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History of the National Academy


FBI National Academy Associates, Inc

The National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, unofficially known as the Wickersham Commission, was established by President Herbert Hoover on May 20, 1929. The Commission was charged with surveying the U.S. criminal justice system under Prohibition and making recommendations for public policy. One of the recommendations from the commission included standardization and professionalization of law enforcement departments across the U.S. through centralized training. With the publication of the Commission’s report in 1931 and strong support from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the United States Congress authorized FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to establish a nationally formalized police executive training curriculum, thus the formation of the “FBI Police Training School” in 1935. The objective was to establish a forum for state and local law enforcement leaders to enhance their individual abilities to openly discuss issues impacting their communities and to establish best practices to combat crime and address community needs. Courses at that time included scientific aids in crime detection, preparation of reports, criminal investigation techniques, and administration and organization. The 12-week training course was originally conducted in Washington, D.C. by members of the FBI training staff and recognized outside experts. Hoover’s FBI Police Training School was renamed the FBI National Police Academy in 1937 and changed again in 1944 to the present name of the FBI National Academy.



Attendees to the National Academy are primarily all state, county, and municipal law enforcement executives that play key decision-making roles within their individual organizations. The academy is not exclusive to just U.S. law enforcement. In 1937, the first international police organization was represented – the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Today, each class is comprised of about 20 representatives from foreign countries. Each National Academy session consists of 265 attendees and the academy conducts four session a year; all held at the FBI training facility in Quantico, Virginia. This training program is considered elite and has a very competitive selection process. Only 1 % of all of law enforcement are part of the National Academy program.