‘Career Day’ at FBI for Mom, daughter | RecordCourier.com
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‘Career Day’ at FBI for Mom, daughter

by Merrie Leininger

Call it career day for those interested in law enforcement.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Jennie Hill and her daughter, Explorer Captain Kim Smith, 17, both received job opportunities and career information during their stay at the FBI/Explorer Academy in Washington, D.C. last week.

The academy accepts an elite group of 30 Explorers from across the country every other year to spend a week learning about leadership and law enforcement branches.

Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and Secret Service spoke to the Explorers about their services and what it takes to become a member of their agencies.

Kim, who is the highest ranking officer of the Douglas County Explorers post, said she was excited the experience solidified her future schooling and career plans.

She met FBI agents from Texas and decided she would go into the Marine Corps ROTC while getting her degree in criminal justice from Texas A&M.

“It opened up a lot of opportunities. It helped me decide what I want to do. (FBI agent Bob Garity) talked to me and said I should get my degree and then become a (military police officer) in the Marine Corps. And with that kind of background, I shouldn’t have any trouble getting into the FBI,” she said. “If I didn’t go to this, I wouldn’t have a clue what it would take to get into the FBI.”

Academy director, Ben Gillard, who is chief investigator for the Nevada Division of Insurance, said a big purpose of the academy is to give the students a goal.

“We want to further the mission of law enforcement by energizing Explorers to go back to their posts and be true leaders,” he said. “We really focused on how important education is.”

Gillard, a former Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy and Explorers’ post advisor, went to Washington to supervise the Explorers’ academy.

Kim said she will try to relay the lessons she learned from her classes on leadership and team building.

But, beyond the things she learned during the last week, she said the friendships she made were the one of the best parts of the trip.

“I met lots of people from all over the place, Florida and New York. I definitely will keep in touch with them. It was neat to meet all these different people from all these different places with accents. Everyone had different uniforms and different ways they ran their post. I go lots of ideas about ways we can do things in a different way,” Kim said.

She said one of the ideas she came back with was to start an Explorer academy for those who want to join the post.

Kim’s mother, Hill said she also got an interesting opportunity by attending the FBI academy. In August, she will travel to Wisconsin to teach other officers how to be GREAT officers. That opportunity came through the main GREAT office, which is run by the ATF. GREAT is a class taught to middle school students about the dangers of getting involved with gangs. Hill has taught GREAT in Douglas County for about 1-1/2 years and said she has always wanted to be an instructor.

Hill said the academy was interesting for other reasons.

“We got a lot out of this, too,” Hill said of the four advisors on the trip. “We made special friendships and we know we will continue them by helping each other.”

Hill said she is recruiting Explorers for the Douglas County post right now to increase the number from the 15 in the post now.

Anyone 14-20 who has a desire to learn leadership skills, earn credit for high school, travel, compete and do community service can call Hill for more information at 782-9941.