ATF Citizens’ Academy: Reporter’s Learning Experience


Los Angeles Times reporter Scott Glover writes about his experiences at the eight-week Citizens’ Academy program of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “As a reporter covering federal law enforcement in Los Angeles, I enrolled in the class to learn more about the ATF and what its agents do,” he writes. “Though I’ve been writing about law enforcement for years, I knew far less about the agency than I did its better-known cousins, the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.”

Glover says the classes began with a history lesson about the 2,600-agent bureau and eventually included firearms training. He writes, “The academy, which is free, is offered twice a year. Each participant must be at least 21 years old, live in Southern California and be ‘a civic, religious or community leader.’ Despite this last requirement, I received an e-mail in February letting me know that I’d been accepted. My 35 classmates included several lawyers and support staff from the city attorney’s office, some film and television producers, a Superior Court judge, a real estate attorney, an aspiring ATF agent and one very gung-ho looking insurance agent.”

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