Focus on Training
Law Enforcement Partner Intelligence Training Program
By Karunya Jayasena-Hernandez, M.A., and Alanna C. Daley
The FBI’s Office of Partner Engagement (OPE) is the agency’s primary liaison with executive law enforcement leaders from around the world. This role allows the OPE to raise — and collaboratively mitigate — areas of mutual concern while integrating meaningful partnerships, improving information sharing, and increasing community engagement.
Formed in 2017, the OPE’s Law Enforcement Partner Intelligence Training Program originated from a single guiding principle: “What matters most is that you are part of a customer-driven team that serves one law enforcement community to make a difference through leadership, growth, innovation, and excellence.” The program actively identifies and fills training gaps to enhance coordination and collaboration between the FBI and its law enforcement partners to achieve its purpose.
Training Courses and Webinars
At its core, the intelligence training program is tailored to the needs of intelligence analysts, crime analysts, sworn law enforcement officers, federal partners, the Intelligence Community, the U.S. military, and other public safety components. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, program staff converted some in-person courses to a virtual format and created additional courses and webinars. While transitioning the training operations virtually, the team found ways for the law enforcement community to operate efficiently in a hybrid work environment.
The program currently offers intermediate (organizational and operational), advanced, and supervisory courses; webinars; and a virtual speaker series, all with a nexus to enhancing law enforcement intelligence and analysis. Courses are conducted through lecture and practical application and are offered both online and in person throughout the year.
“Courses are conducted through lecture and practical application and are offered both online and in person throughout the year.”
In 2021, the OPE added another component to its intelligence training program. The Center for Strategic Thinking and Education in Public Safety (C-STEPS) provides an online master’s degree certificate track for dedicated public safety personnel who wish to pursue college credit while researching critical aspects of today’s intelligence problems. C-STEPS is a series of graduate-level courses specifically designed and selected to help law enforcement partners develop their expertise in the field of public safety. This program inspires change and encourages students’ exploration, growth, innovation, and leadership.
Eligibility and Course Registration
Training courses are available to law enforcement, intelligence, and public safety partners who meet the prerequisites, which vary by course. Recently, some courses became available to international law enforcement partners via coordination with appropriate FBI international offices and sponsorship by select private sector analysts in the FBI’s Office of Private Sector. This new collaboration allows the OPE to bring together a diverse group of partners at all levels to advance the FBI’s partner engagement mission and stay ahead of threats.
Every year, the intelligence training program delivers courses to hundreds of law enforcement and intelligence practitioners, collectively training more than 1,400 personnel from over 300 agencies since its inception. The program also offers courses and webinars on various topics in coordination with the FBI National Academy, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, and subject matter experts. To support law enforcement partners, the OPE reimburses all standard travel costs associated with the courses.
The FBI’s web-based Virtual Academy (VA) grants OPE partners access to courses that offer knowledge, skills, and competencies through relevant and consistent training and materials. All participants are required to have a VA account prior to attending OPE training courses. Course registration is available via the VA at https://fbiva.fbiacademy.edu/. Information on all other law enforcement training programs and resources is available at https://le.fbi.gov/training-resources.
Graduates of the OPE’s intelligence training program often become leaders at their home agencies, where they continue to collaborate with their counterparts in local jurisdictions and beyond, spreading the word about the impacts and benefits of taking part in the courses. Upon graduation, students join with their colleagues from within the program, forming meaningful partnerships, and become part of a cohort that continues collaborating beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.
Leadership, Instructors, and Staff
The intelligence training program falls under the direction of Dr. Matthew Lehman, an FBI supervisory intelligence analyst with 30 years of public service experience. Additionally, the OPE has a small but dedicated staff, and the program benefits from FBI adjunct faculty. These highly qualified instructors are assigned to locations such as the FBI’s Training Division, Directorate of Intelligence, Cyber Division, and various field offices.
“Training courses are available to law enforcement, intelligence, and public safety partners who meet the prerequisites, which vary by course.”
Program staff continue to identify and fill knowledge gaps by offering both online and in-person courses to meet partners’ training needs. With a simple vision, limited resources, and a collective will that is committed to providing the best quality courses, the team’s lesson plans are built from the ground up. The training team is diligent about incorporating feedback received from law enforcement partners, the national network of fusion centers, and alumni to continually improve and enrich the course content while addressing the law enforcement community’s intelligence and operational needs.
The OPE’s Law Enforcement Partner Intelligence Training Program has steadily enhanced course offerings over the last six years. The staff’s collective efforts have built an important resource: a knowledge base of thousands of both sworn and nonsworn law enforcement partners. As a result, partners across the country are well-equipped to participate in the continuous effort to enrich public safety and community engagement while further enhancing the FBI’s capabilities by association.
This training program has continued to expand its horizon despite facing many barriers throughout the years. But one thing that has kept the program going strong is the team’s commitment to advancing the FBI mission through exploration and growth. Future success depends on the recruitment of quality instructors, dedicated staff, and the demand from its partners for the development of additional courses tailored to their needs.
Readers of this article can be an instrument of change by sending feedback on what types of future training law enforcement students would like to see. The OPE’s intelligence training program encourages all partners and alumni cohorts to submit their ideas to OPE-EEU@fbi.gov for consideration for future offerings. Staff members hope to see all public safety partners in OPE’s courses.
“Graduates of the OPE’s intelligence training program often become leaders at their home agencies. …”
Ms. Jayasena-Hernandez and Ms. Daley are management and program analysts with the FBI’s Office of Partner Engagement.