FBI CAAA Portland: A Decade of Service
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recognizes the value in developing strong relationships with local communities and maintaining collaborative connections with community leaders. To accomplish this directive, the FBI established the FBI Citizens Academy program. Originating with the Phoenix, Arizona office in the early 1990s, 56 FBI field offices throughout the country now implement the program.
The Portland Chapter of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBICAAA) officially came into existence July 2006 as the membership installed its first Board of Directors. Work had begun more than a year prior, however, by five very dedicated Citizens Academy graduates (and now Lifetime Members): Carol Bruneau, Chuck Whitlock, Dan Dunnington, Bob Lowry and Mike Dykzeul. Over the years, the membership has grown from a few dozen graduates to well over 200 members today.
In the early days, the organization helped to support the Portland Division’s fraud education programs with ScamJam events – conferences aimed at teaching senior citizens and business owners about the dangers of online schemes and old-fashioned scams. The FBICAAA also made honoring the service of emergency responders on 9/11 a priority and developed large-scale education efforts around the issue of child sex trafficking. Members organized tours offering the opportunity to visit FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. and the FBI Academy at Quantico. Members could also take part in many local tours of prisons and jails, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, the Port of Portland, the NW Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, Nike, Intel and more – tours still available to members today.
The Portland FBICAAA is comprised of graduates of the FBI Citizens Academy program, an engaging six-to-eight-week program that gives business, religious, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI. Candidates for the program are nominated by FBI employees, former Citizens Academy graduates and community leaders. Participants are selected by the special agent in charge of the local FBI field office.
Hosted two to three times per year, the Citizens Academy includes once-per-week sessions to educate businesses, community leaders and the media on the FBI’s efforts against terrorism, counterintelligence, espionage, violent crimes, white-collar crimes, civil rights, hate crimes, cybercrimes and more. Graduates of the Portland FBICAAA voluntarily support community service, education and outreach on crime prevention, law enforcement and the justice system. FBICAAA is a nonprofit organization separate and apart from the FBI.
Currently, working with key staff and volunteer leaders of FBI Citizens Academy Alumni organizations, Portland FBICAAA’s goals include:
- Providing the FBI /CA Alumni with opportunities to network, keep in touch with one another and the FBI after they graduate through participation in special events, presentations, community outreach, continued training opportunities and social gatherings;
- Assisting to provide FBI CA classes and alumni development efforts with resources, training, information, and technical assistance as needed supporting the use of best practices;
- Promoting the importance of FBI CA’s and OC/FBI/CAAA as community ambassadors educating local communities in Oregon about federal law enforcement issues and challenges;
- Provide the Oregon FBI Field Offices with volunteer/non-financial support in community outreach programs.
Over the last decade, the Portland FBICAAA has honed in its focus on several areas of community service and currently offers several programs designed to serve the community in needed areas.
The Teen/Youth Academy allows high school students an opportunity to get a comprehensive look into today’s FBI during instruction and demonstrations at the field office. Students are provided with several presentations on topics, including terrorism, cyber, public corruption, polygraph exams, evidence response, SWAT, and the day-to-day operations of a typical FBI office.
Child ID App
This recently launched and first mobile application created by the FBI provides a convenient place to electronically store photos and vital information about your children on your smartphone. In the event a child goes missing, users can show the pictures and provide physical identifiers such as height and weight to security or police officers on the spot and can quickly and easily e-mail the information to authorities. The app also includes tips on keeping children safe, as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing.
FBI-SOS is a free, fun, and informative program that promotes cyber citizenship by educating students in third to eighth grades on the essentials of online security. For teachers, the site provides a ready-made curriculum that meets state and federal Internet safety mandates, complete with online testing and a national competition to encourage learning and participation. A secure online system enables teachers to register their schools, manage their classes, automatically grade their students’ exams, and request the test scores.
Countering Violent Extremism
This interactive website uses activities, quizzes, videos and other materials to teach teens how to recognize violent extremist messaging and become more resistant to self-radicalization and possible recruitment. The website makes teens aware of the destructive reality of various forms of violent extremism, including hateful attacks based on race, religion, or other factors. The program encourages teens to think for themselves and display a healthy skepticism if they come across anyone who appears to be advocating extremist violence.
The FBI Community Relations Executive Seminar Training (CREST) is a shorter, more focused version of the FBI Citizens Academy Program and is designed to build trust and strengthen relationships between the FBI and the communities we serve. Classes are taught by FBI executives, senior special agents, and program managers. Participants are selected by members of their organizations or community.
Though a young organization, the Portland Chapter of FBICAAA has had some impressive accomplishments. It has grown to over 200 members, raised awareness of the FBI’s role in the community and formed relationships with area organizations through fund raising, social activities, educational talks, site visits, and member donations.
The Portland Division is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2017 Citizens Academy. The program will begin April 19 and run every Wednesday through May 24, 2017. The application deadline is February 15, 2017. For more information, contact Outreach Specialist Antonia Kreamier: [hidden email]