FBI hosts 16th annual Citizens Academy

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – More than two dozen local leaders are getting an inside look at the tactics used by agents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Members of the agency are teaching an eight-week course in hopes of heightening awareness on the agency’s mission and strengthening community relations.

“What we really hope they gain is an understanding of the FBI and they basically become our ambassadors out in the community,” Ed Reinhold said. “There’s a limited number of us. We’re not asking them to be FBI agents, we’re not asking them to investigate crime, we’re asking them to represent us when they’re out in the public.”

Participants say the experience helped them develop a deeper appreciation for the agency and the role it serves in the community.

“What I learned through this Academy is that it’s more than getting the bad guy off the street, locking them up and throwing away the key,” Elaine Johnson said.

The FBI has offered the course annually to eligible citizens for 16 years.

“I think it gives people from the community an opportunity to see what goes on on the other side and I think it gives the FBI a chance to interact with a lot of the people in the community to see what they’re putting up with,” George Webber said.

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