Aaron McDermid and Walter “Harvey” Clark complete 23rd FBI Phoenix Citizens Academy

The FBI’s Phoenix Citizens Academy program launched in 1993 by then-Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Jim Ahearn. Since it's inception, The FBI Citizens' Academy has educated over 1000 Arizona leaders on the FBI's role and mission, giving special attention and consideration to the unique perspective and needs of Arizona. Nationally, over 10,000 citizens graduated from The FBI Citizens' Academy.The goal of the Citizens Academy is to create educated “ambassadors” for the FBI among local leaders, representing a diverse group of public and private organizations and experience. Those who graduate from the program are able to join the Alumni Association to continue supporting the FBI through the organization’s executive outreach efforts beyond their existing professional, personal, and civic contributions.

Attendees of the program learn that the FBI is far different than the modern media portrays and worlds different from the by-gone era of J Edgar Hoover and G-men. Today's FBI represent some of America's best and brightest who have answered the call to protect and defend the United States. They are an exceptionally well-organized, modern, proactive intelligence organization pursuing effective partnerships with businesses to identify, disrupt, and prevent threats to our way of life in addition to investigating those who violate our Federal laws.

Participation in this program takes you through experiences and major responsibilities of FBI Special Agents, many of whom are cross-trained on additional responsibilities like SWAT or negotiations.This year’s class discussed white collar crime, human and sex trafficking, undercover operations, and the global threats of terrorism that plague and touch everyone and virtually everything. How Cyber technology has made its way into our lives that virtually controls everything we do.... threats are an everyday occurrence.

Each week, an expert speaker representing each of the major divisions shared an overview of his or her group, how they fit in to the FBI's mission, along with personal stories in working with the FBI that ranged from amazing to amusing. There is no shortage of passion, personality, and professionalism among the team at the FBI Phoenix Division.

At the end of the day, graduates walk away with a solid understanding of who the FBI REALLY is, clarity of their mission and work, and how it relates to our country, culture, and way of life.

Respectfully Submitted,

Walter “Harvey” Clark