Centralia Police Commander Heads to FBI National Academy

By Natalie Johnson / njohnson@chronline.com

Starting next month, Commander Stacy Denham of the Centralia Police Department will be one of four law enforcement officers from Washington and about 250 officers worldwide to head to Quantico, Virginia, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy. 

“For me, it’s going to be a growing experience,” Denham said. 

The FBI National Academy is a course of study set at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and designed for law enforcement officers in leadership positions.

The academy is typically a 10-week-long event, but the academy starting in October will last 11 weeks because of time off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Denham said. 

For each academy, states have a set number of officers they can send based on population. International law enforcement officers also participate. 

While at the academy, officers take courses for undergraduate or graduate college credit. 

“Classes are offered in the following areas: law, behavioral science, forensic science, understanding terrorism/terrorist mindsets, leadership, communication, and health/fitness,” according to the FBI National Academy’s website. “Officers participate in a wide range of leadership and specialized training, where they share ideas, techniques, and experiences with each other, creating lifelong partnerships that transcend state and national borders.”

Denham said each participant takes six courses while at the academy. Some, like one concerning health and fitness, are mandatory, while participants can pick other classes from a number of options. 

“I’m actually excited about the health and nutrition (course),” he said.

Participants stay at dorms at the academy. In addition to classes, they also have downtime for study and access to guest speakers.

Centralia Police Chief Carl Nielsen attended the academy in 2012. 

“Probably the best thing out of it is the friendships and connections (made) around the world,” he said. “You take away lifelong friends and experiences.

Nielsen said the academy is a valuable program and an opportunity few officers will have in their careers. 

“It’s a prestigious thing because not everyone can attend,” he said. “There are chiefs and sheriffs who will never attend.”

The cost of the academy is covered by the FBI, Nielsen said. Denham and other participants will be able to go on guided outings in the area on weekends, but will have to pay for those themselves. 

For more information about the FBI National Academy, go to www.fbi.gov/services/training-academy/national-academy.