Sequim police Lt. Sheri Crain packed her bags on Jan. 5 and flew to Charlottesville, Va., to begin training at the FBI National Academy.
Crain is the first Sequim police officer to attend the academy, a prestigious program according to SPD chief Bill Dickinson. “Less than one half of 1 percent of law officers have this opportunity,” he said.
Crain was accepted to the academy shortly after Dickinson nominated her, to the chief’s surprise.
“She got in as fast as I’ve seen,” said Dickinson, who has known officers to be wait-listed for as long as two years before being invited to attend the academy.
The academy offers courses through the University of Virginia at the bachelor and master degree levels.
Over the next 10 weeks, Crain will train at the master level in courses from physical fitness to forensics.
“It’s quite a commitment, to go away from your family for three months,” said Dickinson, who has attended the academy twice, once for the initial training and the second time for the Law Enforcement Executive Development program.
Training will be almost military in style, waking each morning for physical training, breakfast and then classroom work for the rest of the day with a single break for lunch. Dickinson says he’s confident Crain will handle the work easily.
“She’s very bright, inquisitively minded, and she likes to learn.”
One of the most important parts of the training isn’t in the classroom, but the networking available to Crain, Dickinson said. These contacts will help her when she comes back to Sequim to work with the multiple agencies she’ll need to handle while working as an officer on the peninsula. Having an inside perspective on how federal agencies work will help her combine efforts to work more fluidly with federal agencies like the DEA, Border Patrol and Coast Guard.
“The feds work up here where we aren’t,” Dickinson says, raising a hand above his head and placing a hand below his waist, “and we work down here where they aren’t.”
As an example, Dickinson says that the boat that exploded in John Wayne Marina involved the Coast Guard, DEA and Clallam Sheriff’s Office, as well as Sequim’s finest. Crain’s experience and insight will be valuable to streamlining jurisdiction and communications among these four different agencies.
While Crain will graduate from the school near the end of March, Dickinson says she’ll be taking time off to do some sightseeing on the East Coast with her husband, Pat. Dickinson expects her to be back to work during the first week of April.