STURBRIDGE — A local police lieutenant achieved a significant national accomplishment earlier this month.

Lt. Earl Dessert was among 232 law enforcement officers who graduated from the FBI National Academy Program at Quantico, Virginia on June 8. The 272nd session of the National Academy consisted of men and women from 48 states. Also included in the class are members of law enforcement agencies from the District of Columbia, 25 international countries, five military organizations, and several federal organizations.

Internationally known for its academic excellence, the prestigious National Academy Program, held at the FBI Academy, offers ten weeks of advanced communication, leadership, and fitness training for selected officers having proven records as professionals within their agencies.

Lt. Dessert currently oversees the Operation Division at the Sturbridge Police Department. He has previously served as a patrol sergeant and patrol officer.

“We are extremely proud of Lt. Dessert for graduating from the FBI National Academy. The National Academy is an academic and physically challenging program that requires a dedicated commitment and perseverance to successfully complete. We are proud of Lt. Dessert’s diligence and hard work” said Police Chief Thomas J. Ford III. “We are pleased to have him back in Sturbridge, and we are confident that the training that he has received will serve to enhance the quality of service that we provide to the Town of Sturbridge” said Ford.

Training for the program is provided by the FBI Academy instructional staff, Special Agents and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise.

Throughout the ten week academy students participate in seven physical fitness challenges that lead up to the final fitness challenge called the Yellow Brick Road. The Yellow Brick Road is a grueling 6.5-mile run over the Marine Corps officer school’s obstacle course. The FBI describes the course as running through “lowlands, woods, muddy waters and simulated windows, up hills, over walls, under barbed wire and across a cargo net.”

Since 1972, National Academy students have been able to earn undergraduate and graduate credits from the University of Virginia due to the accreditation by the university of the many courses offered. Lt. Dessert took three graduate level courses and three undergraduate level courses while at the academy.

The FBI offers the course four times each year at the Marine base for law enforcement professionals. A total of 51,042 graduates now represent the alumni of the FBI National Academy since it began in 1935.

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