ENDORSEMENTS

 
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REPRESENTATIVE, MARION DANIELS O'NEILL

"In the Wright County Sheriff's race there is one distinction that in my opinion is incredibly important. If Sean Deringer were to leave his position (Captain over the largest patrol division in the state and 3rd in command) at the Sheriff's Office, the other candidate would not even be eligible to apply for his job. The other candidate does not have the minimum 5 years of supervisory experience required, and in his over 20 year career, has not moved up in the leadership ranks within the office. Captain Deringer has risen in the ranks by taking every opportunity to receive training, sought additional responsibility and demonstrated effective leadership. Captain Deringer was even selected by the FBI to receive leadership training at Quantico which only 1% of law enforcement nationwide are invited to do.

Captain Sean Deringer has my endorsement because he is the qualified experienced professional I need to work with to craft nation leading legislation. I've served on the Public Safety Committee since being elected to the MN House 6 years ago and am endorsed by MN Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA)."

 

 

TOM KELLY
Wright County Attorney

"My name is Tom Kelly and I have been with the County Attorney’s Office representing the citizens of Wright County for 34 years, the past 20 as your County Attorney.  Sean Deringer has been with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office for 21 years.  I have known and worked with Sean for all these years.  We have worked on many cases together, including homicides.  He is a conscientious, competent and professional law enforcement officer.  He has been a dedicated public servant.  Sean’s extensive experience with the Sheriff’s Office includes:  Patrol Deputy, Narcotics Investigator, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Criminal Investigations Division Lieutenant, Administrative Lieutenant and Patrol Captain.  Also, he has been a Member/ Team Leader on the Emergency Response Team, Firearms Instructor and Less Lethal/Taser Instructor.  In 2014 he attended the 71st session of the Supervisor Leadership Institute through the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.  In 2015 he graduated from the 261st session of the FBI National Academy.  Less than 1 percent of all Law Enforcement Officers throughout the nation are given this opportunity.  Sean has always understood the “Team Approach” to prosecution that requires a working relationship between the County Attorney’s Office and Law Enforcement that instills credibility, confidence, cooperation and teamwork.  His common sense, attitude, professional demeanor, academics, values, integrity, work ethic, organizational skills and exceptional people skills are all attributes that will serve him well as the next Wright County Sheriff.  Sean has the experience and ability to lead the Sheriff’s Office from day one.  He has earned my trust and respect.  He understands the importance of treating all citizens, including those alleged to have violated the law, with respect, decency and in a professional manner.  Without reservation I will cast my vote for Sean Deringer and would encourage others to do the same."

 

 

ROSS BUTTERFIELD & K9 BOSCO
Deputy Chief Northstar Search and Rescue

"Northstar Search and Rescue is located in Golden Valley Minnesota and helps to serve the five state area helping law enforcement locate missing and lost people with our nationally certified K9’s. On several occasions we have had the opportunity to work for the Wright County Sheriff’s office on missing person cases under the direction of Sean Deringer. We found his leadership and compassion to finding missing people in Wright County second to none. On one occasion I recall searching a corn field at 3am for a missing person, something he could have delegated, but chose to be right there with us searching for hours. As another public safety agency that provides mutual aid to law enforcement, we fully endorse Sean Deringer for Sheriff of Wright County."

 

 

JASON KRAMBER

"I have personally known Sean and his family for over 20 years. Sean is an amazing man. He is caring and fair, but he is not a pushover. Sean listens to others' concerns and knows the value of what they have to say. The next Sheriff of Wright County needs to be a leader of his people, the employees, and a servant to the public. He needs to have an understanding of the government, other departments within Wright County, finances, law enforcement trends, scheduling, employee retention, training needs, crime trends, and so much more. The next Sheriff of Wright County must be a leader, and he must be qualified for this very difficult job. Sean has a 4 year degree in Criminal Justice; he is a graduate of the FBI Academy; he has worked in or supervised every division in the Wright County Sheriff's Office; and his resume goes on...Sean is the most qualified candidate. He is ready to lead while serving the public."

 

 

DON LINDELL
Former Wright County Chief Deputy Sheriff

"Sean Deringer, Captain with the Wright County Sheriff's Office, is a solid family man, and has shown that he can balance the demands of family life with the challenges of a career in law enforcement.  He has earned your support in the upcoming Sheriff's election.  The previous three Sheriffs all began their career as deputies, expressed an interest in expanding their scope of work to supervise others, and were promoted up the ranks to acquire the skills that would eventually make them the best leader possible in the position of Sheriff.  And, they served the citizens of Wright County well.  Throughout his career, Captain Sean Deringer has expressed an interest multiple times, and has held seven positions where he was directly responsible for the supervision of employees, including training instructor responsibilities in three areas, and working up the ranks in the Sheriff's Office by being promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant of two divisions, and to his present position of Captain.  None of the other candidates in this race for the Office of Sheriff have taken advantage of the opportunities to develop the skills that Captain Deringer has. Sean Deringer has the right qualifications to hold the office of Wright County Sheriff, and he has my full endorsement and support.  Please vote for him in the upcoming election."

 

 

AARON LUEBKE FAMILY

"Sean Deringer came to our family during a tragic and unexpected time. We didn't know how much we would need him, until we did. As our worst nightmare came true, Captain Sean Deringer stepped up above and beyond his call of duty, on a case that wasn't even his to begin with. He worked hand-in-hand with United Legacy, law enforcement, and our family to help bring Aaron home after being missing for less than 24 hours--which felt like a lifetime. Although it didn't turn out the way we had hoped, having Sean stay by Aaron's side at the scene of the accident until the wee hours of the morning until he felt all measures were exhausted helped ease our families minds and hurting hearts, and that was just the beginning of his work. He sat with our family while we grappled many questions, offered support, reasoning, and reassurance in a time where nothing seemed certain. He gave out his personal cell phone number so my family could reach him at any time when we had questions or needed a sounding board. His compassion, dedication, and professionalism is one that should be modeled after. Our family will forever be indebted to Captain Sean Deringer for all he has done for us while we brought our Angel home."

 

 

DEBBIE BIEGLER

"I am endorsing Sean Deringer for Sheriff of Wright County because I have seen the great work he is doing in so many communities and he is the only one who has the skills to do the job. Sean has a love for our communities and wants to see things run smoothly. He is not afraid to dig in to the hard stuff. I have seen this with my own eyes. In one of my former jobs that dealt with kids, he came in and talked to them about drugs and then I got him to volunteer to stay and help the kids every week. He has a vision for what should be happening at the Wright County Sheriff's office. Sean knows there are problems in the departments, but in order to solve them he has to have honest conversations and realistic needs and wants to help everyone in each department come together and be a team again. His vision is not for one individual, it is for the entire department, cities, townships and all of us who live here. Sean is also realistic that everything cannot be solved quickly, but he is willing to put together plans and get the plans up and running and share the load so things get accomplished together. Sean has run different departments so he is very capable of supervising and working together with others. Knowing when you can talk about things and when things are private and confidential. He would rather not say anything when people have attacked him because he doesn't want to break the confidentiality that he has to keep for their sake. He is a man of honor who loves God and his family. I hope that you will vote for Sean Deringer because he is a man of integrity and a man you can trust."

 

 

TERI LACHERMEIER
Mayor of Buffalo

"I've gotten to know Sean well over the past 16 years through M.E.A.D.A. (Meth Education & Drug Awareness) and The Safe Schools program.  He has a heart for the community & the expertise to build upon the great things our Sheriffs Office has already accomplished.  Sean is the most qualified to lead as our next Wright County Sheriff.  He understands the needs of our local municipalities & is ready to lead on day one.  My hope is that Sean can become the next Wright County Sheriff for many years to come!"

 

 

PAULA WILLARD

"Leadership is about experience, responsibility and a heart of service. Sean has proven that he is up to the challenge and will fulfill the responsibilities of Sheriff. As a member of the Command Staff and Patrol Captain, Sean has the knowledge of the inner workings of the Sheriff’s Office to make educated and well-planned decisions. He recognizes the needs of both the community and the employees of the Sheriff's Office. He has experience in the many divisions of the Sheriff’s Office and has been in leadership within 12 of the 13 divisions. This experience will serve him well leading the employees in those divisions as their Sheriff. Sean has a servant’s heart. He will lead with compassion for the community and for the employees. He has been a mentor to my three sons. They know that they can go to him with any concern or for help. I am thankful for that servant's heart that is open to caring for others. Sean is the right candidate for Sheriff, the one with the experience, training and leadership necessary to do the job. I fully endorse Sean Deringer for Sheriff."

 

 

DEANNA (VILLELLA) SCHROEDER
Founder of United Legacy

"On August 23rd, 2014, my brother Christopher Rossing went missing in Wright County. After learning of the disappearance of Christopher, and struggling to find my way during a nine-week search period; I quickly came to rely on a very compassionate Sean Deringer. Over the course of nine-weeks our family organized search efforts for Christopher. During this time Sean became my daily point of contact, offering his support and guidance, and very quickly became my voice of reasoning during the most tragic time of my life. Sean also took the time to show his support and understanding, in which he took my calls even on his days off. Sean continued his support to my family even after Christopher was tragically found deceased. After learning Christopher fell victim to homicide, our worst fears had come to realization. From there, Sean offered his mentorship to me while founding United Legacy search, rescue, and recovery in 2015.
In 2016/2017 United Legacy was called in by Sean Deringer to help aid and assist in several missing person cases. After partnering on resources and man power during several cases in Wright County, Sean Deringer continued to go out of his way to volunteer his days off to help create a platform for United Legacy to grow. Sean continued to support by volunteering his time to speak with communities in regard to the impact that United Legacy as a Search organization has on a community and/or County such as Wright County. Sean has helped form a bridge of communication, resources, and manpower to other missing persons families in partnership with United Legacy.
My name is Deanna (Villella) Schroeder, Founder of United Legacy. I'm endorsing Sean Deringer for the next Wright County Sheriff because I believe he is the candidate that will lead Wright County Sheriff's Office in the direction of positive changes, and necessary improvements. He has shown me this to be true throughout our friendship, and our working relationship during missing person cases. Wright County not only needs the positive structure that Sean Deringer can provide, but needs the heart and compassion for the community in which he will lead with. I'm with Sean Deringer for Sheriff!"

 

 

 

DAN & JULIE CLASEMANN

"We have known Sean for the last 24 years and are fortunate to have called him our friend all these years. We are fully endorsing Sean, not just because he has been our friend, but more so because we have witnessed his hard work, determination, and “all in” commitment. From Patrol Deputy to almost every area/division of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, including multiple Supervisory roles in most of those divisions. He has by far the most Supervisory experience of all the candidates combined. We have also witnessed him mentor a number of young men & women, who are already Deputies or are going to school to become Deputies and they all want to work for Sean one day. Having gone through this campaign process with him, we have discovered not only do these young people want to work for him, but also there are a large amount of current Deputies that want him not only to be their Sheriff, but want their commitment to their jobs to mirror Sean’s. If you have been at any parades this summer, you may have noticed that a couple of candidates have had 1 or 2 Deputies or ex-Deputies walk with them, but Sean has continuously had multiple Deputies from multiple divisions walking with him and helping in multiple areas with the campaign. Sean is the only candidate who has the commitment, experience, passion and integrity to lead the Wright County Sheriff’s Office."

 

 

BOB FIX
Buffalo resident, Transportation Manager/Functional Industries, Inc. and retired Buffalo Police Department

"Sean’s commitment and dedication to making Wright County a great place to live and work has been demonstrated by him for well over two decades. Sean’s first involvement in area Law Enforcement was in the early/mid 90’s when he first served as a volunteer Buffalo Police Reserve Officer. In 1996, Sean began working for BPD as a sworn part-time police officer. Those two roles were just the first of his dedicated career of serving Wright County citizens as a law enforcement officer and community volunteer. 

As Sean and his wife Tammy have raised their family in Wright County, they also continue their dedication and commitment as volunteers through faith and youth related groups. Sean’s career as a full-time Wright County Deputy has excelled for over 21 years as he has served the rest of us as a patrol officer, emergency response team member, narcotics investigator, firearms and taser instructor, detective, patrol sergeant, internal affairs investigator, lieutenant in charge of the WCSO criminal investigative division and later as the administrative lieutenant, and now as captain of the largest sheriff’s department patrol division in the State of Minnesota.

Sean has always tried to improve himself as he worked to improve our county, and he sought leadership roles even though those responsibilities often required additional personal and family commitment. He truly cares about people within and outside of the Sheriff’s Department. His experience and education make him the best candidate by far to lead the Wright County Sheriff’s Department into the future. Sean is one of a very small percentage of law enforcement officers in our country to graduate from the FBI Academy. He will use that exceptional training and the experiences gained in his many roles as a Wright County law enforcement officer and community volunteer to fulfill his plan as the Wright County Sheriff. Sean is definitely ready to lead on day #1.

I don’t know if Sean pursued his career in the fashion that he did so that he could be Sheriff someday, or if because he pursued his career and family life as he has that he just becomes the obvious choice to lead this 3rd largest sheriff’s department in the state, but it is obvious to me that Sean has in fact done everything that he could have/should have done to be in the position that he is in today. During the past 47 years, I have known and respected the last 4 Wright County sheriffs. I have watched the sheriff’s department grow as our county has grown. We are ready for and need another respected sheriff like Sean Deringer. – I’m proud to know I had something to do with Sean’s early days in law enforcement.

Please be sure to vote in the Primary Election on August 14th and the General Election on November 6th."

 

 

JEFF O’BRIEN
Jeff O’Brien has been a resident of Albertville since 2006.  He is a Minneapolis-based attorney and regularly appears under his “Lawyer Extraordinare” alter ego on Justice & Drew and The BS Show with Bob Sansevere.

I know that I sound like a broken record when I say this, but here goes:  in this very important election year, the selection of a new Wright County Sheriff is perhaps the most important decision that residents of Wright County will make in terms of the direct impact it will have upon our everyday lives.

I think it’s safe to say that voters have been provided every opportunity to hear where the candidates stand, both pre and post primary.  All candidates should be commended for their active communication on social media, their attendance at community events and their willingness to talk with voters about where they stand on the various issues. 

I have read and listened to just about every piece of information I could regarding the final two candidates, and based upon that information, I am proud to support Sean Deringer in his campaign to become the next Wright County Sheriff.

I have said for a number of years now that Wright County is changing.  I believe that, with a large swath of the County becoming, for better or for worse, Twin Cities suburbs, the next Sheriff needs to be able to lead the WCSO into a new era with a new perspective as to handling the law enforcement needs of Wright County.

When this campaign began earlier this year, I was supporting a friend who had run previously.  Shortly after my friend announced, Sean Deringer threw his hat in the ring for the job, and shortly after that on March 27, both candidates joined Bob Sansevere and his guests (myself included) on Bob’s BS Show podcast.  During the show I posed to the candidates a question as to how, if elected, they would handle a situation which my wife and I had involving multiple negative interactions with a particular deputy.

A day or so after the show, my phone rang.  It was Sean Deringer.

“I’ve been thinking some more about your question,”, he said, “and I don’t have to wait to become Sheriff to do something about it.” 

Did I mention that Captain Deringer made that call knowing full well that I was supporting his only opponent at the time?

By the time our call wrapped up, I learned that the deputy with whom we had an issue was no longer with the WCSO.  Sean provided me with all of the information that he had available on the incidents we had involving this deputy.   It was such a relief to have someone from the WCSO be proactive and forthcoming and Sean’s actions that day gave our family a measure of closure.

Since then, I have called on Sean a number of times for a variety of issues – some personal, and some professional.  He has always responded promptly and taken my issues seriously.  In my previous endorsement of my friend for the primary, I stated that if I could have voted for two candidates to move on to the general election, Sean Deringer would have had my vote in the primary as well.

So, on primary night, when Sean moved on and the candidate I had been supporting did not, my choice for the general election was a no-brainer.

If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that I, with my prior complaints about some aspects of the Sheriff’s Office, would be supporting a member of the current Command Staff to take over the top job, I would never have believed it, but that’s how impressed I have been with Sean Deringer and his plans to improve the WCSO.

I truly believe that Sean Deringer is the best candidate to be the Wright County Sheriff, and I truly believe that the Wright County Sheriff’s Office will be a top notch law enforcement agency under Sean’s command.  Bottom line, Sean gets what’s happening in the County. He gets that the cities east of Highway 25 are now essentially suburbs, and that he gets that there are major challenges ahead for this Sheriff’s Office that must be addressed.

Regarding the other candidate for Sheriff, Mike Kaczmarek, I have had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing about his agenda if elected.  While I have no reason to believe that Mike is anything other than an honorable and decent guy, I simply do not believe that he has the experience or the vision needed to move the WCSO forward in the manner needed to be effective law enforcement agency for an ever changing Wright County. 

I have heard Sean talk about his experience, why he decided to make a career in law enforcement, and what he wants to do to improve communication, transparency and accountability if elected.  I have talked to him about what his training course at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia entailed, and I believe that experiences like that just make Sean an even more attractive candidate for Sheriff. 

Like me, Sean Deringer is not a native of Wright County; he chose to live here.  Like me, Sean decided long ago what path he wanted his career to take and he has taken the steps necessary to get to this point.  That’s why I know that when Sean says he’s going to do something, I know he will see it through until he accomplishes his objective.  That attitude is what makes a great leader, and I will be proud living in Wright County with Sheriff Sean Deringer in charge.

 

 

JIM WELCH
Maple Lake, MN

My family and I have known Sean for many years and our kids have grown up together in the same neighborhood. We will be voting for him for the following reasons:
1. Qualified - His experience, training and abilities in law enforcement and the community make him the clear choice.
2. Family man - As a father and husband myself, I can’t imagine voting for someone to represent our county that doesn’t have that experience. Being a great husband and father, as Sean is, changes the way you approach things and allows you to understand and empathize with others much better.
3. Integrity - Sean has only run this race with a positive approach and positive plans for the future of the Sherriff’s Office. There is a reason that the vast majority of the employees of the actual Sherriff’s Office are behind Sean for Sherriff.

 

 

COREY TANNER
Otsego, MN

The following endorsement is made in my capacity as a private citizen and a resident of Wright County. This endorsement is not made on behalf of the City of Otsego or the Otsego City Council and should not be construed as anything other than my personal endorsement.

Our community needs a qualified leader as our new Sheriff to ensure the protection of our citizens.  The safety of my wife, children and Otsego neighbors is my greatest desire and concern.

Otsego is a spread-out community, much like Wright County and it’s known for its prairie like landscape. One minute you are driving through farm country on a gravel road with tractors passing you by and a mile later you might be looking up at a restaurant or an industrial park. There is a lot of ground to cover. The sheriff needs to understand the different sort of safety concerns each part of our city and county has. I believe that Sean Deringer has that ability.

Otsego is on pace to be the largest city in Wright County and is one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Minnesota. Community leaders have to be cognizant of the impacts this brings to future public safety service requirements. It is definitely beneficial to have someone who brings experience working with city and county budgets, staffing solutions and who has analyzed data for potential growth for the planning of service requirements. Sean Deringer has been working with community leaders already doing this. He is a qualified leader and has worked extensively with the City of Otsego on these sorts of city budgets and has a focus on improving technology and communications.

In addition to Sean’s qualifications as a leader in law enforcement, it is just as important to me what kind of a person he is and that he can meet the needs of our community. Sean shows a great deal of concern for the residents and our culture. I envision Sean Deringer as playing a big part in our community for years to come and he will continue to serve as a great role model for our youth and for those who want to get involved in community service.


I would like to see Sean continue to be at the table working in partnership with our growing community.


I endorse Sean Deringer for the next Sheriff of Wright County. I am very confident that Sean will succeed.

 

 

BILL FOBBE
Maple Lake, MN

My vote for our next Wright County Sheriff is for Sean Deringer, without a doubt.  If you haven’t met Sean as of yet, he, by far is the best candidate for the Sheriff’s position.  I could list his entire resume, but it would be very long.  I encourage you to look at his website and see all his qualifications.  Sean has held pretty much every position available in the Sheriff’s Office.  He currently holds the Patrol Captain position, which is third in charge, overall.  Sean would be the best person to be Sheriff, for other reasons, as well.  He is an honest, caring individual.  He will treat everyone with respect and equality; he will get things that need to be addressed done.  Sean also has the leadership skills that Wright County needs.  If elected, Sean indicated he will be ready on day one, and I truly believe this.  I have known Sean for 20+ years.  Sean has been with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office for 22+ years, holding many different positions, he earned the promotions through hard work and determination.  So, I am encouraging everyone who doesn’t know Sean to look at his website and just see for yourself the type of person Sean is.  Truly an outstanding candidate, and without any hesitation, the better candidate for WRIGHT COUNTY SHERIFF.  Please join me in supporting and voting for Sean in the general election!!

 

 

STEVE LABATT
Saint Michael, MN

There is one clear choice to be the next Wright County Sheriff…. Sean Deringer.

Wright County residents have the opportunity to elect a new Sheriff on November 6th. Sean Deringer is my choice to be that new leader of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. As a 29 year law enforcement veteran in Minnesota, with 12 years of supervisory and command experience, I have an understanding of what it takes to lead, plan, and develop a law enforcement organization. Sean Deringer has that vision and experience with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Sean Deringer’s experience in his 22 year career as a Patrol Deputy, Narcotics Investigator, Team Leader of the Emergency Response Team, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Lieutenant of both the Administrative Division and the Criminal Investigations Division and currently is the Captain of the largest Sheriff’s Office patrol division in Minnesota, that experience has clearly prepared him to be the next Wright County Sheriff on day one. Sean Deringer is the only candidate who has a clear understanding and experience of the budget process, contract law enforcement, employee supervision and evaluations and developing and maintain private/public partnerships. All which are key aspects to leading an organization with 252 employees and a budget of $31 million.

In Sean’s current position in the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, he manages the contract law enforcement for 13 of the 16 cities in Wright County. This equates to scheduling between 48 and 63 shifts per day, depending on shift relief, which amounts to an $8.5 million dollar program.
Sean Deringer has been involved and engaged with the M.E.A.D.A (Meth Education and Drug Awareness) and the Safe Schools program, along with the Highway 12 Safety Coalition, to name just a few. This type of engagement and involvement with these groups and organizations has given Sean Deringer the opportunity to provide his influence, guidance and leadership in making Wright County a safer place for our residents, families and children.

There is one clear choice to be the 28th Sheriff of Wright County, Sean Deringer.

 

 

LYNNE CRANDALL
Monticello, MN

Having known Sean for many years, first, I have to say it is an honor to be able to call him "my friend". Sean is a very honorable, honest, hardworking leader and family man in our community. Having seen Sean in action from patrolman to narcotics to detective, he is the all-around best person to fill the shoes of a very important figure in our County. Being a business owner, I appreciate the loyalty Sean has for his job and concerns he shows for ALL the people. After knowing many past Sheriffs in Wright County from Mr. Wolff to Mr. Hozempa and our current sheriff Mr. Hagerty, I feel he fits the description of a sheriff with morals, fairness, dedication and love of our community and has earned the respect he so deserves.

 

 

RICHARD AND JUDI LAMMERS
Howard Lake, MN

My name is Richard Lammers, and I am a resident of Howard Lake. I met Sean Deringer early in his Law Enforcement career.  Sean started with the Buffalo Police Department, where I was the Department Investigator/Detective. I was impressed early on with Sean, his caring attitude and devotion to the citizens of the County. Sean always displayed common sense when dealing with the day to day incidents common to Law Enforcement.
With a population of approx. 135,000, a Budget of 31 Million, and a work force of over 200 people; Sean has shown me that he will be able to steer the Sheriff's Office in the right direction in the years to come. As a Former Mayor, of Howard Lake, I feel totally confident in Sean to spend the budget wisely and treat the citizens and employees fairly and completely.
I ask you to join my wife and me, to support and vote for Sean Deringer on November 6th.

 

 

Foreword by STEWART J. WIRTH

The citizens of Wright County are fortunate to have two high-quality candidates running for the office of Wright County Sheriff. I am able to draw that positive conclusion as someone who supervised both of them within the agency while working as a Patrol Sergeant and Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigation Division. After retiring in 2004 to take a faculty position at St. Cloud State University’s Criminal Justice Studies program, I continued professional and personal contact with both candidates.

One challenge for the next Wright County Sheriff will require that person to consider organizational culture and climate, requiring significant leadership abilities. Sean Deringer chose to become a supervisor and administrator and attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I believe it is important for Wright County citizens to have an understanding of what happens at the FBI National Academy and how that process builds leadership skills. I can think of no better way to make that information available than to introduce Dr. John Campbell, who served our Nation as a United States Marine Corp Officer in Vietnam and thereafter had a distinguished lifetime career with the FBI. During that career, he was associated for 11 years with the FBI National Academy and became the Academic Dean. He was a fellow faculty member at St. Cloud State University and is a Professor Emeritus.

Stewart J. Wirth

 JOHN H. CAMPBELL
Professor Emeritus St. Cloud State University

“The Value of the FBI National Academy”

By way of background, I served in the FBI for 27 years in numerous assignments throughout the United States.  Three separate tours found me at the FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia working with the National Academy (NA) and also training new Special Agents of the FBI.  I served as an Instructor in the Behavioral Science Unit, as the Unit Chief of the Behavioral Science Unit and the as the Academic Dean/ Section Chief of all the academic units to include the National Academy Unit.  I am very proud of those experiences and the opportunity to work with law enforcement officers from all over the world.

The National Academy began on July 29, 1935. It was created in response to a 1930 study by the Wickersham Commission that recommended the standardization and professionalization of law enforcement departments across the U.S. through centralized training. With strong support from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and with the authority of Congress and the Department of Justice, the “FBI Police Training School” was born. Courses at that time included scientific aids in crime detection, preparation of reports, criminal investigation techniques, and administration and organization. With the advent of World War II, courses were added in espionage and sabotage.

Officers are identified and nominated by their department.  They are recognized by their agency as future leaders.  The coursework at the Academy is college level with current offerings in leadership, management, behavioral sciences, investigation, communication, terrorism, tactics and more.  The courses and the instructors are accredited through the University of Virginia.  The credits are accepted at both Bachelors and Masters programs at Universities throughout the world.

Nominee Qualifications

  • Be a regular, full-time officer of a duly-constituted law enforcement agency of a municipality, county, or state, having at least five years of substantial and continuous experience;

  • Be at least 25 years old;

  • Be in excellent physical condition, capable of strenuous exertion and regular participation in the use of firearms, physical training, and defensive tactics, which will be confirmed by a thorough physical examination (submitted when requested by the FBI) by a medical doctor of the nominee’s choosing and at the nominee’s expense;

  • Possess an excellent character and enjoy a reputation for professional integrity;

  • Exhibit an interest in law enforcement as a public service, a seriousness of purpose, qualities of leadership and enjoy the confidence and respect of fellow officers;

  • Have a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate;

  • Agree to remain in law enforcement for a minimum of three years after graduating from the FBI National Academy.

 

Upon graduation from this ten week program, the attendees have the option to continue to participate in the National Academy Associates which is recognized as the world’s strongest law enforcement network.  Currently there are more than 17,000 officers in 170 counties participating in this networking.  The ability to continue training, research and connect on issues of law enforcement are enormous.

I would like to share some observations of two graduates of the FBI National Academy

 One graduates evaluation:

The FBI National Academy is a once in a lifetime leadership/educational experience for less than 1% of all Law Enforcement Officers world-wide. Outstanding Law Enforcement Professionals are nominated and then selected to attend the NA at Quantico after a rigorous vetting process. You can't just sign up to go. Graduation from the NA in the world of Law Enforcement is just as prestigious as graduating in the Business World from Harvard with an MBA. The training, networking, and personal growth is unparalleled by any other advanced law enforcement academy or course in the world. The instructors are world class and make current policy, not just teach it. Most NA Graduates are promoted after attending the NA and many become heads of their own agency one day. This is where you find some of our best Law Enforcement Leaders in the Nation.

 A second officer’s thoughts:

“There are three pillars to the FBI National Academy:

1. Academic learning

Before arriving at Quantico, students register online for classes, so they already know which academic courses they’re enrolled in.

The FBINA follows a collegiate model, so attendees have core courses they have to take – like physical training and contemporary issues in law enforcement – but the rest of a student’s curriculum is primarily dependent on what they select for themselves. I focused on leadership, cyber investigations, communication and media relations. I also took only graduate-level courses, which I regretted mid-session when I had loads of papers to write, but am now grateful, as I earned 17 credits toward a graduate certificate from the University of Virginia. Instructors are genuinely engaged and want students to maximize the opportunity. They impart information, but also facilitate the sharing of knowledge among the attendees.

The FBINA offers a unique environment for sharing ideas and peer learning. On the one hand, you’re among people who have had similar experiences to you. You get to know them well because you’re living with them every day and are somewhat cut off from the rest of the world. On the other hand, you’re only together for 10 weeks and you know you’re not going to be working with them, so there is little preoccupation about expressing a dissenting opinion, breaking political alliances, or saving face. Genuine opportunities arise for honest conversations and difficult discussions, many of which don’t take place in the classroom. Some of the most productive discussions occur over meals, out on a run, or while socializing.

In addition to the coursework, the FBINA brings in an impressive roster of speakers. Law enforcement and military professionals provide candid briefings regarding high-profile tactical operations and noteworthy major investigations. Other speakers address topics such as officer wellness and resiliencyvictimology and other contemporary law enforcement issues. There is no other forum where you are afforded the opportunity to see so many valuable presentations in a single setting.

2. Physical fitness training

I appreciated the physical training program. I found that I did my required workouts and fitness challenges and often still felt good enough to do something else on my own later in the day. Some classmates even hosted classes for fellow students on everything from CrossFit to yoga.

The capstone of the fitness program is the “Yellow Brick Road,” a 6.1-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the Marines. Runners climb over walls, wade through creeks and navigate obstacles before completing a road run back to the FBI Academy. Students completing the course are awarded a yellow brick with their session number on it to commemorate the event. The course is known as the “Yellow Brick Road” because it’s marked by yellow stones at various spots along the trail. The FBINA has awarded the yellow bricks since 1988. Many graduates have remarked on the automatic connection felt when meeting another law enforcement official if they spot a yellow brick displayed in that person’s office. 

3. Networking

Without question, meeting so many other law enforcement leaders from around the world is the highlight of attending the FBINA. It’s a unique privilege to be around people who have traveled similar roads you have, faced similar challenges, or can simply identify with your triumphs and frustrations. I am not particularly outgoing but made a deliberate effort to meet as many people as I could.

Unique things happen in each session; some of my classmates lost loved ones, some suffered injuries or overcame medical challenges. These hardships solidified bonds of friendship and often served as rallying points to support our classmates. There were lots of funny and mundane things we did to pass the time. I participated in dice games, with nothing more than bragging rights at stake, with all the enthusiasm and intensity of a Vegas high-roller. Admittedly, I really miss those games; in truth, not so much the games, but the camaraderie that comes from spending time with great people.”

Needless to say, the impact on Law Enforcement by the graduates of the FBI National Academy has resulted in professional leadership for more than 80 years beyond just here in Minnesota and the United States but throughout the world.  The success of these NA graduates truly reflects the goals established in the foundation of the National Academy program.  All the major law enforcement associations to include: The International Association of Chiefs of Police, The National Sheriffs Association, Police Executive Research Foundation, recognize the National Academy as the leading law enforcement educational / training program in the world.

John H. Campbell

Professor Emeritus

St. Cloud State University 

 

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