Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker is to be one of two New Mexico law enforcement officials to attend a 10-week training course at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., in October.
The course is geared towards higher-ranking law enforcement officials at the city, county, state and national levels.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to get to further my education and leadership skills,” Hooker said. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to better myself in order to better serve the citizens of Roosevelt County.”
Hooker said the academy is well known within the law enforcement community and he had spoken to several other law enforcement officials who had previously attended the school. He said after about a three-month process, he was notified two weeks ago he had been accepted.
The academy opened in 1935 with 23 students but now averages about 260 students per class.
According to Albuquerque FBI Special Agent Richard Price, there are four 10-week classes a year and students are trained in a variety of subjects, such as law, behavioral science, forensic science, media, terrorism, communication, leadership development and health and fitness.
“I think it’s a tremendous honor, whether I’m sending you from the Albuquerque PD (police department) or from Roosevelt County,” Price said. “I think it speaks very highly of the Roosevelt County community that he (Hooker) has the opportunity to go. Hopefully, this will open a door for other Roosevelt County officials going at a later date.”
He said candidates are required to have a physical and thorough background check in which superiors, peers and subordinates of the candidate are interviewed.
“It’s a very prestigious and very hard program to qualify for,” Price said. “As a citizen, it’s a very great thing to have for all of us. It makes our cops better. And they come back and make their departments and their communities better.”
Price said he chooses the New Mexico candidates based on how they have performed at each level of their law enforcement career and how they have handled their leadership roles.
“I saw him (Hooker) as a leader and he seems like he’s very in tune with his community,” Price said. “He’s sincere and empathetic to other people. He’s a people person and from what I’ve heard, he’s good at diffusing situations. Those are the kind of people you want in this profession.”
Hooker previously served in U.S. Army law enforcement, during which time he served overseas in Iraq and received the Bronze Star for bravery. He has been in the law enforcement profession for close to 25 years.
“It’s a good opportunity for me professionally and personally,” Hooker said of the training course. “My hope is that this training will better me for all law enforcement within Roosevelt County.”