Minnesota’s first FBI Citizens’ Academy, a six-session inside look at the bureau for a select few ordinary folks, ended Saturday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune says. Participants saw a noisy demonstration of a hostage rescue by a special weapons and tactical (SWAT) team and shot a variety of the FBI’s favorite firearms at the bureau’s shooting range. Some got a kick, in more ways than one, out of firing machine-gun bursts from the M4s and MP5s.
The academies, which have been held in other states for more than a decade, are a chance to connect with communities that may be ignorant or even fearful of the bureau. Michael Tabman, agent in charge of the Minneapolis FBI office, hopes the program will “demystify” and “put a human face” on the bureau. “A certain amount of transparency will develop trust between citizens and the FBI, thereby encouraging citizens to be fully engaged in protecting their community and their country,” he said. Several hundred people applied for the academy, but only 19 were chosen, including invitees from the Somali community, which has had unwelcome contact with the FBI.