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Citizens’ Academy of the FBI
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The FBI is an organization that strikes fear into the hearts and minds of millions of people across the country, even those who have no reason to fear them. The FBI is one of the highest law enforcement agencies in the country, so they have jurisdiction over almost all townships and municipalities in the country when a crime has been committed that grabs the attention of the federal government.

In the state of Mississippi, the Jackson division of the FBI has hosted an outreach program known as the Citizens’ Academy. The academy is hosted twice per year, with people from all walks of life invited to participate and learn about the law and the organization that protects the country. The Special Agent in charge of the Jackson division is Daniel McMullen. McMullen hopes that graduates of the academy become ambassadors for the FBI.

  
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“We have community leaders, business, religious, civic and so on, who have the opportunity to learn more about our organization, what we do, why we do it and how we do it and to take that message out to the public and help us educate the public because an educated public is our best weapon to deal with threats that are out there,” McMullen said.

The new state of the art facility, located at Echelon Parkway, is where the first handful of weeks is spent. The classroom is another hot spot in the first two weeks of the program. For the most part though, the academy’s trip to the shooting range is the most popular segment of the academy.

“More to it than those guys wearing blue and gray suits and the sunglasses,” said LeGrand Elliot, Citizens’ Academy member. “They really are a part of our lives every day, more so than we know and they take pride in the work and they’re committed.”

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One of the most common misconceptions about the FBI is that the organization simply takes over a crime scene when one appears. McMullen said this misconception is always discussed by academy attendees early in the program’s schedule.

“And it’s important for the public to know that law enforcement at the state, local and federal level work together where they have shared interest in investigative matters,” McMullen said.



This point has not been lost on Brad Rogers, the Mayor of Pearl and a member of the Citizens’ Academy.

“Being with the City of Pearl, you know, I know a lot about local law enforcement but it’s been real interesting to see how local law enforcement ties in with the federal side of law enforcement, also,” said Mayor Rogers. “Been a very good experience.”

McMullen went on to discuss the following:

“The FBI is definitely much more transparent and the folks that work in the FBI are your neighbors.”

The academy lasts six weeks per session and ends with a graduation ceremony that takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn at the King Edward Hotel in downtown Jackson.



 

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