The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) sits outside Brunswick, Georgia, on 1,600 acres of a former Naval Air Station base. FLETC, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), serves as the primary training site for more than 90 federal agencies.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Training and Tactical Programs (OTTP) operates its ICE Academy at FLETC year round. The ICE Academy adheres to the four core values of innovation, commitment, education and achievement.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Instructor, Nathan S. Brown, recognizes the importance of the Academy’s instructional staff: “Every agent I come in contact with has the potential to face a very real set of life or death decisions. It is my job to prepare them, to the best of my ability, for that day.”
Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Instructor, Harvey R. Deering, agrees: “Working at the academy is important because I am training new officers in policy, procedures and techniques that could save their lives. I need to make sure they can handle any rapidly evolving situation.”
All newly hired ICE agents and officers attend training at the ICE Academy. ERO deportation officers attend a 20-week basic training at FLETC. The course includes training and examinations in immigration law, Spanish language, physical fitness, law enforcement tactics, firearms training, multicultural communication and the avoidance of racial profiling. HSI special agents attend six months of basic criminal investigator and special agent training at FLETC. The courses include extensive training in criminal and immigration law, surveillance and undercover operations, firearms training, court case development and physical fitness.
ERO Instructor Lauren D. Posavetz said that training officers provides the foundation for enforcing ICE’s mission.
OTTP ICE Academy Chief, Gary Beard, emphasizes the importance of ICE and FLETC working in tandem to make plans and address issues pertaining to the upcoming hiring surge.
“The ICE Academy has been diligently preparing for an expected increase in numbers related to the presidential executive order. These preparations include working with FLETC leadership to acquire the additional classroom and tactical training venues needed to train ICE law enforcement personnel within the ERO Basic Immigration Enforcement (BIETP) and HSI Criminal Investigator (CITP) and Special Agent Training (HSISAT) Training Programs. Additionally, the ICE Academy staff has been collaborating with the FLETC training cadre to ensure the executive order training requirements can be accommodated.”
According to HSI Instructor and Curriculum Coordinator, Todd R. Rignel, the newly integrated ICE OTTP is working well and ready for new challenges.
“I don’t think all ICE employees realize the amount of effort and diverse work force it takes to design and maintain top-notch training programs,” he said. “The success of both HSISAT and the BIETP, including the recent Federal Law Enforcement Accreditation (FLETA) of both programs, is a direct result of the collaborative effort between instructional designers, special agents, deportation officers, administrative staff and managers who are equally passionate about putting ICE, OTTP and training first. From the Assistant Director on down, we have the right people in place, which is essential for the potential hiring surges that we are planning for.”
The ICE women and men who enforce immigration law receive their training from the ICE Academy. The importance of the weeks they spend there cannot be underestimated.
“Knowing that I am training the next generation of ICE officers, who will continue to shape our agency for years to come, gives me a great feeling of accomplishment,” ERO Instructor Adam Austin said.