BARNEGAT, NJ – When Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain leaves for Quantico next week, he joins a select group of 35 international law enforcement leaders. Less than one percent of all law enforcement officers globally are afforded the opportunity to attend the esteemed FBI National Academy.

The cost of the eleven-week training, meals, and lodging are all borne by the FBI.  Germain and the rest of his group make up Session #278 of the FBI National Academy. Currently, there’s a five-year waiting list for attendees. Meanwhile, candidates first need to be sponsored, qualified, and accepted into the program.

During Germain’s absence, Captain Ryan Dugan will take over command of the Barnegat Police Department. Dugan has more than thirty years within the agency.

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For the Barnegat police chief, it’s critical that he has strong leadership in place before he leaves for what he refers to as the “West Point of law enforcement development.”

 “We are blessed with great leaders, both formal and informal, from the top to bottom of this organization,” shared Germain. “When your talent pool is that deep, you can take advantage of a once in a lifetime training opportunity like this, knowing that the agency won't miss a beat in your absence." 

 FBI National Academy Experience

In order to qualify for the FBI National Academy, candidates need to demonstrate leadership ability on a local level. There’s no doubt that Germain is well-regarded both in Barnegat and throughout Ocean County. He also prides himself on accessibility and working with both the township committee and school district.

The FBI National Academy represents challenges on a few levels. In a recent presentation to a class of Academy graduates, FBI Director Christopher Wray summed up the experience. “You pushed yourselves, and you pushed others,” he said. “From the challenges of the classroom to the rigors of the Yellow Brick Road.”

Among other things, Germain faces fitness tests.  Government resources refer to the Yellow Brick Road as “a grueling 6.1-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the Marines. Along the way, participants must climb over walls, run through creeks, jump through simulated windows, scale rock faces with ropes, crawl under barbed wire in muddy water, maneuver across a cargo net, and more.”

In the meantime, the physical aspects of the training are only one part of the experience. A great deal of the focus is on establishing and forging partnerships.

Relationships are something that Germain already recognizes as a critical part of law enforcement leadership. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to Germain that some of his Ocean County counterparts embrace the concepts of the National Academy.

“When I think of highly-effective police chiefs who I often look to for advice and guidance, many of them-- such as Chief Lisa Parker in Manchester or Chief Tom Dellane in Stafford-- are National Academy graduates, “said Germain. “When accomplished professionals like that tell you that the National Academy is the best leadership development experience of their careers, you pay attention.”

TapINTOBarnegatWaretown will catch up with Germain and announce his graduation. In the meantime, the Barnegat chief plans to share his experience on his Twitter feed @BTPD318.

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at sfaughnan@tapinto.net.