The FBI Phoenix Citizens Academy program was launched in 1994 at the FBI's Phoenix Division by then-Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Jim Ahearn. Ahearn decided on the "Citizens Academy" model based on his experience with a local police agency with the hope of strengthening the field office's relationship with the community.
Since inception, over 1,800 community, civic business, labor, media, minority, law enforcement, government, and religious leaders in Arizona have been educated about federal law enforcement issues and challenges. Nationally, over 10,000 citizens have participated in Citizens Academies offered at Field Offices across the United States and at the FBI Academy Quantico, VA.
The goal of the Citizens Academy is to foster a greater understanding of the FBI's role in the community through open discussion and to support the FBI's efforts to deliver information about their role, tools, tactics, jurisdiction, and vision for the future in national law enforcement, homeland defense, and counter-terrorism on all levels.
Classes are taught by the Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASACs), and Supervisory Special Agents (SSAs), over a 6-8 week period featuring a curriculum including:
Business, community, civic, and religious leaders are each nominated by a Bureau employee or a previous Academy graduate in the Fall for the Class the following Spring. You must be at least 21 years old (with no prior felony convictions) and must live and work in the area covered by the field office sponsoring the Academy. Please note: Because confidential techniques used in criminal and national security cases are discussed, nominees must undergo a background check, fingerprint check and get an interim security clearance.