St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department Captain Billy Murray is attending very special training.
Murray is at Quantico, Va., near Washington D.C., attending the FBI National Academy.
Murray said this academy is considered the “Harvard Of Law Enforcement Training.”
“Less than one half of one percent of officers throughout the nation get invited to attend,” Murray said. “I am in Session 250 and there are 271 of us representing 49 states and 24 countries. It is truly an amazing experience.”
The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement leaders that serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.
Its mission is to support, promote and enhance the personal and professional development of law enforcement leaders by preparing them for complex, dynamic and contemporary challenges through innovative techniques, facilitating excellence in education and research, and forging partnerships throughout the world.
Participation is by invitation only, though a nomination process. Participants are drawn from every state in the union, from U.S. territories, and from over 150 international partner nations.
Countries attending include Australia, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Macedonia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.
Murray said he has class from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. during the week, and has the weekends out of class.
“But the time outside the classroom is usually spent writing papers and doing other projects,” he said. “There are also several seminars and other organized activities going on all the time.”
The Yellow Brick Road
Murray also has physical training four days a week as he and others are building up to the Yellow Brick Road Challenge.
That is the final (but optional) test of the fitness challenge. It consists of a 6.1-mile grueling run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the Marines. Along the way, the participants must climb over walls, run through creeks, jump through simulated windows, scale rock faces with ropes, crawl under barbed wire in muddy water, maneuver across a cargo net and more. When (and if) the students complete this test, they receive an actual yellow brick to memorialize their achievement. The course came to be known as the “Yellow Brick Road” years ago, after the Marines placed yellow bricks at various spots to show runners the way through the wooded trail. The overall fitness challenge began at the National Academy in 1981 and has evolved over the years. They started awarding yellow bricks in 1988.