The National Academy was created in response to a study that illustrated the need for standardization and professionalization in law enforcement departments throughout the United States. The current academy, a 10-week program held four times annually, offers a comprehensive course of study that includes such subjects as law, behavioral science, forensic science, the terrorist mindset, communication, health and fitness, and leadership development.
“Each student is allowed to choose the courses that best fit their individual needs. I took classes ranging from employment law and legal issues for police operations to leading at-risk employees,” Pressley said.
“The instructors were terrific and knew the material inside and out. Obviously, I feel what I learned in the courses themselves will be very helpful in dealing with legal and liability issues to leading individual officers. It goes without saying that liability attaches to everything we do in law enforcement. I know that I am better prepared having completed this process. The Academy was another step in expanding my horizons and thinking on a higher level.”
Class sessions were held daily from 7:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Participants also participated in physical training throughout the week.
“Lt. Pressley has been a valuable asset for this police department. His level of professionalism exceeds the norm,” Greer Police Chief Dan Reynolds said. “The National Academy is an excellent program that both trains the officers in current policing strategies and allows them to network with command staff from from other states and around the world. I feel that Lt. Pressley has acquired skills throught this program that will further advance our community policing efforts.”
Pressley is the third current member of the Greer Police Department to have completed the program, joining Capt. Matt Hamby and Lt. Cris Varner as National Academy graduates.
Invitations to participate in the National Academy are determined by a competitive nominating process and are extended to leaders/managers of local police/sheriff’s departments from all U.S. states, U.S. territories and more than 150 international partner nations. The process can take nearly a decade for some applicants, although Pressley was accepted two years after applying to the Academy.
The opportunity to meet and learn from other law enforcement professionals from around the world provided perspective for Pressley.
“There were officers in my session from 49 states and 24 countries,” Pressley said. “I had opportunities to learn from other law enforcement leaders about how they conduct certain operations or handle situations that we see here in Greer. In the end, I was reminded that we really do have a very good police department.”
In addition to preparing students for complex contemporary challenges through innovative techniques, superior education/research and a network of partnerships, the National Academy closes with an optional physical fitness test known as “The Yellow Brick Road.” Pressley took on and completed the grueling 6.1-mile run through lowlands, woods, muddy waters and simulated windows, up hills, over walls, under barbed wire and across a cargo net.
By successfully graduating from the program, Pressley is now a member of the FBI National Academy Associates. The organization includes more than 15,000 law enforcement professionals who strive to improve competency, cooperation and integrity throughout the world law enforcement community.