TAMPA – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tampa Special Agent in Charge (SAC) office graduated their annual Citizens’ Academy last week.
To honor the class, HSI’s acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs, was on hand to join Sibley in presenting the class graduation certificates.
The graduating members are: Michael Batista, office of U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist; Daniela Carrion, Linesch Law Firm; Veronica Cintron, Spectrum Bay News 9; Monica Cook, Mad Mobile; Rod Davis, St. Petersburg College; Michael Dexter, Hillsborough County Public Schools; James Giardina, The Consumer Rights Law Group; Dotti Groover-Skipper, HeartDance Foundation; Glenda Hudson, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Natalie Kehn, U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking; Arlene Marie, Course of Action Foundation and All American Music Production; Kylie McGivern, ABC Action News; Marta Montero, Hillsborough County Victim Assistance Service; and Terri Wallace, Ryan Nece Foundation.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity of the HSI Citizens Academy,” said Montero. “I sleep better at night knowing how hard HSI works to keep us and the entire community safer.”
During the eight-week course, HSI Tampa special agents introduced participants to national security, financial, narcotics, cyber, global trade, human smuggling/trafficking, and child exploitation investigations. Special agents led participants through a series of real-world experiences and investigative activities. These exercises included learning how to conduct surveillance, interview suspects, plan an operation, apply for and execute a search warrant, and arrest an individual. While taking part in hands-on activities, such as basic defensive tactics and entry techniques, participants also explored topics such as when the use of force is justified, decision making in dangerous, stressful circumstances, and the importance of cooperation and collaboration across federal, state and local agencies and with the community. Members of the Citizens Academy gained a greater understanding of the mission of HSI and the role of law enforcement in protecting national security.
Participants for the academy were nominated by local HSI employees and previous Citizen’s Academy graduates for inclusion in the program. Once nominated, the interested community members had to apply and undergo a limited background check before ultimately being selected to participate. The HSI Tampa Citizens’ Academy received more applicants than there were slots available, so acceptance was limited, but the office is already looking forward to hosting the next class.