XENIA — Chris Stutes is part of a pretty elite group of law enforcement officials.
The Xenia Police Division administrative captain graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., Dec. 20, after an arduous 11-week session that included intense classroom work and marine-quality physical fitness testing.
The FBI National Academy, which began operation in 1935, gives officers increased knowledge in advanced communication, leadership and fitness.
“The police department has had a history of sending supervisors and command staff to different schools,” Stutes said. “The FBI National Academy is one that’s a little more difficult to get into.”
Stutes applied when he was promoted to captain three years ago and wasn’t expecting to get in until 2022 — if he got in at all as some smaller departments have a five or six year wait. But after a few other officers from elsewhere backed out, Stutes was in.
He chose the graduate program path and took 17 credit hours held through the University of Virginia. His course load included classes on managing organizational change, essentials for law enforcement executives, intelligence led police scene, and wellness and vitality in law enforcement.
There were also classes on contemporary issues with high-profile speakers and a lot of papers to write.
Stutes and the other officers also had fitness sessions, around four times a week on average, and had a challenge each Wednesday. That culminated on the final Monday with the Yellow Brick Road, a 6.1-mile, Marine-built obstacle course.
The course traverses through a hilly, wooded trail and along the way, the participants must climb over walls, run through creeks, jump through simulated windows, scale rock faces with ropes, crawl under barbed wire in muddy water, maneuver across a cargo net, and more. When (and if) the students complete this difficult test, they receive an actual yellow brick to memorialize their achievement. The course came to be known as the “Yellow Brick Road” years ago, after the Marines placed yellow bricks at various spots to show runners the way through the wooded trail.
Stutes, 47, was battling the flu the last two weeks of the academy and ran the 6.1 miles with a 101-degree temperature.
“I completed it, so I got my (dang) yellow brick,” Stutes said with a laugh.
In addition to learning and running Stutes was able to network with other officers from the United States and around the world.
“It reaffirmed to me here in (Xenia) we do a lot of things right,” he said, specifically mentioning the good support and positive relationship XPD has with the community.
“It was a great experience,” Stutes said. “I’m thankful that the chief and the City of Xenia gave me the opportunity to go.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.