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E-Letter from America - Part 2

The Association’s NEC representative for gender, Det Supt Sam De Reya, is swapping Devon and Cornwall Police for the USA as she spends the next 10 weeks at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

She’ll be blogging her experiences for us here.


Arrival at Washington Dulles is pretty great, especially as I go through the diplomatic queue at customs (that’s a first), overtaking the seemingly miles of people waiting to get into the US.

Quantico is about 45 minutes away from the airport and 30 miles south of Washington DC, situated on a United States Marine Corp (USMC) property.

It is completely surrounded by established trees and hidden about three miles into the camp.

Security is tight to get onto the USMC camp but you know when you get to the FBI gate as the check is thorough and the taxi has to be escorted on and off the FBI Academy site by the FBI Police – yes, they have their own police force.

The buildings and surrounding area do not disappoint and are everything you would expect the FBI Academy to be.

The FBI Academy was born in 1935 and was first developed as a training facility in Quantico in 1939 specifically for US law enforcement as part of the FBI’s role to improve policing, investigation and work more inclusively with the police across the US.

It was later that they included the new FBI Agent Training at this establishment as they developed the site.

It is absolutely vast and can take 20 minutes to walk between to each lesson, the gym and the canteen.

I’m joining the 273rd Session as part of a group of 228 students from across America and the world.

I meet a designated counselor on arrival who helps me haul my luggage through the entrance and we proceed to what will be my ‘home’ for the next 10 weeks.

I will be sharing a small space with a ‘roomie’ and a bathroom with another two people in the next room.  Not luxury, but definitely comfy and at I’m at the FBI full stop!

I meet the other international students who are arriving in dribs and drabs from Barbados, France, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Peru and many more.

Everyone has a busy role in law enforcement back home and are worried about families during the time away.

Most are looking to learn, get fit and make contacts and be part of a broader police network.

I respect the international students who speak English as a second or even third language and will be studying and producing papers at degree level.

There is a storage room at the end of each corridor where previous students have left stuff you may find useful, to borrow and then put back at the end of your stay.

My finds include a side table, duvet (they call it a comforter), a lamp, and an extra pillow.  Unfortunately no kettle!!!

Don’t worry I got one the next day on a productive trip to Walmart….crisis over!

Day 2 

I can’t sleep due jetlag so get up and get to the running track.

The gym facilities are excellent and vast and include a several different gyms, areas for group training and an excellent pool and lovely clean modern changing rooms.

It’s hot but OK and I spend about 30 minutes on the track with one other person over in the distance who I can’t seem to catch.

I do really feel I am here now and this is confirmed by the huge selection of breakfast from pancakes, crispy bacon and eggs done six different ways, to paninis, fruit, pastries, cakes and cookies and salad – anything goes!  I delve in but promise myself I will not eat like this every day.

So what do the FBI agents who are acting as counsellors do with the International Students on their first day? They take them to Walmart of course!  In massive, blacked out FBI vans.