Weatherford Police Department Sgt. Jason Hayes is planning to participate in the FBI’s National Academy starting next month.

The academy, which has been ongoing since 1935, is a 10-week program and professional course for U.S. and international law enforcement managers, according to the FBI’s website. Coursework in the program includes intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication and forensic science. The courses take place at the FBI campus in Quantico, Virginia.

Hayes said being accepted into the academy is an honor.

“It is kind of difficult to get in, especially when you’re a sergeant, you have to jump through a few more hoops to get in there,” Hayes said. “Luckily, with the assistance of all the upper-level leadership, I was able to get in there and get accepted.”

There were several steps Hayes had to take to be accepted. He needed to submit a letter of recommendation from the command staff and a resume, make sure his immunizations were up to date and prove he could run a mile in under 10 minutes.

A department’s previous participation in the academy was also taken into account, Hayes said, and WPD hadn’t sent an officer to the academy since 2007.

Hayes said he’ll be taking graduate-level courses in the academy, including some related to drug enforcement, leadership and dealing with critical incidents and handling media.

“The things that I learn will hopefully be beneficial to this agency in the long run in many aspects,” Hayes said. 

The academy runs from Oct. 7 to Dec. 20, Hayes said. 

Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas Executive Director Charley Wilkison said the academy’s training is recognized as “top of the line,” and it’s an achievement to be selected. 

Texas police officers are highly trained compared to the rest of the country, Wilkison said. Often, the state legislature will add more training to keep police up to current standards. More training, in general, can increase the value of an officer’s job, which can also lead to increases in pay and benefits and attracts more qualified peace officer candidates.

“Training, in summation, is the real predicate to professional standards, and professional standards is how you get better officers that represent the profession well, represent the department well and do a good job,” Wilkison said.

WPD Chief Lance Arnold said the department is focused on growing the skills of future leaders. As other examples of this, Arnold mentioned that Sgt. Stewart Chalmers graduating from the Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command in April and Sgt. Joe Hopkins attending the Leadership Command College at the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas at Sam Houston University next year.

“We are very proud of Jason for being nominated and selected to attend the prestigious FBI National Academy,” Arnold said. “Graduates of the 10-week course of study represent less than 1 percent of our country’s law enforcement officers. Jason will have the opportunity to come back as a better leader, husband and father which in turn only strengthens our ability to further our mission of enriching our community. We are committed to growing our servant leaders and future leaders from within knowing that it improves us all.”

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