While Mustang Police Chief Robert Groseclose was the sole Oklahoma candidate selected to attend the FBI National Academy, it may not happen at all next year.
The academy was canceled Tuesday until further notice.
Although he would miss his wife and police department, Groseclose said he was excited to soon be packing his bags to head to Quantico, Virginia, the FBI’s headquarters.
The academy’s sessions were scheduled to begin Jan. 4 and last until March 15. It was originally scheduled in March, but when the pandemic hit, the sessions were canceled.
Groseclose was nominated by Mustang City Man-ager Tim Rooney four years ago to attend the academy’s trainings.
“We discussed it kind of as a career goal,” said Groseclose.
Oklahoma typically sends two law enforcement chiefs or managers per session. The academy normally has two to three sessions a year, Groseclose said.
The Jan. 4-March 15 session was going to be the first session since COVID-19 arrived in the U.S.
“It’s going to be significantly smaller and different than it has been in the past,” Groseclose said. “The training will be the same, and it’ll be kind of a different environment.”
Normally, the trainings are hosted at the academy; however, because of COVID-19, they would have been at a conference center located several miles from the headquarters. Groseclose said he would have to pass through COVID-19 protocols before entering the facility.
The chief had enrolled in six master-level classes, including:
• essentials for law enforcement executives;
• managing the law enforcement image;
• stress management in law enforcement;
• critical incident leadership — crisis negotiations;
• advanced concepts of wellness and vitality in law enforcement; and
• fitness in law enforcement.
Once completed, Groseclose would have 18 hours toward a master’s degree at the University of Virginia.
Typically, the academy has about 250 people in each session, however, for social distancing measures Groseclose said there would be about 75. He said he would be in class from sunup to sundown.
The FBI pays for the sessions, and the City of Mustang pays for the chief’s travel and uniforms.
According to the National Academy’s website, the academy is a “professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated by their agency heads because of demonstrated leadership qualities.”
Candidates can be managers of local, county, state, tribal, military, federal and international law enforcement agencies. Their qualifications include:
• be a full-time officer with at least five years of experience;
• be at least 25 years old;
• be physically fit with continuous use of firearms; and
• have character and integrity;
• find law enforcement as a public service, exhibit leadership qualities and respect fellow officers;
• have 60 college credit hours and;
• agree to remain in law enforcement for at least three years after graduating from the academy.
The program offers training courses in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication and forensic science. There are undergraduate and graduate classes.
Nominees also participate in strenuous fitness challenges, such as the “Yellow Brick Road.” The 6.1-mile run through a hilly and wooded trail, which was built by Marines, is the final test as part of the fitness course.
Along the route, participants must climb over walls, run through creeks, crawl under barbed wire, maneuver across a cargo net and more. If they complete the course, they receive a yellow brick for their achievement.
The challenge was established in 1981, and has since evolved with the giving of the yellow brick in 1988.
As a whole, the academy began in 1935 after a study by the Wickersham Commission — the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement — was published in 1930. The study examined the criminal justice system and recommended centralized training of U.S. law enforcement departments.
The FBI Police Training School was then born.
Courses at that time revolved around aspects of criminal investigations. After World War II, espionage and sabotage courses were added.