SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Police Capt. Jim Ryan is now a member of an elite club of law enforcement officers, not only within his own department, but also around the world.

Last week, Ryan graduated from the 10-week FBI National Academy in Qunantico, Va. as part of its 265th session.

“It was an impressive group of officers I had the opportunity to train with. Their insights and experiences provided invaluable lessons learned,” Ryan said. “The group collectively had over 4,600 years of law enforcement experience. The academy pushed you to think of different approaches to the issues we confront on a daily basis. It was a unique chance to share ideas with senior law enforcement leaders from around the world.”

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Ryan is one of only a handful of South Brunswick police officers in the agency’s 60-year history to attend this high-level training, including former Chief of Police Michael Paquette, Deputy Chief James Stoddard, former Deputy Chief Kevin Hughes, Former Chief Frederick Thompson, Former Captain Mark Montagna and Officer Joe Ducca.

According to the department, the National Academy has been around since 1935 and provides advanced training as well as teaches cooperation between the different levels of law enforcement from local, state and federal agencies.

Ryan’s class included 230 officers from 47 states and 24 countries, according to the organization.

Those agencies included small towns, colleges, cities and military law enforcement personnel.

Training included classwork with veteran FBI special agents and experts through the University of Virginia and intense physical training.

According to the organization, the curriculum has been adjusted to face the new challenges of the 21st century, including homegrown and international threats by extremists as well as building better relationships with the communities they serve.

FBI Director James Comey discussed many of these new challenges during the graduation ceremony last week.

In his comments, Comey said officers now face “unprecedented” challenges including social unrest and increasing threats from terrorists.

He said law enforcement needs to continue to engage communities to generate support and indicated the speed at which terrorist work is making the world a much smaller place, and law enforcement needs to respond with improved networking.

In order to attend the prestigious academy, candidates need to be recommended by a law enforcement leader and be invited by the academy’s administrators, according to the organization.

There is a waiting list and candidates can wait years to attend.

The 49,464 graduates, since the academy began, represent less than 1 percent of law enforcement officers and is the highest achievement in that career field, according to the organization.

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