SCARBOROUGH — An officer recently graduated from the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, joining five others in the Police Department.
Sgt. Thomas Chard graduated from the 266th session of the FBI National Academy on Dec. 6. He was the only officer from Maine.
The last officer from the department to graduate from the academy was in 2010.
“It’s the Cadillac of law enforcement training,” Scarborough Police Chief Robert Moulton said, know for “the newest technology, the latest process, from forensics to all types of investigation, plus the networking.”
Moulton said the connections officers make at Quantico can make a difference to local investigations. A police officer in another part of the country might be more apt to take a call, or even be willing to bend over backwards to help out in cases such as missing persons – or simply check an address.
“Known as the ‘West Point of Law Enforcement,’ only one-tenth of 1 percent of law enforcement officers in the world get invited to attend this program,” Moulton said. “That tells you something about the quality of an individual like Sgt. Chard.”
“He has proven himself as a great leader and this level of training will only enhance his ability to help lead Scarborough Police Department in to the future,” the chief added.
Moulton said he nominated Chard because “he is a very solid guy, great supervisor. He has a lot to offer the department. He’s a real quality individual who would benefit and put that knowledge to good use.”
Chard joined the department in 1988 as a patrol officer. In 1994 he became a K-9 handler and was promoted to sergeant in 2000.
Moulton said Chard supervises a patrol team and serves as the department’s K-9 trainer. He is also the commanding officer of the Southern Maine Regional SWAT team, which includes officers from Scarborough, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.
Chard said some of the classes he took at the academy included a crisis negotiations class, stress management for law enforcement officers, employment law, a leadership class, physical fitness planning, and a class in law enforcement research.
One of his proudest achievements, the sergeant said, was completing the “Yellow Brick Road fitness challenge” and earning a brick, which he called a “holy grail” for officers.
According to the FBI National Academy website, “Yellow Brick Road is a grueling 6.1-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the Marines. Along the way, the participants must climb over walls, run through creeks, jump through simulated windows, scale rock faces with ropes, crawl under barbed wire in muddy water, maneuver across a cargo net, and more. When (and if) the students complete this difficult test, they receive an actual yellow brick to memorialize their achievement.”
The FBI pays for the entire program, including training, lodging, food, and some incidentals. Moulton said the local department only bears the cost of transporting the officer to and from the academy.
“It was an honor,” Chard said. “It has been the best (training) experience of my career.”