- By Melanie Oelrich
- Published: May 1st, 2012
A class from the School of Government had the chance to visit the FBI Academy, located in Quantico, Va. Associate Dean at the School of Government Stephen Parke and his Counter-Terrorism class was given an in-depth tour of the Academy on April 10.
While the Academy is not usually open to the public for tours, Parke and his class were given a unique opportunity to privately tour the secured facility.
According to Parke, one of the goals of the GOVT 482 class is to produce graduates who will become future decision-makers, with the tools necessary to make rational and effective decisions for both preventing and countering terrorism.
The purpose of the FBI tour is to expose undergraduate students to the world’s finest learning and research center for counter-terrorism and intelligence analysts with the desire that some will pursue positions as members of these professions in serving their country.
“Liberty students had an opportunity to meet and interact with FBI agents and experience the sights and sounds of the nation’s top law enforcement academy,” Parke said.
Three tour guides led the group throughout the day. The first guide was a senior agent who has taught counter-terrorism at the academy and is now working in the cyber-terrorism division. The second was a former police officer from Lynchburg who is now teaching at the academy. The final tour guide was Tony Dillon, a Liberty alumnus who is now working as a Supervisory Special Agent.
Dillon, who played football for Liberty from 1982-86, has been with the FBI for more than 15 years. Dillon met the class in a conference room, where he shared his testimony and life story and answered questions from the students.
Brian Sammis, a junior in the criminal justice program, mentioned how much he benefited from the tour of the academy.
“The coolest part of the tour was seeing the history that is in the academy. There are certain areas where the new students cannot step because it’s a place of honor and a way of keeping the pride in the academy,” Sammis said.
Sammis also recalled the 9/11 memorial set up to serve as a reminder of what has happened in the past and to give an incentive to prevent anything like it from happening in the future.
“The connection between the academy and the counter-terrorism class is the constant reminder that there are always threats out there and that we need people with many skill sets. That’s what the academy is for, to train people and keep everyone safe,” Sammis said.
Daniel Desmond, also a junior criminal justice major, said that the best part of the training center was seeing the mock city center. The academy has a fake movie theater, drugstore and other community buildings set up to train agents in specific scenarios.
“I thought it was really cool how the academy gave us specifics on how to become an FBI agent, because they gave us practical steps and told us what we need to know and do in order to set ourselves up for the academy,” Desmond said.