Citizens Academy

About the FBI Citizens Academy

FBI Citizens Academies have established requirements, goals, and a curriculum. Each session is open to about 25 business, civic, religious, and community leaders who have been nominated by a Bureau employee or a previous Academy attendee. These “students” must be at least 21 years old, with no prior felony convictions, and must live or work within the jurisdiction of the field office. The SAC selects the participants, who must then undergo a background investigation in order to obtain an interim security clearance.

Security clearances must be obtained because part of the curriculum covers investigative techniques used in national security and criminal investigations. Weekly classes are taught by Special Agents in Charge (SACs), Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASACs), and senior Special Agents (SAs), over a six week period. On the following Saturday, “students” are invited to participate in Range Day which covers explosive demonstrations, hands on forensics, as well as the opportunity to actually shoot the same weapons used by the FBI agents.

The graduates of our Citizens Academies enable the bureau to stay better attuned to the needs and issues of our communities, are more willing to pick up the phone and call them with information that could help solve or prevent crimes, become “ambassadors” of the FBI who dispel myths and misunderstandings about the Bureau, and often go on to join alumni chapters that work directly with the bureau on all kinds of public safety initiatives.

The standard curriculum includes:

  • Practical problems involving the collection and preservation of physical evidence.
  • FBI’s jurisdiction and congressional 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 training so participants get an idea of the extensive and responsible weapons training FBI Agents receive (also to foster an understanding of what it is like being faced with split-second, life-and-death decisions).

To find out more about Citizens Academies, contact the New Orleans field office.