Associate Magazine - FBINAA - Q3-2022

The 50th Year Anniversary of the FBI National Academy at the Quantico Site – Remembrances of Roy Skagan, a member of NA Session 90 Cindy Reed THE HISTORIAN'S SPOTLIGHT

I t was early in July of 1972 when almost 200 police administra tors from across the nation (and a few foreign countries) were gathered in the new cafeteria at the newly finished FBI Academy near Quantico, Va. We were members of Session 90 and we knew we were going to be part of FBI history as the first session to be trained at the new site. The previous 89 sessions beginning in 1935 had their training at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. We were all honored just to have been nominated by our agencies to attend the academy, and here we were now at this famed institution and the first session in the building! I’m a long time retired assistant chief of police, Seattle Po lice Department. It was my personal honor to be included in this first class. I was a Major in 1972. On this first day of our National Academy experience we were gathered in the academy cafeteria to receive our welcome and orientation from J im Cotte r, the long-time director of the NA. Cotter was a legend in the FBI. He gave us our rules and responsibilities while at the NA. He then shared a vision of our role as leaders in our profession. You could have heard a pin drop for the next hour because we were in rapt attention at one of the most inspiring talks about our profession I’ve ever heard. His presence in our next 12 weeks at the acad emy was strongly felt. Back in this era, firearms training was still part of the NA’s curriculum. This was a nice break from the heavy academic schedule to get to the range for an hour twice a week. We were able to shoot the historic Hogan’s Alley made famous in the Dill inger days and in early Special Agency trainings from the 1930s on. Thompson Submachine Guns were being phased out of use by the FBI in the 1970s but some of us were able to test fire the few that remained in the armory. By the way, in my opinion, the range staff were among the finest marksmen in the country. On occasion they would put on remarkable demonstrations of their skills. One instructor, I think his name was Special Agent Sloan, made our jaws drop with his fast-paced demonstrations! While the Academy building was new on the base of the Marine Corps in 1972, agent firearms training had been taking place there since the early 1930s. Director Hoover received the cooperation of the Marines to use their ranges until the FBI se cured the funding to create their own ranges and courses of fire for law enforcement. A great partnership between the FBI and the Marine Corps has existed through the years. I could share some of the funny early difficulties at the new Academy – stuck elevators, wood planks between buildings to avoid the mud on a rainy day, etc. because the final touches were still being made in 1972.. But we all treated it with humor... if you were late for any class you could always say you were stuck in the elevator. Most of the instructors would be sympathetic as they had experienced it for themselves!

In writing this article, I dug out my 90th Session notebooks and class handouts. It was quite an emotional experience view ing it all from 50 years ago. Of course, much has changed in the past 50 years but the principles of leadership and our role in our profession is still inspiring and remains timeless. In the summer of 1972 we were saddened that famed Direc tor J. Edgar Hoover had passed away two months before we arrived in Quantico. He created and directed the FBI for almost a half century and made it the organization America has known now for almost 100 years, and part of that legacy includes our National Academy. Mr. Cotter and all the instructors assured us his presence and influence was there at the Academy and will always be. Some personal sad notes: My great roommate at the Acad emy was Capt. Donald Smith of the Rock Falls, Ill. P.D.. Capt. Smith later became an assistant chief but sadly passed away a few years back. The same is true of Mr. Cotter and as I would ex pect, a large number of our 90th Session members and instruc tors. But for those of us who are still here to reflect, we honor them all. The National Academy influenced our careers and our lives, probably even more than we would have guessed 50 years ago! I am proud to know that there is still a plaque displayed at the FBI Academy listing the names of all the members of the 90th Session who graduated on September 15, 1972. Let me extend, on behalf of all Session 90 members, our gratitude to the FBI and best wishes to those NA attendees that came after our 90th Session. Godspeed to all and especially to those coming in the next 50 years. Roy Skagen , proud member of the FBI National Academy Associ ates Historian comments: Roy’s wife, Noreen Skagan , attended the 96th Session in 1974 where Jim Cotter named them as the first married couple to have attended the NA. Noreen’s son Scott Kimerer attended Ses sion 232 in 2008 continuing the family tradition.. Their story can be found in the July/September 2020 edition of The Associate. It should also be noted that the Association’s original Historian, Dick Amiott , was a member of Session 90. Dick served as Association President in 1986 and provided strong leadership as the Historian for many years. Sadly, he passed away in May of 2017.

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