Earning New Perspectives: Captain Jason Myrick of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office completes training at the FBI’s National Academy

Captain Jason Myrick now has another accomplishment to add to his already impressive resume: He recently graduated from the FBI National Academy, becoming the sixth Shelby County Sheriff’s Office officer to complete the prestigious training.

The Executive Level program is designed for leaders in law enforcement organizations around the world. It offers courses in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science. The aim is to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.

Myrick originally planned to start training in January 2020, but the session was canceled due to the emerging threat of COVID-19.

“I had come to the point of reconciling the fact that I might never go there,” Myrick said. “I thought my retirement was going to happen here before I had the chance to attend.”

However, the restrictions were lifted and Myrick, who was supposed to be in the No. 282 class, was bumped up to the No. 280 class due to multiple openings.

Myrick, who is the commander of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Division and Special Operations Group, visited the FBI campus in Quantico, Va., in October to participate in a 10 week training.

He said that although the group was much smaller than usual, having fewer participants was not necessarily a bad thing.

“Our class was cut in half to about 132 students, but what was cool was that our group was smaller [was] we got to know everyone,” he said.

His classmates included local and county law enforcement and federal agency employees from across the United States and other countries around the world. There were people from different walks of life who all perform the same functions in their jobs, but in a different way, Myrick said.

“All of these people were there together for 10 weeks, and the real value was that we were able to tap into each other’s experiences in life and professionally,” Myrick said. “We were able to develop friendships for the rest of our lives. It was such a moving experience.

The class schedule included three classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and two on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But before learning began, the first thing every day was a fitness class.

Myrick said he really enjoyed the media relations course. It started with an on-camera interview where he had to answer tough questions and provide answers on the spot. Guest speakers included former Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, known as one of the best on-camera police chiefs, and Detroit Deputy Police Chief Eric Ewing, who spoke about how Detroit attempts to change its public relations image.

Myrick’s other courses included Forensics for Managers, where he listened to former FBI negotiator Vince Dalfonzo, who was a vital part of the boy in a bunker negotiation during the Alabama bunker hostage crisis. in 2013 and the situation in 2009 when Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by Somali. hackers.

Difficult topics were covered in his category of high-risk jobs, including how an officer’s suicide and the long-term effects of the job can impact an officer’s mental health. Myrick said most officers suffer in silence and never say anything for fear of losing their jobs or losing credibility. This is something the SCSO has done a good job of combating, he said.

“We have a very comprehensive wellness program that we’ve developed that includes counsellors, nutritional health, financial health, and other resources, and I’m proud to say that speaking to my classmates, we we’re doing pretty well on that front,” Myrick said. .

He hopes the state of Alabama will adopt a law enforcement assistance program similar to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program, a state-funded comprehensive program for agents who, according to Myrick, should serve as a model.

“That’s what we need these days,” he said. “We need to focus on the health and well-being of our officers so they can retire and have a life after law enforcement. So many people don’t make it. Officer suicides are on the rise and we are trying to find better ways to help our people stay healthy.

Myrick said his risk management/stress management courses were the most beneficial for him and shed light on taking on more responsibility for officers and how they manage their work and life.

In addition to daily workouts, the physical aspect of the program included Friday morning circuit training, rotations, functional conditioning exercises, and strength and endurance training.

The final test of the fitness challenge was the Yellow Brick Road, a 6.1-mile run on a Marine Corp course. which requires crossing creeks, jumping through simulated windows, rock climbing, crawling under barbed wire and more. Those who completed the test – which Myrick did – received a yellow brick to commemorate their achievement.

The group attended Friday afternoon seminars on a variety of topics, including racism in the police, how the police are viewed in America, and other issues designed to help build empathy and have a level response, Myrick said.

“For so long law enforcement has been associated with force and it has come to have negative connotations,” he said. “It needs to have a more cooperative or community-related response and find different ways to achieve the same goal, but broaden the horizons to get to the end result we want. I think the public demands it of us. Sheriff [John] Samaniego is very keen on us being very balanced in how we see things and having a professional response and showing courtesy and protecting our citizens.

On weekends, the group took class-led trips to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Washington D.C.; New York; Philadelphia Cream; the Law Enforcement Museum; the African American Museum and more.

“All of these enrichment tours have helped us gain a better perspective of the world as a whole, which will help us be better leaders moving forward,” he said.

Myrick completed the course and graduated from FBI National Academy Session No. 280 on December 16. His wife, Erin, and son, Brennan, were present at the ceremony, along with FBI Director Chris Gray.

Samaniego said the Sheriff’s Department is honored to have exemplary individuals like Myrick at the agency and serving the citizens of Shelby County.

“We are proud to have another of Shelby County’s top graduates from the FBI National Academy and we are even happier to have him home. He has had an outstanding career and we look forward to more achievements in his future,” he said.

Myrick said one of the biggest things he learned at the National Academy was perspective and how to be a more empathetic leader in the decisions he makes. He is also happy with the friendships he has made and how they will help him in the future.

“It really extended our ability to work,” he said. “We may not have the resources to work, but now I have extended family that I can reach out to and find someone who will help us get what we need.”

Myrick will soon be 50 years old and has a total of 31 years in law enforcement, including five years as a marine police officer and 26 as a civilian officer. Although he looks to the future, he said things are going well in the present.

“There will be something next; I’m just waiting to see what it is,” Myrick said. “I will be here for the foreseeable future. I don’t know what the future really holds for me, but I love what I do, and as long as I love it, I will continue to do it.


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Richard V. Johnson