FBINAA Magazine Q1-2022-final-v4

E very session thinks of itself as special with stories and connections made during the eleven weeks at the Academy. Each recent session has stories of the events that took place at the auditorium when family arrived to celebrate the momen - tous occasion. However, there is one session that was able to pair their session number with the turning of the century in an auspicious graduation location. The ceremony for Session 200 was held on Friday, March 24th, 2000 at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington DC. “The President’s Own” United States Marine Corps Band provided music before and during the ceremony. At that point more than 33,000 had graduated since the program started in 1935. (NOTE: as of 2021, that total is over 52,000.) Over 2,200 family members and other dignitaries attended this unique graduation celebration including many members of chapter leadership who had just concluded the annual meeting of chapter presidents and secretary-treasurers. The graduation was preceded Thursday night by a reunion dinner dance at the Wash - ington Hilton attended by 725 graduates. The oldest member in attendance at the dance was Walter Wier , Session 44 fromWestern PA. FBI Director Louis J. Freeh spoke to the chapter leaders dur- ing the week and then again at the graduation ceremony where he presented a plaque to General James L. Jones , commandant of the Marines Corps. The plaque expressed appreciation for the close relationship that has been forged between the FBI and the Marine Corps over the years since the facility moved to the grounds within the Marine Corps compound. Other notable speakers were FBINAA President Randy Ely , Col. Michael D. Robinson , President of the IACP and US Attorney General Janet Reno . The event caught the attention of the media in an article in USA Today titled “FBI Academy has come a long way from just po- lice basics.” The article detailed the origins of Hoover’s brainchild which originally emphasized basic police work such as firearms training, fingerprinting and how to subdue a subject and evolv - ing into the current focus of developing leaders and a curriculum to keep pace with current events. There was a speaker of note who will always treasure the memory - Class Spokesperson Lt. Bryan Lockerby from Great Falls, Montana. The uniqueness of the event and its location meant that the speaker would have a much larger audience than previous (and subsequent) Class Speakers. Just to kick up the anxiety a notch, the graduation was scheduled to be livestreamed on the Law Enforcement Television Network (LETN). In Bryan’s own words, “Although I had no personal goal to be speaker prior to entering the NA, I thought I’d at least give it a try by competing against some of my section classmates. The section elected me to go against the other section speakers a week later. Our section counselor warned that competition would be stiff, since each section would be loyal to their speaker. If I was going to get elected, we would need to find a way to tip the scales, even if just slightly, to our section’s favor. There were about 25 foreign students in the class, which is where I decided to focus some of my talking points. Because I spent time growing up in Germany, I spoke fluent German, and Memories from Session 200 – In Year 2000 Cindy Reed THE HISTORIAN'S SPOTLIGHT

had already helped a confused Austrian officer maneuver through his first week. There was an officer from Japan across the hall in our dorm, two officers from Spain, one from Eritrea, and other countries around the globe. The day of the speech-off, the compet - ing section candidates were very compelling and I was certain the journey was over. I was one of the last to speak, and in my closing specifically focused on the international students, thanking many of them in their own language, some forms which I had to phonetically write out. The speeches ended, the votes were collected, and we returned to class. The following day, it was announced that I had been elected class spokesperson. Our section counselor pulled me aside and said, “You were elected…barely.” In other words, it was just two or three votes that tipped the scales in our section’s favor. I must think it was the strategy on the international students that made it happen. The outcome felt surreal, especially since it was on a whim that I decided to throw my hat in the ring. I’m just a Lieuten- ant from rural Great Falls, Montana, now expected to represent the thoughts and feelings of my peers, who were clearly more distinguished and tenured than me. I don’t remember much of my speech, but one quote I remem- ber using was from the Muppets,“There's not a word yet, for old friends who've just met.” It was from The Muppet Movie (1979), when Gonzo is singing at the campfire with his newfound friends. The verse refers to those people we just met, yet with whom we quickly feel an affinity that one normally only feels in long friendships.” Everyone who has had the amazing experience of being selected and completing the Academy can identify with Bryan’s experience, even if they didn’t have the added stress (and pride) in being the class speaker. Of note: This was the last 12 week NA session before being reduced to eleven weeks. Bryan shared his journey in the 21 years since graduation, including an interesting reunion with another member of his session. “I retired from the Great Falls Police Department as Captain of Inves- tigations after 31 years. A day later, I was appointed Administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation at the Montana Department of Justice, now in my 9th year, serving under my second Attorney General. Of the many people I met during NA200, one of them was Bryan Gort- maker, a Supervisory Agent with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. After we parted ways and continued with our careers, we later discovered that we had both been promoted to head our state investigative agencies. Now, 21 years later, Gortmaker had retired from South Dakota DCI, moved to Montana, and was hired recently by my Division to run our state fusion center. Once again, the NA connec- tion brings us together.”

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