Harper Woods deputy chief graduates from prestigious FBI course

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published January 8, 2018



HARPER WOODS — A member of the Harper Woods Department of Public Safety is bringing back valuable lessons and new professional connections following his graduation from a prestigious FBI-led class.

The course is called the FBI National Academy. Deputy Chief Ted Stager spent 11 weeks at the FBI’s training facility in Quantico, Virginia, learning among elite law enforcement officers from the United States and around the world.

“It’s a very prestigious program for a law enforcement officer. It’s for police command, and they have to choose you from a list of applicants. It takes more than a year for the application process,” said Harper Woods Chief James Burke. “They look into your qualifications and your fitness and some other things. Deputy Chief Stager made the cut, and it’s an excellent achievement for him. Having a department member having graduated from this class is a feather in the cap of any law enforcement department.”

Stager, who has served 18 of his 21 years in law enforcement in Harper Woods, graduated from the FBI National Academy Dec. 15. He said it is not only a huge honor to be selected to attend the course, but can help provide a number of lessons and resources to those who take part.

“It’s the Taj Mahal for law enforcement personnel,” said Stager. “The fact that not anybody can go is critical. They get to decide who can and cannot go. Less than 1 percent of the nation’s law enforcement professionals ever attend. … Other countries send their people here to learn; that’s how renowned this class is.”

Begun in 1935, the FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated by their agency heads because of demonstrated leadership qualities. The 10-week program — which provides coursework in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science — intends to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.

“I’m bringing back several things,” said Stager. “My narcotics class talked a lot about the current trends going on — including Michigan in particular. The leadership class gave me a lot of tools to make me a better leader, not only within the police department, but also in this community. My employment law class was an education in internal laws of employees, what to look for and how to act internally. One of the key things is my self-evaluation of what kind of leader I am and getting to build myself by using the tools I learned there. I think that will have a trickle-down effect to our officers in a positive way.”

Stager said that perhaps the most valuable part of the experience was working for an extended period of time alongside other devoted law enforcement officials from around the world.

“I now know many people I can reach out to for issues here in Harper Woods. One example we heard in the class was about a runaway (who) ran off with an adult and their safety was at risk. Authorities received a tip she had run to Las Vegas, but the officer looking into it had a classmate from the program who worked in Las Vegas they could reach out to. Opportunities like that are a huge asset to a department.”

The last time the Harper Woods Department of Public Safety had a department member attend the course was when former chief — now city manager — Randolph Skotarczyk attended 21 years ago. 

Burke lauded Stager on the achievement and said the whole community is proud of him.

“He excelled and finished at the top of his class,” said Burke. “He made a sacrifice for the department and worked very hard, but he brought back some good lessons for the department, and I think he made some great contacts with people from all over the world. Other countries send their own people to attend this class, and we’re all very proud of him.”

Stager said learning from the FBI at its world-renowned facility was a remarkable experience, and he hopes he is able to turn the experience into a benefit for Harper Woods.

“It was really overwhelming getting to go onto the Marine base at Quantico, and seeing the training they go through was impressive in its own right,” said Stager. “Seeing the inner workings of the FBI and getting to talk to agents was so interesting. It was fascinating getting to compare what they go through to what other departments go through.”