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Multi-tasking during his 10 weeks at the Quantico FBI National Academy earned Los Alamos Police Capt. Randy Foster two fitness credits and 15 masters level credits through the University of Virginia, which completed his advanced degree requirements at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Foster will receive his master’s degree diploma in criminal justice during a ceremony at NMSU in May.
The benefit to the community for his participation in the six-course program is that the classes are all executive level, providing uniform police training for senior officers across the country, he said. Also, participants are able to share ideas and discuss operational experiences.
“I learned so much, which I’m bringing back to share with the department but an unexpected highlight for me is all the friendships I made – I can tell they are going to be lifelong friendships,” Foster said. “I already have camping plans with a classmate from Texas. My roommate was from Vermont and I hope to meet up with him and see Vermont one day.
The local police department is in the midst of an accreditation process and Foster said he had the opportunity to speak with his counterparts in the FBI program who’ve already gone through that process. Some of his classmates were accreditation inspectors who spoke with him about what they look for during their review.
“That was information I was able to bring back and share with the department,” Foster said. “Another area I had an opportunity to discuss with my classmates was our A.B.L.E. (Accountability Based Law Enforcement) program. The program is designed to provide police departments throughout the United States with timely and accurate data relating to crime trends, accident details, officer activity, arrest information and intelligence. Some of my classmates have implemented updates to the program, which I’ve already discussed with our Deputy Police Chief Kevin Purtymun.”
The FBI program began Jan.1 and ran through March 19. Foster returned to Los Alamos for one three-day weekend during that time.
“Everything was so interesting to me in this executive level training program that I didn’t really find the work itself challenging – the challenging part for me was spending such a long time away when I felt people back here needed me,” Foster said. “My wife Shayna and I spent our one-year wedding anniversary talking to each other on the phone. Also, I try to do things for my grandparents and I was worried because my grandmother got sick while I was away and that was very difficult.”
Foster completed the program and was only home a few days when his grandmother died from her illness.
Foster’s class consisted of 256 senior law enforcement officers from across the United States and more than 20 countries.
The FBI pays the entire cost of the program, including transportation costs – and accepts just 1/10 of 1 percent of law enforcement officials who apply.
“I’ve taken a lot of effort to get in the program and have been working at it since 2005,” Foster said. “You need a recommendation from your chief and they’re typically looking for applicants who rank less than a chief but who are in line to be chief sometime in the future. Once they approve your application, they come to town and interview your chief, your colleagues and anyone who knows you who has gone through the program to get their opinion of whether you’d make a good candidate.”
Once an applicant is accepted, he or she is asked to commit to work a minimum of five more years in law enforcement. Foster intends to work at least 10 more years, he said.
LAPD Chief Wayne Torpy graduated from the FBI program in 2002 while serving as deputy chief of the Melbourne Police Department in Florida.
“It’s a very rare opportunity that a police official gets to attend this FBI program, which results in a multitude of benefits,” Torpy said. “Besides receiving completely up to date training in management, administration and constitutional law, senior officers learn the latest in forensics and interviewing and interrogation techniques.”
The relationships made by program participants are invaluable, Torpy said, in terms of resources to draw on across the country regarding situations that may occur locally.
Career long training opportunities become available to graduates of the FBI’s senior law enforcement officials training program both at the state and national levels, he said.
“Sending Capt. Foster through the program is all part of preparing the police department for the future,” Torpy said. “He is a fine officer who has been on a path of training and preparing for future leadership positions for some time and I’m pleased he was accepted into and has graduated from this important program.”
Foster has been a member of the Los Alamos Police Department since July 1998.