West Bloomfield Police Lt. Kevin Roy recently had the opportunity to participate in FBI National Leadership Academy training.
WEST BLOOMFIELD — An aspiration that spanned more than five years recently came to fruition for West Bloomfield Police Lt. Kevin Roy.
After asking for the opportunity to attend the FBI National Leadership Academy training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., Roy said he was on “the list” for about six years before he finally got his chance. to try his luck earlier this year. .
The training lasts 10 weeks, and after having started it in January, Roy finished it in March.
As part of the training, he took courses in leadership psychology, forensics, major crime scene management, communications, national security and law enforcement aptitude, which consisted in physical training three times a week in order to prepare for the “Yellow Brick Road”, which is a 6 mile obstacle course.
During the 10 weeks Roy was away from home, he also visited the New York Police Department headquarters, the 9/11 site and memorial, and One World Trade Center.
Roy has also visited many sites in Washington, DC, including the National Holocaust Museum, the National African American Museum, and the Law Enforcement Memorial site.
According to Roy, there were 258 participants from all 50 states, as well as 36 international students.
He said many people were applying to be part of the training.
“You have to go through an FBI process, determine that you are qualified for the courses, and when they determine that you are eligible, you are put on a list,” Roy said. “Some people die on this list (or) leave or retire before they’re called.”
Roy said “it’s pretty rare” to take training at the FBI National Leadership Academy. At the West Bloomfield Police Department, only he, Chief Michael Patton and Deputy Chief Curt Lawson have experienced this.
“Not many people have the experience,” Roy said. “There are not a lot of people who are being offered this opportunity, and then there are people who are maybe being offered, but they just can’t imagine themselves moving for 10 weeks, because it takes move and live there for 10 weeks. It’s a hardship for some, so I’m sure it eliminates some people.
Lawson reflected on some positives he took from the training.
“The FBI National Academy provides the best instruction, while allowing the student to interact daily with police leaders around the world,” Lawson said via email. “I met with police chiefs from Pakistan, Jordan, the Philippines, Brazil and Australia, to name a few. It is invaluable to be interested in new progressive philosophies in law enforcement. I am convinced that Lieutenant Roy will never forget his experiences. … At the same time, (he) improved his knowledge and became an even greater leader and supervisor.
Roy graduated from Waterford Kettering High School before attending Oakland Police Academy. He went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from Concordia University and also attended Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
Roy, 51, said the accommodations for the FBI National Leadership Academy training looked like dormitories. He had four “roommates” and he likened the living conditions to “being back in college, but with money”.
Roy had already been offered the opportunity to be part of the training about two years ago, but after being accepted, the program was put on hold due to COVID-19.
He thought his opportunity had passed until he was approached by an FBI representative last September at a conference on Mackinac Island.
“He’s the one managing the Michigan attendees for the academy, and he pulled me aside on the island and (said) they had seats open because they were starting again after COVID…and m asked if I was still interested and offered me a spot while I was on the island,” Roy said.
Roy, who has worked for the West Bloomfield Police Department for about 29 years, recalled his reaction as relief.
“I didn’t think my number was going to be called until I retired, which isn’t very far in the near future,” he said. “So with COVID stopping everything for two years, I thought, ‘This will end my luck. So I was excited and looking forward to it – I waited a long time.
Attending and completing training at the FBI National Leadership Academy puts Roy in rare company, and it’s not an achievement he took for granted.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “You are part of a small fraternity of people across the country who are graduates of the NA. You make a lot of connections and develop relationships while you’re there, and there aren’t many graduates living in the country within (the) law enforcement profession. So it’s an honor to be offered and asked, and it was a great experience.
Roy said what was probably the hardest part of his experience was being away from his family for such a long time.
“Fortunately, my wife has been very supportive and my two daughters are teenagers, so they are on their own. It would have been much more difficult if I had had babies; it would have been a big ask for my wife to handle everything for 10 weeks,” he said. “But I’m almost 52 and you miss them – 10 weeks is a long time. And you don’t realize it until you’re in the middle of it that 10 weeks away from home is is quite long.
Roy was impressed with the education he received during his training.
“The courses themselves are fantastic,” he said. “(The) subject matter experts brought in to teach the courses are second to none, and I hope this is information that will benefit this agency while I am here.”
Of the courses Roy took, he talked about the one that stood out the most.
“National Security class, I thought, was my best class,” he said. “A lot of the information they reveal and the contacts they gave us (gave us), I am able to report back here at West Bloomfield. … It was an extremely informative and interesting course.
Roy said the training takes place five days a week, with regular classes from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by guest speakers and evening presentations.
He shared some of the criteria required to get a coaching spot.
“You have to be a lieutenant or above,” Roy said. “We have a pretty rigorous background investigation process here (at West Bloomfield Police Department) to even get here, so if you’re here you’re probably going to pass their background investigation. … They must verify that all your educational efforts that they need have been met; they have to do national security clearances on you. They (sent) FBI agents here to interrogate me, interrogate colleagues, interrogate the chief, deputy chief, get their opinion on my character and personality, and if I have any issues that concern them, that would prohibit me to go.
Once that process was complete, Roy got the green light to be on the roster.
“And then it’s just a waiting game,” he said.
Despite the challenges of the 10-week training course, Roy does not regret having endured this “waiting game”.
“I would do it again, and I encouraged others here…there are a few lieutenants here, to apply,” he said. “And they should apply now, because there is a wait. …I strongly encourage people to apply, and if their number is called, to suck it up and realize you’ve been gone for 10 weeks, but it’s worth it in the end.