By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Sgt. Eddie Walker’s journey to a national honor started with a joke to his superior.
Munford Police Captain Randall Baskin was the first officer from his department to attend the FBI’s National Academy. Sharing that experience one day with Walker, the 31-year-old made a causal remark.
“The Captain went to the Academy in ‘04,” he said. “He and I were joking about him going. I made the mention of, ‘Hey, when I go you remember these things.’ The Chief overheard it. He called me outside the next day and asked me if I was interested.”
The next day Walker received a packet and phone call and was on his way to Quantico, Va. For a 10-week course.
The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement leaders that serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.
The National Academy came to be in July 1935 with 23 students. On July 15, Walker joined 270 peers in the Washington D.C. Area to become the Class of 2012. The 13-year MPD veteran was one of six officers from Tennessee.
There were 49 states represented along with 24 countries. The mission of the Academy is to support, promote, and enhance the personal and professional development of law enforcement leaders by preparing them for complex, dynamic, and contemporary challenges through innovative techniques, facilitating excellence in education and research, and forging partnerships throughout the world.
“I was honored to get the opportunity to go,” Walker said. “It’s a big honor within this field. Everybody in law enforcement dreams of going to this thing. To do it at such a young age is an awesome opportunity.”
Walker met the requirements from his track record on the force to his physical abilities. The 6’1 officer was under the required weight limit and body fat percentage. He was recommended by several superior officers including the sherif of Tipton County and MPD chief.
After passing a detail background check, the 1999 Munford High School graduate was selected to be a part of the National Academy.
For 10 weeks, officers participated in a wide range of leadership and specialized training. They had a chacne to share ideas, techniques, and experiences with each other.
Walker took classes like Behavioral Science, Labor Law and Statement Analyiss. Then he had to take on the physical challenges like the Yellow Brick Road and Blue Brick Swim.
He earned his yellow brick completing the 6.2 mile run. And he received the blue brick for finishing a 34-mile swim.
On Sept. 21, Walker graduated the Academy. Now back at 79 College Street, Walker said his peers from larger cities and around the world have made an impact on how he’ll approach his job.
“The Academy really helped me as far as knowing what I need to improve on as far as being a leader in my department,” he acknowledged. “I met guys there who have spent 20 plus years in law enforcement. It taught me. It wasn’t really about the classroom settings. It was about meeting all these people from different agencies who can teacher more than any classroom could.”
The Munford native said he’s pretty sure he left a mark on his classmates as well.
“It really showed me how small we were,” he said. “But it was a great honor to represent a small department. There weren’t that many there. I gave them a different prospective. A lot them were from large agencies.
“They have problems in their agencies but we have problems too,” Walker concluded. “They never really realized the problems we deal with here.”