Sunday, January 14, 2018

FBI NA Week 1 - Session #271



It is Sunday January 14th, 2018, the FBI National Academy Session #271 has completed its first official week.


This week we all went through orientation, bought our uniforms, found our gym lockers and began all of classes.
Famous Hamsters tubes here


My schedule is as follows


  • Fitness in Law Enforcement (physical training)
  • Managing Organizational Change and Development
  • Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement
  • The Cyber Threat Landscape for Law Enforcement Executives
  • Media and Managing Law Enforcement Image
  • Contemporary Issues in LE - Seminar


All of these courses are graduate level (except for physical training)



We all had to get accessed and then run and qualify in the fitness test, I qualified. That means that I can now participate in the weekly challenges (every Wednesday). Most of our session qualified. Those that didn't will have a chance to re-test on Week 8.


We had to learn the hamster tubes (pictured) and take many wrong turns as we made our way to classes. At the NA if you have a BA/BS degree you must take graduate level classes. The cool thing is all of the classes are essentially in same building (even the gym) for the most part.


I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the level of instruction at the FBI academy. These professors are literally the best of the best. The PT instructors all have master’s degrees (Some have multiple degrees).  Very high level folks.


Everybody knows I love going to the gym and frankly that training has helped immensely here. However, the workouts they do here are no messing around. For crossfitters, we essentially did a Tabata style "Fran" (different movements but you get the drift) for our very first workout. I was fine; I felt like I always do after a benchmark WOD....I felt awesome.
KBS in the FBI Gym


About the gym, its super nice. There is a large weight room with every single machine, piece of equipment and about a zillion dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and some bells I'm sure....very nice. There is a very large room that we use to workout in. Its about the size of two basketball gyms. Its huge. They have large mats that cover the floor and we work out on those. Around the perimeter is multiple rowers, bikes and treadmills. There is a cardio room in a trailer just outside of the gym door. Beyond on that is the all-weather track and field house (its huge and used for over flow on busy gym days).


For my Media class I report to the PCL (media room). This room is essentially a TV studio. It is very cool and I can’t wait to get this class going.


I have already turned in 4 assignments for my classes. I've read all the books / references that I can. I just have to wait until next week’s classes so I can get the next set of assignments and get more done.
FBI Library


Food - the food here is outstanding. Curiously, it seems the FBI absolutely loves tater tots. I like them too, but they are served breakfast, lunch and some dinners, so I have had enough of them. Seriously, it’s a tater tot lovers heaven here at Quantico. I feel like I'm in the Land of Tatertotalonia with only a packet of ketchup to keep me alive. The food is really good though. We had pan steaks last night for dinner. Everything is labeled for caloric content, which is nice.



The weather is sort of nuts here for a guy from California. The other day it was almost 60 and folks were out in shorts and tanks enjoying the summer weather (in January in Virginia). Today its 15 degrees. The air bites you as you open the door outside. Literally takes your breath away. There is a little snow here and there, but mostly it’s clear. I plan on doing a little exploring later today and check out more of the base.


I’ll write a how to/what you should bring/prepare for the NA blog later. I have a few suggestions.


That is all for now. Have a great day, be good to each other. 


Chief

Monday, January 8, 2018

FBI NA Opening Day

Well I’ve arrived in Quantico, Virginia. I’m all settled in at the FBI National Academy. There is also a New FBI agents class here. They also started this week. They all look about 14 years old.

First impressions: This academy is very clean and nice. The instructors are top notch. The counselors are top notch. I went and looked at the gym, pool, track and library today. All I can say is wow. Super nice. The gym has every kind of machine and every thing you would need for crossfit.

Also, I did not know there was FBI Police. Now I do. Nice cats. The Marines at the checkpoints are awesome. These kids are all of 19 years old and are out there standing in the very low teens checking ID and vehicles. Super nice. I am going to give them something from HPD.

It’s is a ridiculous 17 degrees BTW.

Went through the uniform / gear line this morning. I am so glad I went early. It was nuts. There were some people in line for hours. If your coming to the FBI NA. On the first day, go eat early and get to the academy by 0700 hrs. Get your pic taken for your ID, get signed up for FBINAA and then run over to the store BEFORE 8 AM. I would recommend buying your khaki pants (5.11 type) before your come to the academy. I brought 4 pairs myself.

Layout: The FBI academy is set on the Quantico Marine Base. This base is massive. The academy is a secure area, inside of a secure area. That means, you have to show ID twice to enter the academy. The campus is huge. I mean enormous. I will take photos when I can and put them on the Chief David Westrick page on Facebook when I have a moment.

Currently: myself and the rest of the session attended our first briefing by the director of the national academy. All of the sections (there are 5) were there in the auditorium. Everyone was wearing their uniforms for the first time. I am in section 1. Each is an indicator of which group your doing PT with. So in other words I’m doing my PT in section 1.

Tomorrow: we have a briefing at 0730 hrs and then we will go thru the academies schedule and expectations. It’s a busy day. Classes start officially Wednesday.

I will post more when I csn give you a Week 1 wrap up.

Stay good to each other.

 Chief








Friday, January 5, 2018

The Butterfuly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is the simple concept that small causes can effect big things. Thoughts, ideas, actions, reactions all can be causes at one point or another. For the purpose of this discussion, lets focus on self, the world around us and the love we have for each other.

We are creatures of habit. (moms I'm not talking about you) We wake up, we check our social media feeds, we make coffee, we take a shower, we dress for success and then we go about our day. Its work, its school, its an activity...its something. That's self. We do those habitual things for our benefit usually. Not always, but usually.

Did we separate our recycling this morning? Did you feed the wild birds in the backyard? Did we feed the dog? Did we check on our elderly neighbor? Did you plan to go meet your new neighbors down the street? Did you make extra food for your roommate who's coming home late after work tonight? Did you donate your time off feeding the homeless? Did you donate blood this month? Did you buckle-up in front of your kids? Did you volunteer at the local animal shelter/rescue? Did you read to children at your local school? Did you call your Dad / Mom?


My point, we cant do everything, everyday, but we can do one thing everyday. We just have to pick something that does something positive in the world, each day.

That something can also be an expression of love for each other but doesn't have to be.

Here is what I am asking and really the reason I'm talking about the phenomenon. I will be out of town for the better part of three months. I would ask that each one of you try to do something positive, it can be small. We know that small positive changes can effect big things via the Butterfly Effect. My hope is that when I come back you will let me know about those small causes that effected the big things..

Just a short thought.

Chief


PS - I am going to try to blog each week my experiences at the FBI National Academy. Ill post them right here at mychiefthoughts.com



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Giving

I know I am blessed. I thank the lord each day for my good fortune, my family, my career, my friends and life. I had a great childhood having been raised in the beautiful Sierra Nevada's.

Each day was a new adventure.
Each day had promise.
Each day had opportunity.
Each day was a chance for greatness.

I give thanks for the great people I serve the City of Hollister with. We have a good crew of employees at Hollister Police Department and the City of Hollister. Altruistic folks one and all.

Unfortunately being blessed isn't shared by all in our region. There is real poverty here in our community. There is real need for services and life sustaining supplies here. Many families/children go to bed hungry and cold.

I know I cannot fix this myself. I know that the reality is, is somebody will most likely die because of our local conditions. That just isn't acceptable to me and it should not be to you either. A short string of bad luck, poor economy, sickness, accident or injury can change your world over night.

I cannot pay someone's PG&E bill,
I cannot put food in everyone's pantries,
I cannot provide warm clothes and beds for all in need,
I cannot even provide shelter to those that do not have any.

But for a brief moment, I can help a kid find a smile and you can help me and our police officers with that.

This year for the third year, our police department is going to work with Turning Wheels for Kids, a bay area non-profit that helps provide new bicycles and new helmets to kids in our region. Here is a press release I did yesterday that announces that - Press Release.

I would really love some help this year. Turning Wheels for Kids gives out new bicycles and new helmets through a grant. Our police department applies for the grant and also helps assemble the bikes with other volunteers with Turning Wheels for Kids on their build day.

We can handle the hard labor, but I'd love to get some silent auction items to take up to Turning Wheels for Kids from area businesses and residents. if inclined, you can drop items like gift baskets, gift cards or other items suitable for a silent auction to Hollister PD from 11/20/17 - 12/1/17 (by 5:00 PM!) during normal business hours Monday-Friday.

I am counting on your help because I want to grow our local program even more, because frankly I am selfish and want to see more or our local kids in need smile when they receive their free bicycle. We can even provide a receipt and for your tax deductible donation.

Anyway please consider helping us with this latest project. I truly appreciate any and all help.

Be good to each other,

Chief








Saturday, November 4, 2017

Crime Must Have Consequence



I’m not one to argue that all criminals need to go to jail. I believe that there are many folks, specifically first time offenders that could use counseling or other forms of therapy that could truly help them turn their lives around. But at the end of the day, crime must have some sort of consequence.

Several years ago in California our state government was sued because of overcrowding in our prison system. This was a hot button political item that had been brewing for several years. I don’t like to delve into politics because frankly it’s just not my cup of tea. However this lawsuit resulted in a court order that required our prisons to reduce its population. This court order was when A.B. 109 was born. 

A.B. 109 in short reclassified prisoners from mid threat to low threat and also reclassified those that are on parole and redefined what parole was in California. A.B. 109 was also sold to the voters as a cost saving measure for our state taxes. That little part of A.B. 109 turned out to be a wolf in sheep‘s clothing. Because the state shifted supervision of folks on parole for the most part to the counties. That also meant that some of these state prisoners would be shifted to county jails. County jails are simply not set up for long time prisoner housing. This caused and is still causing a huge burden on our counties and it’s judicial systems.

Again I won’t comment on the implications as they were advertised in this proposition. I won’t comment on the political side of this proposition. I only want to talk about the results of this proposition and the ones that were similar that followed (Props 47 & 57).

My thoughts today we’re sort of spurned on by the article that appeared in the San Jose Mercury news regarding how and what kinds of crimes Santa Clara county jail would now accept for booking. 

I don’t offer this opinion as any sort of criticism for the sheriffs office or prosecutors in Santa Clara County. They are the boots on the ground in their county and I do not know or have all the facts that they have, right now. But I believe that their action is a result of last six or seven years of these different varying bills and propositions that have come forward to the voters of our state and have been passed by the voters of our state (California). 

Certainly there are many examples of folks that have been caught up in crime a young age and have now rehabilitated themselves and are actively involved in the betterment of our communities. Many successful stories in this arena in our state. If you or one of those folks then I congratulate you and appreciate your hard work to overcome those issues, truly. 

I like to use examples because I think it aids folks understanding of a given issue and puts them in the drivers seat of their minds eye. 

So here’s my example of what is routine now when the police officer responds to a crime (within these guidelines) that has occurred. Take the example of the officer who responds to a petty theft at the commercial building say for examples sake a Target or Kmart. The officer responds to the call for service and makes contact with the reporting party. The reporting party at these facilities is usually a security officer. The reporting party then explains what he/she saw, provides the officer with video or other evidence. The officer makes contact with the perpetrator of this crime. Ten years ago we would arrest the suspect and later book them into a jail facility (or at least had that option). Now we respond to the crime scene and nine out of ten times we write a ticket for the crime. In my opinion that’s totally ineffective and complete nonsense. Imagine if you owned a small mom-and-pop store and you had to report a crime like this. You watch the officer walked in and write a ticket to the perpetrator. You watch the perpetrator walked out free as a bird before the officer did. That would be very frustrating for that store owner.

The ugly truth, and there are many that don’t want talk about now, is crime has increased in many locations throughout our great state. Crime in regards to burglaries, thefts and even some violent crime is on the increase. 

The great experiment is not working. And to me it appears to be an utter failure. 

If the intent was to reduce jail population because there was a court order for that then I agree that some crimes could be reclassified in order for those releases to take affect. However I do not think that this was studied long enough. I do not believe that there is adequate research that points to these particular crimes contained in A.B. 109, are the ones that are most effective for this purpose. Likewise I do not have a list of crimes that I feel personally, would be most effective because I have not studied it enough to draw any conclusions. I cannot totally fault the author of this assembly bill because I do not know the depth his or her research into the particular crimes listed to quantify the effectiveness for this purpose. I only know what I see now. What I see is not working.

What I believe is that legislative action needs to be taken on all or part of A.B. 109 and propositions 47 and 57. In theory all of these laws should have had the effect that was reported to have had. Its the application and the details that have gotten in the way. I think all of these laws need to be re-examined and adjusted with honest and measurable goals.

That’s my two cents on A.B. 109 , propositions 47 and 57. As I said in the beginning crime must have consequence. Consequence can be re-training, work furlough, counseling, jail, fines and other methods to help folks to curb themselves away from a life of crime. I think a combination of some of those or simply one of those can be effective for many of our offenders.

That is all I have for now. Be good to each other.

Chief








Wednesday, October 25, 2017

To Admit to Failure is to Admit to Humanity

Failure is a masterful teacher. I hope I am a leader that encourages new ideas. I really try to be. I fully understand that sometimes thinking outside of the box is risky. You will fail at times. Sometimes that’s a good thing and we learn.

I’ve failed many times. I have learned a little each time. I think government has failed a lot. My own profession has had its share of failures. It’s human. 

Failure inspired this blog.

I want to tell you a quick tale of one of my failures.

You know I try to live by the adage "always do what you say your going to do". Because if you don't, your just giving someone lip service, like any snake oil salesman or other less honorable occupation.

This is a story where I failed. I failed royally. 

But first and explanation on how I think. I believe my job is to:

  1. Provide a top notch police department for the residents of the City of Hollister.
  2. Provide the best training, equipment for our employees to make their job as safe as possible.
  3. Be accountable and as accessible as I possibly can be to the public.

I often get asked to write letters of recommendation or to be a reference for folks. I happily do it every single time because I know what it's like to need help like that, because I was in their place at one time. Well, I should say I do it every single time, except for one time, and failed to do it that time, on time. 

A dear friend's child messaged me well before the deadline for a needed letter of recommendation. I say dear friend, because she really is. She has been a friend to our little family for many years. Frankly more like family in many respects. She was one of the very first people to show up to help us after our house got turned into a drive-thru by a drunk driver. Truly she is a good friend. 

As I said, I was asked to write a letter of recommendation well before it was due. I happily agreed. I remember it was late when I received the message so, I figured I would go over what the letter needed later and get it done. Well you know what, I didn't do that. I forgot about it, well mostly. 

I won't fall on an easy excuse that I was too busy. It's true, I have things going on almost every day and night. But that's not an excuse. When you say you will do something, you do it, period. 

I got a message from my dear friend one day, weeks later. She said it was past the due date. I could tell she was upset. I was mortified and sick to my stomach. I failed a person that I truly care about. I was so wrapped up in the day-to-day things I do and failed to handle the thing right in front of my nose. The classic "cannot see the mountains beyond the trees" or vice versa scenario. 

I apologized profusely to both my friend and her child. Her child got a hold me little later and asked if I could still write a letter. I immediately dropped everything I was doing and wrote it and sent it over. 

This one stung. I still think about it and it bothers me. 

Lesson: 
1. Always do what you say will do, every time 
2. Learn from your failures and then move forward (still attempting on this one)

That is all,


Chief

Thursday, October 5, 2017

50 things I’ve learned along my 50 year journey, random facts, questions and general nonsense


50 things I’ve learned along my 50 year journey, random facts, questions and general nonsense 

  1. Family is your most important asset, period.
  2. Time is the best gift you can give your spouse, children, family and friends.
  3. The older I get the more I realize I have become my father, which is a good thing.
  4. Your sister/brother will always be for there for you anytime, anywhere for the rest of your life time and will help you shovel to cover the bodies.
  5. The number of hours of hard work I do now is equitable to the number of days it takes for my body to recover from that work.
  6. True love, takes your breath away and warms your heart.
  7. No matter how old you are, you need your mom sometimes.
  8. New experiences are needed to grow.
  9. When someone lies to you you never really get over it.
  10. You always remember that first teacher who made it click in your head. Mine was Mrs. Ritchie at Chawanakee School - Go Warriors!
  11. We all know someone that’s died in a DUI crash.
  12. My first job I cleaned bathrooms and kitchens. I was a janitorial engineer. People are really gross in bathrooms.
  13. I’ve never started a fight in my life, but I have finished many. 
  14. Being a police officer is scary, depressing and nerve-racking but I wouldn’t change a thing about my career.
  15. Being a police officer is one of the most noble professions one can endeavor to become. 
  16. Being a parent is scary, sometimes depressing, did I mention scary and the best experience I’ve ever had in my life
  17. My wife is my best friend she’s also my conscience and she’s also really really honest on how I dress, speak and generally appear to the public.
  18. Math is hard but is the most valuable tool and skill set you can have as an adult besides manners and communication skills.
  19. Physical fitness is the best gift you can give yourself
  20. Ketchup, barbecue sauce and mustard are probably the best foods ever invented because they make food taste better
  21. Friends, there’s always that one that knows you like their family. That person will be at your funeral or you will be at their’s - do the right thing and erase their browser history
  22. If you are an animal lover you will have many dogs or cats in your lifetime take solace in the fact that you gave them all a full life, joy and happiness for their short time here
  23. For me, Christmas is still the greatest holiday
  24. Make sure you say something on someone’s birthday wish them well
  25. A life spent outside in the woods is a life well spent
  26. You’re never too old to watch a really good Bugs Bunny cartoon
  27. There should be a law that requires You too enjoy good warm popcorn when you go to the movies
  28. Some people age gracefully, some people don’t. The graceful ones are probably using very expensive products, just saying
  29. There’s nothing better than a good pair of old jeans
  30. When I was young I wanted to fly to the moon. Now that I am not young I just want to get up from bed without my back hurting
  31. Never underestimate the power of a good meal together as a family
  32. Always say please, thank you, sir and ma’am
  33. Men always open the door for women
  34. Men when going to a special occasion always remember to tack up or at least wear a tie and jacket you can always take the tie/jacket off
  35. Men always make a big deal out of the ladies fingernails when they get them done, hair when she gets them done or she buys new shoes. Bonus points for noticing the new outfit as well
  36. When on a long walk/hike in the mountains, the mountains you see in the distance is probably still 20 miles away
  37. Fishing stories that discuss actually catching fish.....are always fishy.
  38. Everybody you know is going to eventually die, it’s depressing but that’s the way life works
  39. Greatest gift you can give the world is your example and your kids been awesome carrying on that example.
  40. Who is in charge of the shape of a stick of butter? 
  41. In Star Trek in all of the series, pretty much Klingons are all different shapes and sizes depending on of course on the years of the series. I know with the explosion of Praxis, Klingons changed somewhat but......it’s weird. 
  42. The Dodgers suck and so do burpees.
  43. Treat people like you want to be treated. Don’t be that guy.
  44. When I was a kid I watched Gilligans Island, Bonanza, Bugs Bunny cartoons and really cool Godzilla movies on Sundays after church.
  45. I own way too many ties 
  46. One of my favorite country songs is Seminole Wind by John Anderson and I don’t care who knows 
  47. You can never have to many/much iTunes music, ball caps or tools
  48. The McRib sandwich is amazing but it only lasts like 37 seconds in your digestive tract until it wants to leave.
  49. I have zero musical talent, but I wish I did
  50. It would be cool to have another 50 years....