Police Capt. Anthony Dawkins has graduated from the FBI National Academy and is the first member of the Winter Garden Police Department to do so while serving the city. He joins Winter Garden’s only other FBI Academy graduate, Chief Steve Graham, who obtained his diploma before joining the city.
Dawkins’ graduation took place Dec. 7 at the academy in Quantico, Virginia. Fewer than 1% of officers in the nation have the opportunity to attend the program.
For 10 weeks, Dawkins participated in advanced communication, leadership and fitness training with other members in this 288th session. He attended six classes, starting at 7:30 a.m. and sometimes concluding at 6 p.m., including a physical training class that challenged participants weekly.
“You think you know something, and you go and learn something new,” he said.
All classes were college-level, taught by the FBI and the University of Virginia; Dawkins received 18 hours of graduate-level credit for classes in emotional intelligence in leadership, organizational change, psychology of leadership, leadership influence in culture and media.
He said it was a great experience and he was able to make many important connections. The FBI holds its own training classes year-round, so participating law-enforcement officers get the chance to train side-by-side with agents. During the new-trainee session, officers also have the opportunity to meet one another and provide their contact information to build a repository of resources.
“You become a part of a large network, not only in the United State but internationally as well,” Dawkins said. “I made connections with South Korea and Nigeria.”
This provides law-enforcement officers all over the world a forum in which to ask questions and get feedback from other agencies that have experienced specific situations.
REACHING A GOAL
Dawkins said it has always been a goal of his to attend the national academy.
“I didn’t think it ever come to fruition; I’m very fortunate,” he said.
He applied to his field officer, who is in Tampa and was allowed to send five officers to training. After passing a background check, proving he can run one mile under 10 minutes and going through other physical components, Dawkins was notified that he was going to Quantico.
“You might apply but it doesn’t mean you get in,” he said. “There were actually 12 of us from the state of Florida that went. When you’re (the) 1%, you’re truly 1%.”
A total of 198 law-enforcement officers attended — men and women from 45 states and the District of Columbia. The class included members of agencies from 24 countries, four military organizations and six federal civilian organizations.
Winter Garden Police Chief Steve Graham was pleased to send Dawkins to the FBI academy.
“Capt. Anthony Dawkins is a valued and dedicated member of the agency’s leadership team,” he said. “The knowledge and networking attained through the National Academy will benefit this agency and Anthony throughout the remainder of his career.”
DEDICATED TO COMMUNITY POLICING
“I’ve found a good career in Winter Garden,” Dawkins said. “I’ve never been in law enforcement anywhere else.”
He began his career with the Winter Garden Police Department in March 2004 in the community policing unit in east Winter Garden. During his time with the city, he progressed through the ranks gaining experience in many aspects of law enforcement.
He was on bike patrol for five years, creating many community programs with fellow Officer James McLeod, before being promoted to sergeant and moving to the patrol division.
He was promoted again to lieutenant and went back on patrol. As a four-year captain, he has led both the patrol division and support services.
Dawkins embraces community policing and is active in cultivating positive relationships within the Winter Garden community. He has master’s degrees in both criminal justice and leadership management. He is also a graduate of the Southern Police Institute’s command officer’s course. A dedicated family man, Dawkins enjoys spending time with his family and friends.