DANBURY, CONN. — Campus safety is something the Western Connecticut State University Police Department takes seriously, and one way to keep crime at bay is to make sure the university’s officers are trained in the most current crime-prevention techniques. That’s why a rare opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy was something Sgt. Richard (“Monte”) Montefusco couldn’t pass up.
As one of WCSU’s police sergeants, Montefusco is in charge of community service and crime prevention.
“My goal is for the university to get all faculty, students and staff on the same page when it comes down to dealing with the world in which we live,” Montefusco said. “Safety and security are everyone’s responsibility and we all need to work together to maintain the current, safe environment.”
Once nominated for participation in the FBI National Academy by the WCSU Police Department, Montefusco underwent an extensive background check and interview process. Only one-half of one percent of all law enforcement personnel in the world are invited by the director of the FBI to attend the academy.
Montefusco said it was an overwhelming honor to participate in the intensive, 10-week training at Quantico, Virginia.
According to the FBI website, “Established in 1935, the National Academy provides advanced investigative, management and fitness training to senior officers who are proven leaders within their organizations. In addition to undergraduate and graduate-level college courses offered in areas such as law, behavioral and forensic science, understanding terrorism and terrorists, and leadership development, students forge lasting connections that strengthen global law enforcement partnerships.”
During the program, Montefusco took courses in civil law, civil liability, social media, communication strategies and labor law. He also received intensive behavioral training taught by an FBI behavioral scientist on the human psyche, anti-social and psycho-social behavior, and how people think.
Montefusco, who is one of Western’s firearms instructors, studied less-lethal munitions at the academy, focusing on the use of alternatives to guns such as batons, gas and “everything in the FBI’s arsenal.” Relying on less lethal options for crowd control, Montefusco said, will allow university police to neutralize a situation in seconds without having to wait for special teams to arrive on campus.
He also participated in the FBI’s “VIRTSIM,” which fabricates active shooter scenarios through the use of avatars. “They can produce any situation you can imagine,” Montefusco said, “and the avatars are so real that it really gets your adrenaline going. I went through in a team with 13 other guys who I had just met and we all immediately understood the concept that we had to work together.”
Fifty percent of the academy curriculum was based on physical training, which included a 6.1-mile Marine Corps run-and-obstacle course called the Yellow Brick Road. “It was some of the most grueling physical training I’ve ever gone through in my career,” Montefusco said. “They change your life when it comes to working out.”
Joining Montefusco at Quantico were police officers from 17 countries and 48 states, which he said not only enlarged his network of professional contacts but also Western’s ability to interact with officers nationwide and internationally for feedback on how other departments have handled specific situations. Among the officers in attendance were campus police from the University of Las Vegas, the University of Tennessee and Penn State University. Montefusco was one of only three officers representing the hundreds of law enforcement agencies in Connecticut.
“The Academy gave me the opportunity to take a look at myself and my opportunities as a police officer, how to mold other officers and all aspects of leadership,” Montefusco said. “Overall, this rounds you off as a police officer and brought together everything I’ve learned in my 21-year career.
“It has also given me the confidence that any future issues can be solved,” he said. “It’s a compliment to our department — we have a great bunch of officers, and I understand the level of commitment and expertise that my fellow officers hold. As a father of two children, I would feel safe having them come to Western.”
For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.