessary skill or niche’  we could bring to the table.” Sayesh (from Pakistan) offered to teach an advanced course of Terrorism, Suicide Bombers and mindset of Terrorists. It was wildly received by all and immediately stunned the FBI staff whom, although taken aback by the suggestion, liked the idea.

“I will have to pass it up the chain for approval by my superiors in D.C.”   uh oh…. Here we go….

Monday, September 30, 2013

Diary of a Sheriff in Training.. Day One!

Quantico VA 09/29/2013

Diary of a Sheriff in Training..

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…hmmm

For 20 years I wanted to come to this elite academy, filling out extensive applications, submitting to my superiors whom forwarded to the sheriffs (at the time) only to have them languish on their desks and fall by the wayside for lack of submission by our sheriff. New sheriff came into office? same process, same success…

So 20 years later, the “submission” made it to FBI and here I sit in Quantico VA, in a dorm room / 4 person ‘”Suite” (two bedrooms w twin beds, sharing one common bathroom) my “Suitemates” are from VA, Philly, and DC

Today we found our way around this massive 13 building government complex. Each building is connected by “Gerbil Tunnels” that is about as confusing as the tax code. Trying to navigate this place reminds me of the mice/cheese/ maze…

213 students, 24 countries including, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Latvia, Costa Rica, Russia and Uganda.

We are grouped into 4 “Sections” of 50-ish people 

I am in Section 3, today we are told of our impending “Fitness Challenge” where we are slated to go through a series of physical fitness obstacles to determine if we may continue further into the program or be dismissed. We are told we will be “running” with our section (3) in my case together. We are also told to “run together” and to keep pace with the leader of our run group…I gazed around our class and saw the guy behind me… 

Tall, lanky and lean, his name was “Antionio Degemkee” I spoke to him and inquired of his heritage.. as we say in the south “hey man, where you from?”  “Uganda”….. he answered.. my heart sank, then I asked the question, that I already knew the answer to.. “do you run a lot?” He said “everywhere”….Great! I thought about kicking his ankle…

Tomorrow… the journey begins…