"High-speed" Airman selected for FBI National Academy

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- "Are you ready to go?"

Those were the first words Lt. Col. Kenneth O'Neil, 17th Security Forces commander, asked right before notifying Capt. Brian Copper, 17 SFS operations officer, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had selected him to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

"I thought Lt. Col. O'Neil was talking about me getting deployed again," said Capt. Copper. "I asked him, 'Where am I going now?"

Captain Copper said the news was such a big surprise that he asked, "Are you kidding me?" The commander immediately confirmed that he wasn't.

The officer from Beverly, Mass., said he wasn't expecting to be selected, since this was the first time he ever applied to the course.

The FBI is very strict about the selection process. Participation in the academy is by invitation only, though a nomination process is used for selecting participants which from every U.S. state, from U.S. territories and from over 150 foreign nations.

Only two members from the security forces career field in the Air Force are selected to attend every year, added Captain Copper, an 18-year-veteran.

Although the selection to the academy came as a big surprise to Captain Copper, his selection didn't surprise some of his fellow Airmen at the 17 SFS, which included Airman Stephen Rivera, a 17 SFS patrolman.

"Captain Copper received a Bronze Star last year for exceptional service during his last deployment to Camp Bucca in Iraq. That right there says a lot about the kind of officer the captain is.

"Captain Copper is what we at our squadron refer to as a 'high-speed' Airman. That is why I wasn't surprise to hear about Capt. Copper being selected," said Airman Rivera.

Captain Copper is scheduled to leave for the academy in January 2008. There he will be joined by leaders and managers of state and local police, sheriffs' departments, military police organizations, and federal law enforcement agencies.

For approximately three months, Captain Copper and those attending the academy will take undergraduate and/or graduate college courses related to law enforcement. Some of those areas are: Law, Behavioral Science, Forensic Science, Leadership Development, Communication and Health/Fitness. He will then return to Goodfellow. 

The captain said he hopes to learn as much as possible from the various topics and lessons covered at the academy.

Topics and lessons such as weapons tactics, media relations and international and domestic anti-terrorism training -- lessons which he believes will serve well when it comes to the challenges our military faces with today's on-going global war on terrorism.

Undoubtably, Captain Copper will continue to be referred to as a "high-speed" Airman.

(Information from the FBI National Academy home website was used for this article)