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Suffolk lieutenant gets FBI training

Another of Suffolk’s finest recently graduated from the FBI National Academy at Quantico.

Suffolk Police Lt. Steve Patterson, who will be promoted to captain on April 1, was among 253 law enforcement officers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 20 countries, four military organizations and four federal civilian organizations to graduate from the program. The 10-week program offers participants the opportunity to take advanced investigative, management and fitness training courses, which also earn them credit from the University of Virginia.

“I’m very thankful to have gone,” Patterson said Friday. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”

While at the academy, participants must take a physical fitness class, but otherwise may choose their own courses. Patterson selected classes in leadership, media, drug investigations and more.

He called the No. 1 benefit of attending the FBI National Academy the networking opportunities. Such professional friendships can be a benefit to a department working to solve a particular problem, Patterson said.

“Sometimes we think we do things in a vacuum, but in reality we all [law enforcement] have the same concerns,” he said. “You kind of realize we’re all doing the same things, we’re just doing it different ways. Some things work and some things don’t.”

The FBI National Academy began in 1935, with an inaugural class of 23 students. It was created in response to a study that recommended the standardization of law enforcement departments across the country through centralized training.

Officers with a minimum rank of lieutenant are eligible for nomination for the academy by the head of their departments. Graduates must agree to remain in the law enforcement profession for at least three years after graduation.

Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett, himself a graduate of the FBI National Academy, traveled to Quantico for Patterson’s graduation. He announced to Patterson at that time that he would be promoted to the rank of captain.

Patterson and his wife, Pam, have two daughters, Meagan and Lauren.

Other FBI National Academy graduates from Suffolk Police Department in recent years have included Lt. Gerald Brandsasse (June 2009) and Lt. Timothy Duncan (September 2008).