Teens graduate from FBI-sponsored training program


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A training program sponsored by the FBI wrapped up on Friday. It wasn’t for new recruits — but those who participated this time could be someday.

Friday’s graduation ceremony ended a weeklong training program sponsored by the FBI.

“To give an inside look at the FBI and at the variety of positions that it takes for law enforcement to keep their communities safe,” said Vanessa Torres, FBI community outreach specialist.

The future agents in training teen academy program hit on topics including terrorism, cybercrime, public corruption and other day-to-day operations of a typical FBI office.

“How [a] leader is about impacting people and how you need to choose wisely. How basically your life can change in a day. You can make one bad choice and your life can turn that quick,” said Alexis Davis, one of Friday’s graduates.

Davis said she feels more connected to law enforcement. And mother, Tamara Barnes, said she feels more connected to her daughter.

“For her to come home the first day after the program, just really touched my heart because it was the first time we had an hour and a half conversation on something positive in the world,” Barnes said.

Hampton City Commonwealth Attorney Anton Bell spoke about their future expectations.

“One of the things I try to do is to help them to dream and dream big. A program like this gives our kids the opportunity to discover who they are. Discover what they like and potentially master that because someone told them that ‘I care about you,'” Bell said.

And it also teaches the students to care about what is happening in the community — and how police are viewed by others.

“I do think some things need to change and I want to be part of that change. But I also see that there is a lot of good things police do that no one really looks at,” said graduate Amelia Clark.

Applications for the next academy will be posted on the Norfolk FBI website starting in January.

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