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Meston graduates FBI Academy

Published 9:01pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Suffolk police lieutenant recently became the first Suffolk graduate of the FBI National Academy to earn a “Blue Brick” by completing the 34-mile swim challenge at the academy.

Lt. John H. Meston graduated the 252nd session of the academy in March. In addition to the swim challenge, Meston honed his skills in investigating deaths, firearms offenses, arsons and violent crimes during the prestigious 10-week program.

Suffolk Police Lt. John Meston shows off his “Blue Brick” award he earned at the FBI National Academy for completing a 34-mile swim challenge.
Suffolk Police Lt. John Meston shows off his “Blue Brick” award he earned at the FBI National Academy for completing a 34-mile swim challenge.

“The instruction and the curriculum is very pertinent to what I do back here in the detective bureau,” said Meston, who supervises the criminal investigations division. “It was pretty challenging, not only physically but academically.”

Meston joined the department in 1987 after studying international business at James Madison University. His brother’s best friend was a Suffolk police officer, and he was drawn to the active work.

“I didn’t really want to sit behind a desk, the more I thought about it,” he said. “I just like to be out in the community.”

He has since worked in uniform patrol for eight years and also has worked in the warrant bureau before being assigned to criminal investigations.

Meston said he learned a lot at the FBI Academy, which was attended by law enforcement officers from 49 states, Washington, D.C., 27 countries, four military organizations and five federal civilian organizations.

“It was very rewarding,” he said.

Participants in the FBI National Academy receive credits toward a master’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Since Meston is the supervisor of the Suffolk Police Department’s dive team, the swim challenge was especially applicable and meaningful to his work. The 34-mile distance represents the distance from FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., to Marine Corps Base Quantico, where the academy is held.

Meston said the challenge, which he completed over the course of multiple sessions in an Olympic-size swimming pool, took him a total of about 19 hours to complete.

Meston said the academy also gave him the opportunity to make contacts with other law enforcement in different areas and learn from them as well as from the instructors.

“It’s a great networking opportunity,” he said.

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