Toledo FBI Citizens Academy

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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The FBI hosted a Citizens Academy for the first time in 10 years. The six week course gave participants a better understanding of the role the FBI plays in defending our nation and protecting neighborhoods.

The FBI Citizens Academy provides an opportunity for the FBI Cleveland Division to build, develop and strengthen relationships in the community. The relationships allow agents to better partner with local citizens to work together to prevent crime and make the Toledo area a better place to live and work.

More than 30 people were chosen for the FBI Citizens Academy Class.
Wednesday was more than a day of training, but a chance to experience what it's like to work the streets.

The day started with a scenario of shoot or don't shoot.

"I would like the class to take away just what it's like to be a police officer for a few minutes. To get the experience how it's not as it is easy as it looks on TV or even in the movies. The decisions are difficult and they come very quickly," said FBI Special Agent Richard Florence.

The mental training system gives you a chance to step into the shoes of an FBI agent.

"You really have to go through significant training to make sure you are making these judgment calls at a split second notice. Before you might be a little more judgmental before you go through some of the shoot don't shoot scenarios and it really has given me a different perspective on it," said participant Troy Langenderfer.

The FBI hosted a citizens Academy goal is to build safer communities.

" It's chance for us to pull the curtain back a little bit on what the FBI is, who we are, what we do and why we do it. It's really a better chance to connect to the community," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato.

The six week course gave participants an inside look at the Elite Organization.

"We learned a lot about what they do, strategy and tactics and how they operate dispelled some myths maybe I've had and some of out other classmates as well," said participant Kevin Kennedy.

The class watched SWAT Team demonstrate breaching and rescue scenarios. The day ended with with the class getting up close and personal with several different firearms used by the FBI. The FBI's highly trained firearms instructors will demonstrate and instruct us on how to shoot different weapons systems.