Last month in Quantico, Virginia, Jeffery S. Montesano, chief deputy officer of Cornell University Police Department, became a graduate of the FBI National Academy — only the third person from the University to do so.
After undergoing a lengthy, complex nomination process which required an extensive background check, recommendations, criminal history checks and tests of physical endurance, Montesano finally became a student of the academy.
During his final physical assessment on what the academy calls the “Yellow Brick Road” — adorned with obstacles resembling parts of the Wizard of Oz — Montesano ran the 6.1 mile hilly trail built by the Marines to secure his place in the top one percent of law enforcement agents across the world.
“It’s a very lengthy process for selection,” Montesano said. “I’m very honored and very humbled by it.”
Montesano, who previously spent the past nine years attempting to join the academy, is now one of the 52,540 members to do so since 1935.
With members from a variety of countries and backgrounds, the FBI National Academy trains professionals from different law enforcement backgrounds in leadership and specialized areas through coursework, physical assessments and networking.
“It gave me an opportunity to go and network with foreign students … and to talk to other colleges about their universities’ police departments best practices and philosophies and skills that are working in their communities,” Montesano said.
His class, which consisted of about 15 international students from different universities and government agencies, offered Montesano a network of law enforcement colleagues for the future.
“The most important part there was the networking and that’s just knowing that I have 250 new law enforcement friends that I can reach out at any given time … to bounce off ideas, learn new ideas and try to work with them on what works and what doesn’t work,” Montesano said.
As a part of the process, the FBI National Academy asked Montesano for his long term goals — which he told The Sun consisted of staying at Cornell to “give back to the community … and to bring back the best law enforcement practices that are being used across the world.”
Montesano has 21 years of experience in law enforcement with Cornell, holding titles such as a K-9 officer and sergeant, and he intends to use the practices he learned from the Academy to better address campus-wide issues as he continues his time as a Cornell officer.
“I’m very much in tune to community policing. I completely enjoy it, I completely entrust it… I went there to build my skills to help the men and women of the department trust my leadership,” Montesano said. “I want to partner with surrounding police agencies so our officers are best trained… I feel that it’s very important to the Cornell community to know their officers are well trained.”