Radnor Township Police Department's Lt. Andy Block just came back from the FBI National Academy, a 10-week training course in Quantico, Virginia by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Academy, started in 1935, is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement leaders "that serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge, and cooperation worldwide."
Block said he received instruction on everything from media relations to terrorism to physical fitness. The classes, which were accredited through University of Virginia, each required at least one research paper, a midterm and final exam.
Block said he was challenged academically, but the total experience was "lesson in leadership." Each session brings together 250 to 270 law enforcement officials from all over the world. They network, exchange ideas and get to know each other.
"The whole experience refines your thinking process," said Block, who was encouraged to apply to the elite Academy by Radnor Township Police Department's Superintendent William Colarulo. Colarulo completed the the FBI National Academy in 1998.
The Academy is well-known for its physical challenge, which is called the "Yellow Brick Road." Every Wednesday at 8 a.m. there would be a physical challenge that would build up to the Yellow Brick Road, a 6.1 mile obstacle course designed by U.S. Marines. "Some people would dread Wednesday mornings. I looked forward to it. It was a challenge," Block said.
"It was truly an awesome experience," he said. "You come to know 270 people and you work together." Block said the Academy was the pinnacle of his personal and professional life.