A state university police officer from Shelton recently had the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy.
Richard Montefusco, a sergeant with the Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) Police Department, attended a 10-week training program at Quantico, Va.
“The academy gave me the opportunity to take a look at myself and my opportunities as a police officer, how to mold other officers and all aspects of leadership,” Montefusco said.
“Overall, this rounds you off as a police officer and brought together everything I’ve learned in my 21-year career,” he said, calling it an overwhelming honor to participate in the program.
Oversees crime prevention efforts
As a police sergeant at the college in Danbury, Montefusco — who is known to friends and colleagues as “Monte” — is in charge of community service and crime prevention.
“My goal is for the university to get all faculty, students and staff on the same page when it comes down to dealing with the world in which we live,” he said. “Safety and security are everyone’s responsibility and we all need to work together to maintain the current, safe environment.”
Nominated to attend by WCSU to attend
Once nominated for participation in the FBI National Academy by the WCSU Police Department, Montefusco underwent an extensive background check and interview process.
Only one-half of one percent of all law enforcement personnel in the world are invited by the FBI director to attend the academy.
The FBI National Academy was established in 1935 to provide advanced investigative, management and fitness training to senior police officers.
During the program, Montefusco took courses in civil law, civil liability, social media, communication strategies and labor law. He received intensive behavioral training taught by an FBI behavioral scientist on the human psyche, anti-social and psychosocial behavior, and how people think.
Montefusco, who is one of WCSU’s firearms instructors, studied less-lethal munitions at the academy, focusing on the use of alternatives to guns such as batons, gas and “everything in the FBI’s arsenal,” he said.
Relying on less lethal options for crowd control, he said, would allow university police to neutralize a situation in seconds without having to wait for special teams to arrive on campus.
‘Really gets your adrenaline going’
Montefusco also participated in the FBI’s first-responder virtual simulator (known as VirtSim), which fabricates active shooter scenarios through the use of avatars.
“They can produce any situation you can imagine,” he said, “and the avatars are so real that it really gets your adrenaline going. I went through in a team with 13 other guys who I had just met and we all immediately understood the concept that we had to work together.”
Fifty percent of the academy curriculum was based on physical training, which included a 6.1-mile Marine Corps run-and-obstacle course called the Yellow Brick Road.
“It was some of the most grueling physical training I’ve ever gone through in my career,” Montefusco said. “They change your life when it comes to working out.”
Making professional contacts
Joining Montefusco at Quantico were police officers from 17 countries and 48 states, which he said not only enlarged his network of professional contacts but also WCSU’s ability to interact with officers nationwide and internationally for feedback on how other departments have handled specific situations.
Among the officers in attendance were campus police from the University of Las Vegas, University of Tennessee and Penn State University. Montefusco was one of three officers representing the hundreds of law enforcement agencies in Connecticut.
The training, he said, “has given me the confidence that any future issues can be solved. It’s a compliment to our department — we have a great bunch of officers, and I understand the level of commitment and expertise that my fellow officers hold.
“As a father of two children,” Montefusco said, “I would feel safe having them come to Western.”