SHOUT OUT: With such a active and busy hard-news bent, it’s difficult for CLIFFVIEW PILOT to recognize every promotion or graduation throughout Bergen County — but there are times, such as this, when special mention must be made.
Last month, River Vale Police Detective Sgt. John J. DeVoe was graduated from the FBI National Academy, part of a class of 268 men and women from 49 states, the District of Columbia, 27 international countries, four military organizations and five federal civilian organizations.
It’s an impressive honor whenever any law enforcement officer is graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Academy. Less than one-half of 1% of those worldwide are ever invited.
DeVoe gets special mention here, as do many fellow officers countywide, because he not only is an intelligent, resourceful, dedicated public servant but because he also devotes much of his time and energy to the community, sponsoring fundraisers and pitching in whenever — and wherever — help is needed.
( EDITOR’S NOTE: He’s also a mean drummer.)
“Attending the FBI National Academy places John DeVoe in some rarified air,” River Vale Police Chief Michael McCann told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon. “The FBI NA is in my opinion the most prestigious law enforcement training program in the world.
“Those who know John and the product of his work understand why he was selected by the FBI for this opportunity.”
DeVoe called it “an amazing experience” that he promised would make him a more effective officer.
“Ironically, I learned as much in the lunchroom as I did in the classroom,” he said. “Having the opportunity to sit next to someone from the other side of the country – or the other side of the world – and learn about their life and their professional experiences provided me with education and insight that rivals any textbook that I’ve ever come across.”
The Academy program involves 10 weeks of advanced leadership, investigative, management, and fitness training for specifically selected officers with solid records of accomplishments and professionalism. Most graduates go on to become captains and chiefs.
Participation is by invitation-only and is awarded through a nomination process.
Courses included law, behavioral science, forensic science, terrorism, leadership development, communication, technology, and health/fitness, among others.
Officers participate in a wide range of leadership and specialized training, sharing ideas, techniques, and experiences.
As a result, they emerge with partnerships that extend beyond borders — which can often help solve crimes and better protect citizens.
It isn’t only mental, though.
To graduate, the participatns had to complete the infamous “Yellow Brick Road,” made famous in “Silence of the Lambs”: a six-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail — designed by the U.S. Marines, no less.
Along the way, they must scale walls, dash through creeks, dive through simulated windows, rappel faces, crawl under barbed wire in muddy water, maneuver across cargo nets … and then some.
Those who make it through get a symbolic yellow brick — the same as those placed by Marines to show the way through the trail.
Chief McCann was the first officer in the department’s history to graduate from the FBI National Academy (2010).
All told, it has produced 46,610 graduates since its creation in July 1935, with the F.B.I. picking up the entire tab — for training, food and lodging, among other expenses.
“There were many people at work and at home who sacrificed over the past few months so that I could attend this program, and for that I am truly humbled,” DeVoe said. “I am blessed to have been afforded this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m thankful to the people who helped me to make this dream a reality.”
McCann, in turn, said the township “will draw on this training and his worldwide network of peers for years to come.”
PHOTOS TOP: River Vale Police Detective Sgt. John J. DeVoe (r.) with F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller, and along the “Yellow Brick Road”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.