Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Westminster Police Department Captain Randy Barnes graduates from FBI National Academy July 18, 2007 by Kevin Dayhoff

Dec. 23, 2015: I happened to see Randy Barnes recently. It was good to see him. It reminded me of this story I wrote about many years ago...

Westminster Police Department Captain Randy Barnes graduates from FBI National Academy July 18, 2007 by Kevin Dayhoff

June is the season when many friends and family come together to celebrate graduations. It was perhaps no different for friends, colleagues, and members of the Barnes family who celebrated Randy Barnes’ graduation on June 8.

All right, maybe it was a little different; for you see Westminster Police Department Captain Randy D. Barnes, at age 50, graduated last month on June 8 from the 229th session of the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., which began April 1. He was presented his diploma by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. The academy, which began in 1935, has to date, had more than 37,000 persons graduate.

Captain Barnes graduated from Westminster High School in 1976, the year Chief H. Leroy Day retired and Sam R. Leppo was appointed Chief. 

In the past he has taken classes at Carroll and Catonsville Community College, in addition to attending the Western Maryland Police Academy in Hagerstown, MD in 1980. He has also taken a long list of trainings, including courses such as Special Weapons and Tactics School, Investigative & Electronic Surveillance Training, Law Enforcement Executive Development, and Firearms Instructor School.

He has been with the Westminster Police Department 28 years. Much has changed since that hot summer day on August 7, 1979, when Captain Barnes reported for duty when the Westminster Police Department was still located in Westminster City Hall.

This was in the days before the department moved from its two-room office in City Hall to the basement of the Longwell Municipal Center in 1980. When Captain Barnes first joined the department folks taken in police custody were often handcuffed to the radiators in the office or locked in a storage room in the basement.

After the department moved to the Longwell building, its radio communication began providing 24 hour service from a dispatch center that was linked to a new concept called the “911 emergency system.

And in 1981 the department started a “Crisis Response Team.” Captain Barnes was part of that team that was shot at in a 15-hour barricade situation in town on January 30, 1984.

Today Captain Barnes is the Commander of the Field Services Bureau and the Incident Commander for the Carroll County Crisis Response Team. The Field Service Bureau consists of Patrol, K-9, Crisis Response Team, Traffic Safety, Parking Management, and Emergency Management.

The basic foundation of any successful and thriving community is public safety and in the last number of years the changes in the pursuit of public safety have been profound and precipitous.

And one thing that will remain constant in the future is that the changes will keep coming. It is in this light that Captain Barnes said he “jumped at the opportunity (to attend the FBI Academy.) It has been a dream to have the opportunity to go…”

In a recent telephone conversation the first thing that he mentioned is that he “couldn’t have done it without the support of his wife and children.”

As far as the constant changes and challenges facing law enforcement these day, Captain Barnes emphasized, “When you think that you have learned enough to be good at your profession that is when you must realize that there is so much more to learn… One of the major benefits of attending the FBI National Academy was the opportunity to network with law enforcement executives from all over the country – and the world for that matter.”

His dormitory roommate for the 10 weeks at the academy was a lieutenant (Bruce Banks) with the Illinois State Police internal affairs division.

“He was among 300 law enforcement officials from throughout the United States, as well as those from 25 foreign countries -- who attended” this academy session. Appointment of candidates to the FBI academy is a highly selective process. Less than 1 percent of the nation's law enforcement officials are chosen to attend the program,” according to a recent Westminster Eagle news brief.

Captain Barnes said this gave him ample opportunity for networking with other top law enforcement professionals and being exposed to “new ideas…  and getting good ideas from other police professionals who are dealing with similar challenges (as Westminster.) 

“The City of Westminster is not the Lone Ranger when it comes to many of the current law enforcement challenges we face. It was good to gather some insights into what has been tried and worked in other areas of the country facing similar challenges,” Captain Barnes explained.

Law enforcement today is all about ever-changing challenges… And “in an era of decreasingly finite resources the department needs to be constantly focusing on more training and exposing ourselves to new operating efficiencies and cutting edge technologies…”

The academic portion of the day at the academy went from 8 am to 5:30. After dinner, they studied, worked-out and ran to kept in shape, and used the time to work on research papers. His main paper for the session was on “Methods of processing latent fingerprints.”

“I selected courses which will (immediately) benefit Westminster citizens and the department,” Captain Barnes elaborated. The classes, which are academically accredited through its affiliation with the University of Virginia, included legal issues, advanced investigative techniques, police management, professional ethics, and fitness training.

As a result, “Captain Barnes earned undergraduate college credits upon completion of academy courses, which included the following: Legal Issues for Command Level Officers; Labor Law Issues for Law Enforcement Administration; Forensic Science for Police Administrators; Chemical Agents in Law Enforcement; Contemporary Issues in Police and Media Relations; Gangs, Developmental Issues, and Criminal Behavior; and Fitness in Law Enforcement,” according to a news release from Westminster Police Chief Jeff Spaulding.

Chief Spaulding, along with Major Ron Stevens are also FBI Academy graduates; having had the opportunity to attend while they were a member of other police agencies before joining the Westminster Police Department.  Captain Barnes is the first police officer to attend the academy while with the Westminster Department.

Captain Barnes, a Lacrosse enthusiast, said “each week there was a physical fitness challenge. As the weeks would go by the physical fitness challenge would get more difficult. They were all named after characters, events, or features of the Wizard of Oz.”

They included “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore,” the “Tin Man Trot,” the Munchkin Run - 4.2 miles; Journey to Oz - 5.2 miles and finally, the Yellow Brick Road, a 6.1-mile run, once completed, they were awarded a yellow brick inscribed with “FBINA 229.”

One of the highlights of the FBI Academy experience was touring the Marine Corps Museum. Captain Barnes shared that one of the most emotional experiences occurred during Law Enforcement Memorial Week in the early of part of May. 

Three buses of children of police officers who were killed in the line of duty in the previous year visited the Academy and the Marine Corps Museum. They were accompanied by 100 police motorcycle escorts from the departments in which the slain officers served. “I will never forget it,” said Captain Barnes.
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