Major Brice Mesko of the Mexico Public Safety Department graduated from the 252nd Session of the FBI National Academy Program at Quantico, Va. He was one of 268 law enforcement officers from 49 states, the District of Columbia, 27 international countries, four military organizations, and five federal civilian organizations.
"It was great training and a great personal experience," Mesko said. "The connections that you make with officers from all around the country and world is valuable. There is pretty much no problem that we can have here, that someone else (at the academy) had not experienced already and had resources to help us."
Internationally known for its academic excellence, the National Academy Program, held at the FBI Academy, offers investigative, management and fitness training for selected officers having proven records as professionals within their agencies and departments. On average, the officers have 19 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive level positions. The FBI National Academy began in July 1935 and approximately 29,097 of its graduates are still active in law enforcement work, Mesko said.
Training for the program is provided by the FBI Academy instructional staff, special agents and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise. Since 1972, National Academy students have been able to earn undergraduate and graduate credits from the University of Virginia due to the accreditation by the university of the many courses offered.
Mesko, 42, has been with the Mexico Public Safety Department 17 years, and a major for eight. MPSD offers regular in-house training, and a few years ago Mesko attended a one-week "Violence Against Women" investigation training course in Philadelphis and another FBI-type training session in St. Louis. Training like this, Mesko said, is important.
"It was hard and very in-depth," he said. "They take us back through a basic police academy, but instead of teaching civilians how to be officers, they are teaching officers how to be better at what they are trying to accomplish and renew the effort of what they do."
Mesko said the FBI offers these types of training courses to ensure that local, smaller law enforcement departments are properly trained.
"The FBI realized years ago that they couldn't do everything themselves, and they wanted local police departments and agencies to be trained at the best level possible," Mesko explained. The 10-week academy, he said, "really helps drive home the importance of law enforcement doing their job the right way to help protect the citizenry. The course is designed to make me better at what I do."
Mesko and his wife, Nichole, live in Mexico and have two daughters, Hunter and Halie.