Sheri Crain returned to Sequim earlier this month better equipped to help Chief Dickinson manage the Police Department after spending 10 weeks at the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Va.
The program offers 2½ months of advanced skills training for selected officers within an agency.
While the training was intensive, Crain said it paid off in the resources it gave her to manage problems at the station, as well as making friends across the country that she could count on if she were out of ideas.
“It was the highlight of my career,” she said. Almost all police officers have heard of the FBI academy, but few ever get to attend its prestigious courses.
During her time at the school, Crain worked with lieutenants and sergeants from around the U.S. and even as far away as South Korea and Bulgaria, with officers from 49 states and 27 countries.
While most of the training was coursework, she still got fitness training in at the school’s Yellow Brick Road. Different training sessions each morning during her academy time culminated in a 10-kilometer and 26-event obstacle course that included climbing walls and rope work.
To commemorate the accomplishment, Crain received a yellow brick, which she proudly displays on her shelf.
One of the most important lessons she learned was how to maintain organizational longevity if an officer leaves the organization for a long period of time. She explained that it’s easy to lose integrity and organizational structure if critical officers retire or leave for training.
“You need to build that into employees so that if bits and pieces change, the integrity stays the same,” she said.
Courses in dealing with organizational change, leadership and conflict resolution helped train her for these events.
The courses also gave Crain a reinforced confidence in her work at the station.
“We’re not as big as other departments, but everybody has the same problems,” she said.
Crain networked with other officers from around the country and learned that many departments have the same issues. She said she feels confident that if she has a problem in the department now, she has a network to discuss it with to find solutions.