Billy Murray completes training at FBI Academy
by Gary Hanner
St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department Captain Billy Murray said the 10 weeks he spent at the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va. is something he will always remember.

This academy, which is located near Washington D.C., is considered the “Harvard Of Law Enforcement Training.”

“That academy was established for executive level training,” Murray said. “Less than one half of one percent of officers throughout the nation gets invited to attend. I was in Session 250 and there were 271 of us representing 49 states and 24 foreign countries. It was truly an amazing experience.”

The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement leaders that serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.

“These people who attended were department heads or were in leadership roles,” Murray said. “We came together and took college level courses, and fitness courses as well. That curriculum has been put together and has been in place with the national academy and has been running since 1935. Where else can you go for that level of training? It was the top instructors I have ever been exposed to in all my years of training.”

Murray said the classroom discussion and work dealt with situations facing every law enforcement agency in the United States and around the world.

“Drugs, gangs, thefts, crimes against people, etc.,” Murray said. “We compared how they deal with it in California, and in New York, and in Alabama. By far, this has been the highlight of my career — the exposure to this level of professionalism.”

Murray said the toughest part of the 10 weeks was being away from his family.

“Knowing when you pull out of that driveway that you are not coming home for 10 weeks,” Murray said. “I actually called my wife as I was coming home, and told her how much I appreciated her handling all the stuff at home so I was able to handle and concentrate on all of this stuff at the academy. I told her I wanted to make it up to her. I’m thinking a nice restaurant to go eat, but she stopped me and said she had already taken care of it. So when I get home, I see a new little dog, and then I saw this new hot tub on the back deck.”

Murray said his family has always been very supportive, and helpful anytime he has been called out of town.

“The entire philosophy while I was up there, was for them to take you out of your comfort zone,” Murray said. “They put us in a different environment and challenged us. It was a tremendous learning environment.”

Murray said he was also up for the physical challenge he went through as well.

“I actually started training for that part of this eight months prior to going,” he said. “I have always tried to maintain a certain level of fitness, but nothing to this level. It was intense, but I had no problem with it whatsoever.”

Murray said his main concern was not getting injured, and he didn’t.

“I’m 42-years-old, but I feel 22,” he said. “Some of the guys up there did get injured, and they got injured early on. It had been a long time since I had been in that type environment on a day-to-day basis. We had term papers due, tests every day, along with the physical challenge four days a week. But I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the structure of it.”

Everything Murray learned in the 10 weeks he was away, he now has brought back with him, wanting to implement into the daily training with officers in St. Clair County.

“I have already made a list of what we can do, and I want to meet with Sheriff Terry Surles,” Murray said. “Together, we can start implementing some things to help our guys. It’s just more tools on our tool belt to get the job done.”

Murray started in law enforcement in 1992 for the city of Springville. He came to the sheriff’s department in 1996. A lot of those years were spent in the investigation department.

“I have really enjoyed it, and there is nowhere else I’d rather be,” he said. “This is home to me. I’ve traveled a lot of places, but I always want to come back home.”

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© 2012