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E-Letter from America

The Association’s NEC representative for gender, Det Supt Sam De Reya, is swapping Devon and Cornwall Police for the USA as she spends the next 10 weeks at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

She’ll be blogging her experiences for us here.

I’m about to embark on one of the most interesting experiences of my career and one I have been waiting for almost five years!

In 2013 I was DCI on the UNIFI project when I had a phone call from DCC Zinzan with some exciting news.

I would get the chance to join the FBI National Academy for 10 weeks in Quantico Virginia with US law enforcement leaders and a small number of other international students.

Fast forward to 2018 and here I am preparing and packing for this adventure… what do you pack for the FBI?!

I am incredibly privileged to have secured this place, and I want to share some of it from a professional and personal perspective.

So, standby for a regular run-down of my journey over the next few weeks.   I hope it will be informative and interesting and may even inspire some of you in your career choices!

Prep before I depart

Thanks to a full morning on the range prior I hopefully won’t embarrass myself with my course colleagues who I am suspect all carry guns as part of their ‘day job’.

I’ll update on this in future posts but I would recommend anyone without firearms experience spends some time with our firearm units.

I had a heightened appreciation and respect for this specialism after a briefing from Ivan Kingdom and then a familiarisation to handle and shoot a firearm.

The weight, responsibility and severity of their role in the service and out in our communities really hit home to me: they operate armed and ready, prepared to use the force they have been entrusted with but always wanting never to have to.

Setting off

The Friday night before I travel, we have a last meal as a family and watch the final of RuPaul’s Drag Race for our send off.  I hide notes around the house for the kids to find, and leave cards and presents for the birthdays I will miss over the next two-and-a-half months.

After a heart-wrenching goodbye to my children, who I will see in five weeks’ time when they come to visit for 10 days, my husband and I hit the road at 0430 heading for Heathrow.

I have packed light as it will be hot and I am sharing a room with another student so there isn’t much space.  A second huge suitcase contains a selection of police helmets and a load of good old British memorabilia for gifts: mugs, tea, key rings, police badges and flags for gifts and the international night each of the students have to host.

This has resulted in limited capacity for shoes and books but I won’t be needing much as I’ll be wearing a basic FBI uniform Monday to Friday with phys kit for training in between.

So farewell UK…

I feel excited as well as apprehensive and emotional to be leaving the country for such an extended period of time, being separated from my children and living and studying with over 200 people in another country.

This is a decision we have made as a family and I am so grateful they are all supporting me to do this.

Being a ‘lastminute.com’ type of person I read my FBI Orientation booklet on the way to airport.

I don’t seem to have forgotten anything so I settle in for the flight