On Location

FBI Academy in Quantico - break room seen in "Silence of the Lambs" FBI Academy in Quantico - movie poster signed by Jimmy Stewart in 1989 No offense to the White House or the Pentagon but the FBI Academy in Quantico was the highlight of my field trip with the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Many people would recognize the facility from its appearance in “Silence of the Lambs.” Jodie Foster’s character is still in training to become an FBI agent when, in a scenario that would never happen in real life, she is called upon to interview a serial killer to gain insight about other crimes. My son and I plan to re-watch it when we get home to Knoxville. I will also keep an eye on my listings for other movies about the Bureau that were mentioned on our tour, “Donnie Brasco,” “Public Enemies” and “The FBI Story.”

FBI Academy in Quantico - swimming pools with training rifles seen in background FBI Academy in Quantico - FBI Laboratory Hannibal Lecter’s adversary is a G-man named Jack Crawford. Our tour guide for the day was a public affairs specialist named Kurt Crawford. He took us all over the campus. Throughout the course of a full day on Wednesday, we saw a video called “21 Weeks” about the training new agents receive, we had a briefing at the lab on evidence response teams and enjoyed a $9 lunch buffet in the cafeteria.

We went inside a building with movable rubber walls that can be arranged in many different floor-plans. Agents get experience knocking down doors and taking control of dangerous hostage situations in unfamiliar spaces. When training in that building, they use frangible ammunition that shatters instead of ricochets. The rubber walls absorb most of the shots. Seeing stacks and stacks of brand new doors made me think that whoever sells them to the FBI has a pretty good thing going for themselves.

FBI Academy in Quantico - 9/11 Memorial FBI Academy in Quantico - 9/11 Memorial close up A September 11th memorial had twin towers, inscribed with a map of Pennsylvania, placed in the center of the Pentagon. A piece of debris from each site is placed in front of the monument. They had to fence in the courtyard to keep the flowers from being devoured by deer. We saw dozens of deer during our tour. They seemed unfazed by the gunshots on the firing ranges. One FBI employee was sure that some of the deer look both ways before crossing the road.

FBI Academy in Quantico - Frank in Hogan's Alley FBI Academy in Quantico - Dogwood Inn (fake motel) at Hogan's Alley Before leaving, our bus driver took us to the TEVOC course and Hogan’s Alley, where training sessions were in progress. On the course, drivers were practicing skids and sudden braking. At the replica town, a group of new recruits were interviewing suspects at a fake motel when one of the role-players pulled a gun and started shooting blanks. She was subdued and the instructors ended the exercise by shouting “code red” although I half expected them to yell “scene.”

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