Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

December 29, 2010, Page 2

Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon



Backus attends FBI National Academy



Clark County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Jim Backus (above) poses at an FBI National Academy entrance.  Backus recently attended the 10-week program at the academy (below) in Quantico, VA to learn more about law enforcement. (Contributed photos)



By Peter Spicer


Clark County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Jim Backus recently completed his goal to attend the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, located at the U. S. Marine Corps Base, approximately 35 miles south of Washington D. C.


Backus began to consider attending the academy, which allowed him to further develop his professional skills, approximately four years ago.  The FBI National Academy was available for middle to upper law enforcement management.


Backus applied and was accepted in 2008 and found out in fall 2009 he would be attending the 10-week program in September this year.


Backus wanted to attend the academy, because it "made me work harder in what I do," explained Backus, who added he wanted to learn more about law enforcement.


The application process was a thorough one, which included a detailed background check and physical requirements, said Backus, who added less than one-half of one percent of law enforcement officers in the country are selected to attend the academy.


"When I learned of the program, I made it a professional and personal goal to attend this - which I did have to work hard for," explained Backus.


The academy focused on education and physical fitness, said Backus, who earned 18 college credits from Virginia University for completing the program.


Backus, who attended the academy with three others from Wisconsin, was one of 265 participating in the program, which started Sept. 27 and ended Dec. 10.  The 265 participants included 23 international attendees, Backus explained.


FBI teaching staff and other professional educators taught classes, which focused on leadership development and emphasized critical thinking.


Classes featured topics such as legal issues, leadership, behavioral science, forensic science, law enforcement communications, fitness/health and a specialized instruction program in law enforcement arts.


Backus attended weekly classes from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and took additional classes Wednesday.


In addition to the extra Wednesday classes, Backus also had to complete physical training each Wednesday, as well.


Backus received a taste of college life at the academy, where he stayed in a dorm room, had a roommate and ate cafeteria food.


The training started with one and one-half mile runs, but the training became more rigorous each week, concluding with the "yellow brick road," a 6.1 mile run and obstacle course.


Backus finished the "yellow brick road" and received a yellow brick for the accomplishment.


The guest speakers who addressed those attending the academy were "truly amazing," said Backus, who explained one of those speakers was Michael Durant, an author and highly decorated former U. S. Army Pilot who was once held prisoner by Somalis in 1993 when his helicopter crashed; Durant was portrayed in the movie "Black Hawk Down."


Backus also praised the instruction he and others received at the academy.  "[The] instructors were just absolutely top-notch," explained Backus.


Backus learned much during the 10 weeks, including how to handle specific situations; evidence collection techniques and resources the FBI could provide law enforcement agencies.


In addition to the knowledge Backus gained, he also had the opportunity to network with other officers to discuss law enforcement issues and has already been corresponding with those he met at the academy.


The academy stressed the importance of healthy eating and physical fitness, said Backus, who stated he now has an even better understanding of how important it is for county employees to eat well and exercise, which the county’s wellness program encourages.


Backus praised the Clark County Sheriff’s Department staff for allowing him to attend the academy.


"If it wasn’t for the great staff around here, I wouldn’t have been able to do this either - they picked up the slack while I was gone," explained Backus, who added he stayed in contact with the sheriff’s department while at the academy and assisted with sheriff’s department issues that needed attention.


Backus also praised his family for supporting his goal to attend the academy.  "It was a great honor to be selected and then obviously be able to attend and complete the program," concluded Backus.