National Academy Wrap-Up: Good to be home
December 28, 2012
The research papers are done and the tests all taken. The 260+ members of Session 251 at the FBI National Academy graduated on December 14 and separated to return to our families and work. I planned to write this final post about my experiences at the National Academy, but have been procrastinating. My tardiness may be because I have been busy since I returned, getting reacquainted with my family, friends, and co-workers, but it may also be because I enjoyed my time in Quantico so much and don’t want to think about writing leave it too far behind me.
I returned home for the first time in 11 weeks on the night of December 14. This was the longest separation I have had from my family, and it was wonderful to walk through my front door again and be with them again. Their support made the entire experience possible for me and I will always appreciate their love and sacrifice. Even my dog remembered me and was excited to see me! A few days later I went back to work in my new position as a Captain. The Department held a promotion and swearing-in ceremony on Monday, December 17 at City Hall. The Chief swore in three young men as new Police Officers and our Personnel Services Team introduced one new Communications Dispatcher and one new Police Technician. Three Police Officers were promoted to the rank of Sergeant, three Sergeants promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and I became a Captain. The ceremony was the best I’ve seen at the Santa Rosa Police Department and it was great to see the Council Chambers filled with family and friends. I can’t think of a better way to return home.
I can’t think of much to say about the experience at the National Academy that I haven’t posted before. The FBI puts on an outstanding program with the National Academy. Every FBI employee I met, from the Special Agents and civilian employees here in California, to the staff at the FBI Academy treated us very well. I am proud to partner with them and look forward to continuing the great relationships we have formed here and in Quantico. There were many positives about the National Academy experience, but the greatest benefit was the relationship building that went on in the classrooms, the dorms, the athletic facilities, and on our weekend trips. I have come home a much richer person thanks to the many friendships I formed during my time away. I met some truly impressive law enforcement professionals from almost every state in the nation and 29 foreign countries. As I suspected, as soon as I drove away from the Academy I started missing my new friends. I learned as much or more from them as from the formal instruction in my classes, and while I may not get to see them as frequently as I would like, I know that we will continue to share our successes and failures as we work on the issues and challenges facing law enforcement over the next decade.
Now that the NA experience is over, I am looking forward to my new challenges and opportunities at the Santa Rosa Police Department. I am very thankful to Chief Schwedhelm for allowing me to attend the NA, and to my co-workers for taking on my workload while I was gone. I found the NA to be an excellent experience on several levels, and appreciate the opportunity I was given. As I wrote in an earlier post, the Santa Rosa Police Department had not sent anyone in over a decade, so one of my goals in attending was to open that door again and represent our department well so that others from Santa Rosa will have to opportunity to attend future sessions. I believe our continued attendance in programs like the National Academy and Command College helps us grow as leaders and better serve our community.
Thanks for reading. I hope my posts have helped others understand the National Academy and my experiences there.
– Captain Craig Schwartz
Captain Schwartz has been posting during his experience at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. This is his last post.