CHARLESTON -- It was years before Chad Reed got any word from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“After a three-year wait, I didn't think they would ever get to me,” he said.

Reed, the Charleston Police Department Deputy Chief, was nominated to take part in a selective FBI training program, which boasts a long waiting list.

But, he got the notice that he would be one of a class of officers selected for the FBI National Academy Program, a 10-week training program for leadership in law enforcement both at home and abroad.

Reed said it was a high honor for himself.

This made him the fourth in the history of the department to get a chance to take part in the program. According to the program’s website, participation is by invitation only, through a nomination process. The National Academy only lets in 1 percent of law enforcement, Reed said.

The deputy chief was one of several from the state to head off to take part in the program over the summer. In this session, Reed was among approximately 225 men and women from 48 states and 22 international countries to get insight and ideas to tweak existing policies in the department.

According to the program website, coursework for the officers included intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science

There he learned of tweaks the department can’t make to boost efficiencies and awareness, more from other officers in the program than through actual instruction, which might have been the point.

Coming out of the program in September, he said has already been working on tweaking internal policies to better fit the department to serve the community. He said he was most excited to bolster their messaging systems to the public through social media and press.

He said his goal is to expand the social media presence to get the right messaging out to the public.

“If you don't control the messaging that the public needs to know, that is when rumors start and inaccuracies start,” Reed said. “One thing that stuck with me is being transparent in everything that you do.”

During his trip, Reed said the biggest highlight was taking on the Yellow Brick Road, the final test of the fitness challenge. The Yellow Brick Road is a grueling 6.1-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the Marines.

“It was tough but it was fun,” he said.

If they make it through the course, they are awarded a yellow brick for completing it. Now Reed’s yellow brick is implanted on one of the shelves in his office.

According to a police, a total of 50,365 officers represent the alumni of the FBI National Academy since it began in 1935. 

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Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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