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Class of 2017 graduates from HSI San Juan Citizens’ Academy

Class of 2017 graduates from HSI San Juan Citizens’ Academy

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A group of 17 community leaders graduated Wednesday in San Juan from the fourth U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) sponsored citizens academy. The graduation took place at the HSI facilities in Miramar where HSI San Juan’s special agent in charge presented a certificate of completion to the graduates in a special ceremony.

With the objective of bolstering relationships with key community partners, HSI San Juan recruited participants from diverse employment areas including media, congressional affairs, non-government agencies and the financial industry to attend the academy. HSI employees nominated members of the community who they felt would be suitable candidates.

The HSI San Juan citizens academy is the first HSI-sponsored citizens academy in the nation. In 2014, 10 citizens graduated from the program becoming the first citizens to ever graduate from an HSI citizens academy. The group expanded in 2015, when 12 additional community leaders completed the program, followed by 14 others in 2016. On Wednesday, the 2017 class, composed of 17 men and women from the public and private sectors, received their certificates of completion from a very proud HSI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Ricardo Mayoral.

The HSI San Juan citizens academy was developed by the 2013 HSI San Juan Aspiring Leaders Mentorship Agreement (ALMA) cohort as their graduation project. The goal of the academy is to provide selected community leaders with a unique opportunity to receive an inside look at HSI’s organizational and operational structure while strengthening a relationship that will enhance agency and community relations.

The 17 community leaders selected to attend the fourth cohort underwent a 10-week program, meeting once a week for at least three hours, which provided them with a unique opportunity to experience and learn about the agency through a classroom environment and field training exercises. The curriculum provided for hands-on and interactive activities to keep participants engaged and to make the experience memorable. It included the HSI San Juan's communications center, airport operations, illicit trade, human smuggling and trafficking, gangs, Coast Guard interdiction, transportation of evidence, child exploitation, surveillance, seaport operations, controlled deliveries, financial investigations, pre-trial and judicial proceedings, clearing a room, special response team operations, firearms training and team building.

“HSI San Juan is extremely proud to be the precursor to the HSI academy concept and to have 53 community leaders among it ranks,” said Mayoral. “It is indeed a pleasure to see how an initiative that began as a class project of one of HSI San Juan’s mentorship programs has become an example for others to follow.”

The following community leaders composed the second cohort of the HSI San Juan Citizens Academy:

  • Vanessa Bonhomme
  • Enrique Ramos Melendez
  • Wilmer Ocasio
  • Roberto Unda Gomez
  • Edwin Pabon Pacheco
  • Maricarmen Ortiz Rodriguez
  • Santiago Antonio Santos Cruz
  • Sonia Vanessa Marzan Toro
  • Liz Bueno Rivera
  • Miguel Rivas
  • Martin Ramos Junquera
  • Ivan Cerezo de Larosa
  • William Rivas Colon
  • Aida Torres Robles Roman
  • Lilliam Marie Alonso de Miller
  • Melissa Correa Velazquez
  • Ruben Vega Hernandez


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Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/07/2017