Thursday, March 21, 2013


Tomorrow is the finale of the 10 week program.  Graduation and goodbyes begin at 1000.  I’m glad its over, but I already miss some of my friends I made down there in Quantico over 10 weeks. We all hope to stay in touch and I’m confident that we will in one way or another. The cities, counties and states these fine men and women work for are in good hands with these top drawer people!

Tuesday night saw one final meeting in the Boardroom.  The karaoke was the best (and worst) of the session!  A lot of goodbyes were started early as by Wednesday night most students had moved out of the dorms and into hotels as their families have arrived. 

It has been a long 10 did go by “fast”, however 10 weeks away from home is 10 weeks.  I thank my wife and family for the support and handling things on the home front, as well as my co-workers in La Vista. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Week 9 Done...1 more week to go!!

Week 9 has come and gone.  Most classes are wrapping up with final tests and presentations pretty much all that's left.  Monday will be the final physical assessment in PT to determine what level of improvement resulted from the past 10 weeks.  I have no doubt that most of the class improved in muscle mass.  I won't be surprised if most gained weight, most likely good weight, however, a high concentration of barley hops may be present in many. 
The Yellow Brick Road obstacle course was postponed from Tuesday to yesterday due to the Marines needing to use the course.  Our section, 4, had PT on Thursday.  Pain Master O'Malley didn't pass up the opportunity to put us through a final round of medieval torture as he had a 1:30 minute circuit with 6 stations. 1:30 full out, rest 15 seconds as you get to the next station, and there you go again.  This was followed by leg stretching using a band.  My legs have never been stretched in such a way.  I woke up at midnight with leg cramps.  The stretching was good stuff and something I'll do at home once my body recovers from the abuse it has taken over the past 10 weeks. 
The YBR course began at 0900 with a temperature of 29 degrees.  You get off the bus and off you go into the woods for 3 miles.  It is best described as a military trail hike with obstacles.  The biggest obstacle to me was trying to avoid the mud puddles and tree roots throughout the forest.  One classmate was taken to the hospital after he split his elbow open on the jagged rock climb.  Word on the street was he had to get 9 staples to close the wound and has some shoulder issues.  One other guy tweaked a knee.  Once you get out of the woods you pop out next to the Marine Corps officer training base.  They had training going on and when we were in the woods the sound of explosions and gunfire really made for some good ambiance.  Once off the trail, three of us made 3 mile the trek back to the finish line. One interesting fact...we have two Marines in our class, and since this is a USMC course, both are required to be in USMC gear whenever on the course so they had to run the course with Marine equipment on.  Here's to them!!!!   It was a fun and challenging finale to the PT program. 
Dinner was with a great group of 10 or so guys at a steakhouse in Price William County followed by a dose of Advil for the sore legs. 
Forensics class on Thursday had a presentation on the JonBenet Ramsey case.  The presenter was a former Boulder detective assigned to the case. In my opinion, there was a terrible response by a couple Boulder cops that screwed the crime scene up, but the investigative work was outstanding.  Based on the evidence and case work, there's no doubt in my mind who was involved with murdering the 6 year old girl.  How John and Patsy Ramsey were not prosecuted is a mystery to me.  After 16 years, you could still see how bitter and disgusted the detective feels about how justice was never served in this case.  Patsy is dead, however, her millionaire husband still roams free.  The evidence shows how they did it and how they staged the scene.  The little girl deserved justice.  One of the grand jurors spoke out in January of this year and said the grand jury voted to indict both of them but the Boulder District Attorney declined.  Shame on him.
Families will begin to arrive on Wednesday in advance of the Friday graduation.  Amazing how big of a deal this is here.  The FBI had to have a guest list early on in order to do security checks on attendees.  Tickets are needed for graduation admittance as seats are limited.  They do run a tight ship here which to me is impressive.
I hope they start selling Yuengling in Omaha sometime soon!!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Failure to Communicate

One of the things that needs to be improved at the  NA is communication. There has been several law enforcement officers killed and seriously injured across the country during the 9 weeks I've been here that have had connections to classmates here, however, the only way to find out about the incidents are word of mouth or watching/reading the news.  I'm an avid reader of numerous newspapers and Sunday  night I read that two Middlefield, Ohio police officers were shot on a traffic stop.  They returned fire and killed the suspect.  One of my classmates is a Middlefield copper. Its a small department near Cleveland. It really hits home when you know someone from a department that's been affected.  
Last month the NA travelled to DC to the Peace Officers Memorial and some DC cops played the pipes and drums at the ceremony.  Well, last week one of the drummers was injured in a traffic collision on his motor in DC (controversy on this as the DC Fire Dept didn't have a rescue squad available and it took 25 minutes for one from a neighboring jurisdiction to show up.  Not good DCFD). This circle of six degrees grows every day. 
The issue for me is this type of info needs to get out to the students here. Word of mouth only goes so far. Law enforcement is a tremendous brotherhood, especially in times of crisis.  A single newsletter only goes so far. Thankfully, the network the NA experience establishes will be a great asset for all who are here.  A suggestion to the NA administration of the FBI and future NA classes...find a way to get info like the above out to the masses.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


A code red was issued today at the Marine Corps Base here at Quantico.  The red level meant the base was closed to only essential emergency personnel.  A snowstorm with an expected drop of 8-12 inches was forecast, meaning the end of the world for those in DC.  Classes were cancelled today, which thus meant the 5 mile run in our challenge series, called the“Journey to OZ”, also the last run prior to the Yellow Brick Road next week, would not be run.  It was probably a good call on the base closing as a good heavy snowfall from around 0500 to noon today hit the area.  While DC itself got mostly rain, everyone else got snow and wind gusts. About six inches fell here. 
Not to be denied, however, some classmates still were going to run the 5-miler in the snow and wind.  I was not one of those.  My roommate and I were on the way to the cardio room to run the 5 miles in the confines of a climate controlled cardio room. Ah but the best laid plans…being the cop that he is, the lobster from Maine referred to me in derogatory terms, and I then guilted my roommate so off we went into the winter wonderland. Surprisingly, the air temp was around 35 degrees, but the wind wasn’t so kind.  Our group of about 30 finished the run in under an hour.  The run sucked; however, knowing it was done and no “makeup” work was needed made it worth the while. (Several other groups also ran throughout the day…no doubt peer pressure plays a part!). I went into the gym afterward and a group of 10 had been playing basketball for about an hour. Seizing the opportunity, I was able to get a couple games in with a group of analysts that are here for a month of training. They range in age from 23-27, which means the run a lot faster. Advil is the drink of the day.
Television weather stations were all geared up for the end of the world and the blizzard of ’13, “Superstorm Saturn”, was a bust. The weather coverage is just as bad here as in Omaha…it wasn’t this way when I was a kid.  It borders on ridiculous.     

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Starting week 8

Week 8 starts tomorrow and week 8-9 is basically the end of the college classroom work, with the first 2 days of week 10 finals for those who have them.  Many classes have group presentations that should be interesting.  The Officer Involved Shooting class will have group presentations (usually 4 to a group) on a shooting someone from the group's agency was involved in.  Interesting how things are investigated differently, however the end result is usually the same.  The Forensics class presentations should be even more interesting.  That class has been the best of the bunch that I have.  I've also heard that from several classmates.  We had a lecture on blood spatter on Friday that was both graphic and educational.  This should be a required class for all.  I'd like to see how to get this into a 24 hr training class and have everyone in our department get the training.  It would be a great benefit, especially to police officers who work the street.  I'll be working on this.

The weekend was rather relaxing.  I found a spot in Fredericksburg, VA to watch the Creighton game on Saturday.  I out-numbered Wichita State fans in the place 1-0.  Kudos to the 'Jays.  An early to bed Saturday night and a late sleep in Sunday morning was well needed.  A little laundry and I'm in gear for the 5+ mile run we do on Wednesday.  The only hitch is the projected snowmaggedon that again is forecast for the area.  The I-95 corridor is the alleged dividing line between heavy snow and "less heavy" according to the weather procrastinators.  I would imagine if the Academy is open on Wednesday we'll be running.  I think they should make that run "self-study" and have us do it on a treadmill.

I had dinner on Friday in the chow hall with a guy from Lebanon.  Very interesting to hear about that country and the issues they face.  Interesting to hear how American foreign policy is received there.  He had some good points and questions.  I wish him well upon his return.  Amazing the things he has to worry about and here I am still worried if Taylor Martinez can develop as a QB any more after 4 years (probably not).  Spring practice has begun in Lincoln.

The craziness of America continues to hit around here.  An Alexandria motor officer was shot in the head by a cab driver this past week.  Amazingly, he has a good chance of survival and recovery.  The two officers killed in Santa Cruz were known to a classmate from Capitola (CA).  One of the officers was 3 weeks from retirement.  Two additional police officers were shot, one killed, near another classmates area near Vero Beach.  I'm sure there has been more when you have 270 different agencies together. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 7 Pics

Berlin Wall

East German Guard Tower

UnaBomber's cabin

The two guys from Nebraska, me and Godfrey Brokenrope from Aurora PD 

International Night and More

Wednesday night was “International Night”, which is a night where all of the international students set up a booth to showcase their countries food, liquor, beer, gifts, etc. Some of the food good, some there was no way I was trying, such as the duck egg….eck
There was a variety of beverages at many of the booths, with the Aruba “Spider” drink a favorite.  They say International Night is one of the best nights for fun and networking and it was spot on.    I-Night ended at 8 pm.  We then had to meet in the Boardroom for a follow up meeting and additional networking.  The meeting ended at 11pm and Neil from Thunder Bay broke out his guitar and serenaded many of us in the Crossroads area for a short time.  The sound of bagpipes was heard on several dorm room floors shortly thereafter.  One thing is for sure; don’t ever let a Texan (Ed) attempt to play the ‘pipes!!!

Our media class trekked up to Washington DC on a field trip to the Newseum.  It’s a museum dedicated to the history of news, newspapers, and the like.  There was a couple sections of the Berlin Wall there along with the Shoe Bomber’s shoes and the Unabomber’s cabin (which were on loan from the FBI to the museum).  Cool stuff. The bus ride back was entertaining when Bryan from North Carolina got stuck in the john on the bus for a short time. 

Thursday classes, like every day, start at 0800.  One problem today was the fact that anyone who sampled beverages from the different countries at I-Night found out why you shouldn’t mix alcoholic beverages.  0800 came way too quick for many.  I am glad I wasn’t one who had PT at that time. 

Speaking of PT, our master-of-pain, EJ, again pushed the limits of sanity.  Today’s torture session was a set of eight (8) 400 meter runs.  You had a partner who runs a 400, then when he’s done, you run, then him, then you, etc.  A total of 8 laps for each guy.  So you run and then get about a 2 minute rest in-between laps while the other guy goes.  The trick is to attempt to run each lap near what the starting pace was (for instance I am a 1:50 per lap guy) strangely enough, you tend to get stronger later in the game. Coming off International Night, waterboarding would have been more fun.

The “challenge” on Wednesday was called the “‘Winged Monkey Assault.” About a dozen different stations are set up on the track area that worked various parts of our body.  We were on the clock for 30 minutes….the goal was to keep moving non-stop the whole time.  One more challenge to go before the Yellow Brick Road in 2 weeks.  Next week is the “Journey to Oz”, which is a 5 mile run….followed by a large dose of Advil.
The highlight of the week was today with a presentation from Lt Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police.  Paul is the public affairs officer for CSP and handled the media at the Newtown school shooting.  Hearing his insight was both interesting and educational.  Twenty children and 6 adults killed….Paul was able to clarify some things for those of us in law enforcement that honestly citizens don’t ever need to know. Horrific cannot describe what happened there.  I thought at the time of the crime Paul did a magnificent job and hearing a presentation about it from him confirmed my initial impression of him on television…professional to the core. My heart continues to go out for the families, first responders and the community of Newtown.