While he was in Quanitco, Va. for the prestigious 10-week FBI National Academy, Hollister Police Chief David Westrick gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise that he is eager to put to good use at the local department.
Westrick graduated from the 271st session of the FBI National Academy on March 16. He returned to Hollister a few days later. Westrick was one of 223 law enforcement officers nationwide who graduated from the recent session.
The FBI National Academy is an exclusive program conducted at the FBI Academy that offers 10 weeks of advanced courses in communication, leadership and fitness training for selected officers who have proven track records as professionals within their agencies, according to a statement from the Hollister Police Department. Included in the class are members of law enforcement agencies from 48 states as well as Washington, D.C., 18 international countries, five military organizations and five federal civilian organizations.
Graduates of the FBI National Academy represent the “top 1 percent” of law enforcement leaders worldwide, according to Hollister PD.
National Academy students are also able to earn undergraduate and graduate credits from the University of Virginia during the program. During his time in Quanitco, which started in November 2017, Westrick received grades of “A” in all five graduate-level courses he took.
Westrick said as he was preparing to leave for the National Academy late last year, he carefully selected courses that would offer knowledge and skills that he could specifically apply to Hollister. He also took courses that aligned with his passions of community involvement and engagement.
“Every course I took had elements to accomplish my goal for enhancing my career and serve the needs of Hollister,” Westrick said.
For example, in the course titled “Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement,” students had “many lessons on public perception, legitimacy and community involvement,” Westrick said. The chief was able to lead a classroom exercise in which he demonstrated an effective “Coffee With A Cop” session with concerned residents. His aim was to demonstrate to his classmates how to use such informal meetings to emphasize transparency, build coalitions and “have focused problem-solving discussions with the public,” Westrick said.
Another useful class was “Cyber Threat Landscape.” His “capstone project” for this course was on Industrial Control Systems, such as public works, data systems, street lights, electrical grids, dams and others that are found in Hollister and communities nationwide. He demonstrated that such systems have vulnerabilities that could be exploited by criminals to wreak havoc on communities.
“I have a very thorough understanding of the types of cyber threats out there, and hope to help locate and mitigate those vulnerabilities with the goal of keeping those systems from being penetrated and taken over,” Westrick said.
And the physical fitness portion of the National Academy tested Westrick and his classmates, he added. This included the “Yellow Brick Road Endurance Run”—also known as the U.S. Marines 10k Endurance Course—which Westrick completed on a 27-degree morning in Quantico.
“This accomplishment pales in comparison to the great work our officers and employees do each and every day,” Westrick added. “Thank you to City Manager William Avera for nominating me for this opportunity. Thank you to the City Council for its unwavering support for our police department. I wanted to personally thank Captain CarlosReynoso for filling as Acting Chief for me during my time away from the city.”
Westrick has maintained an online blog about his time in Quantico and at the FBI National Academy. It can be found at chiefwestrick.blogspot.com.