TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy has trained U.S. and international law enforcement officers since its initiation in 1935, and this year, Aris Tsai (蔡佩汶), a Taiwanese officer from the country’s Investigation Bureau, became part of the league after completing a 10-week program last week.
Tsai, 34, was one of the youngest officers participating in the 276th session of the National Academy program, which wrapped up last Friday (June 7) in Virginia. According to Tsai, the average age of the students in this year’s program is 45, and the oldest participant is over 60 years old.
Students selected for the program are usually experienced officers who excel in their duties. Among the 256 officers who successfully completed the program this year, 27 are woman and 35 are international students.
Since the Taiwanese authorities began sending officers from the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) and National Police Agency (NPA) to be trained at FBI’s National Academy in 1961, 36 officers have taken part in the program over the last six decades, said MIJB Director-General Leu Weng-jong (呂文忠).
The primary aim for the National Academy is to improve working relationships and personal networks across law enforcement agencies locally and internationally. As the world becomes increasingly connected and exchanges of goods and people reach beyond borders, so does crime. Hence global cooperation between law enforcement agencies is required to combat transnational crimes.
Students not only participated in the 10-week program together, but also lived together on the same campus. The collective life and schedules helped students build a strong partnership, said Tsai.
► Aris Tsai participates in the 276th session of the FBI National Academy (Source: Aris Tsai)
The program involved physical training and professional courses. Speaking about the Yellow Brick Road, a 10-kilometer training course that took place at the beginning of the program’s last week, Tsai acknowledged it was quite challenging.
Students had to climb walls of two- to three-story high, and walk through steep slopes and muddy roads, Tsai recalled. Every year there are students injured or even killed during the activity, she said.
Apart from physical training, Tsai said she was particularly motivated by senior officers who shared their experiences, as well as by practices exchanged between students.
Students discussed what types of crime they have to deal with most frequently at home and the firearms regulations set for the police in their countries, said Tsai. Countries like the United States, where mass shootings are frequent, have very different gun regulations for law enforcement personnel from Taiwan, where cybercrime and financial crime are more prevalent, she added.
In addition to training and courses, Tsai also had an opportunity to promote Taiwanese culture. Aided by two colleagues from MJIB, Tsai prepared Taiwanese cuisine for the International Night event, including Kaoliang liquor, Zongzi, and the so-called “thousand-year eggs.”
► Aris Tsai stands behind a booth promoting Taiwanese cuisine as part of the FBI National Academy program (Source: Aris Tsai)
The dishes successfully drew the attention of students and instructors from the academy, and many of them later expressed an interest to visit Taiwan, according to Tsai.
Having just returned home on Sunday (June 9), Tsai said what she has gained the most from this experience is the social capital that will benefit her work in the international affairs division in the future.