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Mom, daughter head to FBI academy

by Merrie Leininger

In a rare opportunity, a Minden mother and daughter will participate in a program at the FBI academy together this week.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Jennie Hill and her daughter, Explorer Captain Kim Smith, are attending the 1999 National Law Enforcement Exploring/FBI Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. this week – Hill as an adult leader and Kim as a participant.

Hill is the Explorer post advisor and Kim has been an Explorer since the family moved to Minden 3 1/2 years ago from Huntington Beach, Calif. Kim, a Douglas High School junior, has grown up with law enforcement officers all around. Her stepfather, Jim Hill is in charge of the DCSO reserve program and works boat patrol at the Lake.

Hill said she is one of only a few adults picked to be a leader. Not every Explorer advisor gets to go.

Kim, 17, was picked from 400 applicants to be one of 30 participants for the program, which is held every other year.

“It’s the one greatest achievement in Exploring. I’m super excited. I just want to learn as much as I can while I’m there,” Kim said.

Kim had to submit an extensive record of her achievements as an Explorer and a student-athlete. Kim runs cross-county and track and field at DHS, in addition to being on the basketball team.

She also enjoys playing softball and snow sports.

Kim had to write an essay on “What Law Enforcement Exploring has Meant to Me.” In it, she explained how Exploring had helped her become involved in her new community after moving here.

Five people also had to write recommendations for Kim.

Kim said she loves the structure and the atmosphere of law enforcement.

“I like how everything fits in a schedule. Everyone in law enforcement are all decent people. It’s like one big family,” she said.

She will be taking classes on leadership and motivation, in addition to specialized programs by members of the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Postal Inspection and U.S. Customs.

Kim said the programs will help her future in the military or law enforcement.

Hill will be responsible for a small group of Explorers for the 10 days they are in Washington.

“I will be meeting kids from other states and talking to them about where they live and sharing my experiences with them and talking to them about what they do and what’s different about the way (our Explorer post) runs things,” she said.

She was also very excited about sharing the experience with her daughter.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Not very many people get to do this. It is one of those opportunities that will live with us forever,” Hill said.