FCPS sergeant graduates from FBI National Academy
FCPS Police Sgt. Chris Gatewood is back at work after graduating from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, in mid-September. His class included more than 250 colleagues from across the spectrum such as state police, airport security, and fellow school officers. “I take pride in that I’m the first person from this department to go, so I’m opening the door for others to go and experience this training,” said Gatewood, a Lexington native and 13-year veteran of the law enforcement team in Fayette County Public Schools. “The networking was really important, too,” he added. “I’ve made lifelong friendships with people from all over the world.”
The academy provides professional development for officers nominated by their supervisors because of demonstrated leadership qualities. The 10-week program offers courses in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, communication, forensic science, and health/fitness. The officers also participate in specialized training where they share ideas, techniques, and experiences. “It speaks volumes to Sgt. Gatewood’s character that he completed it,” said FCPS Chief Martin Schafer.
A defensive tactics instructor and gang specialist, Gatewood first heard of the FBI National Academy during sergeants training in Richmond. “Most consider it the best police leadership training course out there, so my next goal was to get there,” he recalled. Gatewood expressed interest to former FCPS Chief Lawrence Weathers and then began the application process. “From start to actually going took about two years, but it was worth it,” he said.
Gatewood, 39, who has a bachelor’s degree from Midway University, signed up for five graduate-level courses at Quantico including “Essentials for Law Enforcement Executives” and “Managing Organizational Change and Development.” Three of the courses earned him credit toward a master’s degree in Police Policy & Leadership from Eastern Kentucky University, where he is on track to finish in December. He also picked a class on wellness and vitality. “It was about physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness, and I felt it was important for officers dealing with kids and trauma. I try to stay in tune with my officers and my people,” said Gatewood, a 1998 graduate of Lafayette High School.
As the Area 6 sergeant in FCPS, Gatewood oversees seven officers including three based with him at Frederick Douglass High School and one each at Eastside Technical Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, Crawford Middle School, and Carter G. Woodson Academy (middle grades).
The Quantico sessions certainly added to his toolbox. “There were a lot of different perspectives and cultures that made for good discussion,” Gatewood said. “It was very eye-opening and a great learning experience.”