A member of the Campus Police at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College will travel to Virginia for a prestigious learning experience in October. Deputy Chief of Police Matt Swain will soon be part of less than one percent of the nation’s police officers that are able to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
“It is an honor,” Swain said. “It’s something that not a lot of folks get the opportunity to do. I’m very thankful for it.”
The 10-to-12-week curriculum is customized by students depending on their interests and what will best suit their employment, and Swain will focus on learning to be an effective leader, he said.
“Being young and having this opportunity is huge, and being able to learn from those that have 20,000-man departments to those who have 10-man departments and how they deal with situations and learn how it’s done all across the country, I think will be a great experience,” said Swain, who started with Campus Police as a student security officer in 2002 while studying criminal justice at Fairmont State and was hired as an officer in 2006.
The academy will help him learn new technology and new ways to help the department advance, he said.
Crime changes with society, so his training will give him resources to better serve the campus by being proactive instead of reactive.
“Being a campus law enforcement officer, I’m able to do some things that others maybe in the city or county don’t,” said Swain. “Our population is always changing every four years as we get new students in. We get different cultures, and it’s very diverse here on campus.”
He wants to continue to help all students on campus get a college degree, not a criminal record, he said.
The training will also help Swain obtain a college degree.
Graduates get a certificate from the FBI NationalAcademy, but he will also leave with credit hours toward a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Virginia.
All of this is possible because Chief of Police & Director of Emergency Management Jack Clayton nominated Swain for an invitation to the academy.
“I felt that was a good opportunity for him as one of our administrative officers to be exposed to some of the latest technology and management training to better prepare him for his career here at the University and Pierpont,” Clayton said.
The department has grown significantly in the last few years, and Swain has played a key role in that development, he said.
He serves as the force’s fire arms instructor, and he is the Clery Act coordinator.
The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses.
“He’s coordinated that and basically put our program into place in terms of how it works internally,” Clayton explained.
Swain will begin the academy Oct. 5, and his graduation date is tentatively set for Dec. 19.
He is grateful for his nomination, he said, and owes this rare opportunity to Chief Clayton.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have this opportunity,” said Swain. “He believes in me and gives me the opportunities and the tools that I need to succeed.”
This story by Chelsi Baker originally appeared in the Times West Virginian on Sept. 2, 2014, and is reposted here with permission. Contact Baker firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.