Thomasville Police Department’s Shane Harris has completed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy program in Quantico, Virginia. After his graduation, Harris joined an elite group of 22 TPD officers who have graduated from the program, a program that only 1% of law enforcement officers have the opportunity to attend.
“Admission to the program is by nomination only, and the process is very competitive,” said Harris. “It is unusual for an agency of our size to have had so many graduates from the program, but it also speaks very highly to the reputation of the Thomasville Police Department.”
Harris was among 224 officers from 48 states, 22 countries, five military organizations and six federal civilian organizations to participate in the FBI National Academy program, held at the FBI Academy. The program offers advanced communication, leadership and fitness training for selected officers having proven records as professionals within their agencies. Harris said that the program was rigorous, but it was also a professional opportunity that he feels was extremely beneficial to his role as Major over TPD’s patrol services.
“It helped me understand how all aspects of an officer’s life influence his or her ability to serve,” said Harris. “The officer’s wellness, physical, spiritual, social and emotional wellbeing are all connected. I learned more about what we can do as managers to help officers be more successful. Better serving our officers, helping them to feel more connected to their agency and organization means that the officer is happier at work and at home. This is nothing but beneficial to the community that the officer serves.”
Each day at the Academy involved class work and calisthenics. Harris said that throughout the 10-week program, he completed five different courses, such as Procedural Law, At Risk Employees, Employment Law and Intelligence Led Policing.
“I am particularly excited to begin implementing some of what I learned from the Intelligence Led Policing course,” said Harris. “It centered on identifying crime trends and patterns and then using analytical tools to help determine environmental factors that might be contributing to the success of the crime.”
Harris said that an example for how these techniques could be useful might apply to a situation that involves a high number of automobile thefts. “Intelligence Led Policing means that your efforts wouldn’t just include finding the bad guys after the crime is committed; it would also involve determining how the perpetrator is successful and eliminating those factors. It gets down to the ‘why’ not just the ‘who.’”
While many of the agencies represented in Harris’ cohort were significantly larger, he found that TPD and the Thomasville community face several of the same issues. “It made me realize that while Thomasville may be a smaller agency, we have implemented the same best practices and the same high standards as many of the other larger agencies,” he said. “It made me very proud of the Thomasville Police Department.”
Chief Troy Rich said that Harris’ recent graduation from the Academy allows him to join a legacy of excellence that was started when former TPD Chief Noah Stegall first attended the academy more than 40 years ago. “Chief Stegall set the standard that more than 20 TPD officers have since followed,” he said. “Having so many FBI Academy graduates from a department of our size is unheard of, to be honest.”
Rich added, “I am extremely proud of Major Harris for distinguishing himself as a law enforcement professional and making the sacrifice of time and effort that will make him a better leader and TPD a better organization.”