FBI Phoenix Citizens Academy

The FBI’s Phoenix Citizens Academy program was launched in 1993 at the FBI’s Phoenix Division by then-Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Jim Ahearn. Ahearn decided on the “Citizens Academy” model based on his experience with a local police agency with the hope of strengthening the field office’s relationship with the community.

Since inception, over 600 community, civic business, labor, media, minority, law enforcement, government, and religious leaders in Arizona have been educated about federal law enforcement issues and challenges. Nationally, over 10,000 citizens have participated through 57 Academies offered at each of the 56 Field Offices and at the National Academy (Quantico).

The goal of the Citizens Academy is to foster a greater understanding of the FBI’s role in the community through open discussion and to support the FBI’s efforts to deliver information about their role, tools, tactics, jurisdiction, and vision for the future in national law enforcement, homeland defense, and counter-terrorism on all levels.

Classes are taught by the Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASACs), and Supervisory Special Agents (SSAs), over a 8-10 week period featuring a curriculum including:

  • Practical problems involving the collection and preservation of physical evidence.
  • Fingerprint, forensic, technology, training, and other services.
  • FBI’s jurisdiction, mission, guidelines and oversight.
  • Structure and operation of an FBI field office and resident agency.
  • Services the FBI provides to local and state law enforcement agencies.
  • Discussions on ethics, discipline policies, communications, drug enforcement, civil rights, and future trends in law enforcement.
  • Firearms instruction so participants gain an understanding of the extensive training FBI Agents receive and FATS to foster an understanding of what it is like being faced with split-second, life-and-death decisions.

Who may attend?

Business, community, civic, and religious leaders are each nominated by a Bureau employee or a previous Academy graduate in the Fall for the Class the following Spring. You must be at least 21 years old (with no prior felony convictions) and must live and work in the area covered by the field office sponsoring the Academy. Please note: Because confidential techniques used in criminal and national security cases are discussed, nominees must undergo a background check and get an interim security clearance.

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