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Lovvorn completes FBI training academy

One of the Camellia City’s most accomplished citizens just added another accolade to his already decorated lapel.

Greenville Police Department chief Justin Lovvorn just completed a three-month National Academy program at the FBI’s training facility inside the Marine base of Quantico, Va.

The program recruited from the top 1 percent of all law enforcement throughout the nation, and then filtered through that group through several applications to select the cream of the crop. 

The average wait to get into the academy is two and a half years.

Lovvorn said that the whole three-month experience was shockingly comparable to going to college while playing football for a major program.

“You go in and you take academic courses through the day, and you also have physical fitness classes you take three times a week and an additional challenge day every Wednesday,” Lovvorn said. 

“So you take off from your academic classes on Wednesday to take a challenge, and it’s a physical fitness course that gets a little harder each week depending on the challenge.”

The physical fitness half of the experience culminates in what is called the Yellow Brick Road, which includes two challenging components.  The first is a grueling Marine obstacle course, complete with three-miles of six-foot walls, two-story cliffs to climb, wooded pathways, rope ladders, balance beams and more.

The second is a four-mile straight run back to the academy. 

Just as challenging, according to Lovvorn, were the six courses attendees took during their three-month Quantico stay.

Lovvorn and others juggled four rotating classes each day in addition to other responsibilities and, when all was said and done, were awarded college credit for each course upon the completion of the program courtesy of the University of Virginia.

Lovvorn specifically asked to sign up for a forensics class that was taught by the FBI’s lead forensic instructor, and he said that the opportunity to learn from some of the most brilliant minds in the world was an easy highlight of the experience.

“I also went through a hostage negotiations class, and again our instructor was the lead instructor for the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team,” Lovvorn added.

“He coached the negotiator down in Midland City back when we had the boy in the bunker down there a few years ago.”

But perhaps more than the instructors, Lovvorn said that one of the most valuable aspects of the training program was the number of connections he made not only throughout the United States, but around the world.

Because the high-level law enforcement in attendance included 22 international students from countries such as Spain, Germany, Belgium, India and more, Lovvorn said that the world suddenly became a much smaller place as a result.

“While I was there, we had a person who had a complaint about phone calls from India involving a scam,” Lovvorn said.

“The lady from the federal intelligence police in India was in the same class with me, and I just pulled her aside afterwards and told her the problem we were having.  She relayed it back to India, and they’re taking care of the problem for me, whereas before there was nothing we could really do with that.”

Lovvorn also learned of cutting-edge technology that law enforcement is using around the world, such as electro-static machines that can magnetize surfaces and collect fingerprints even in circumstances where the prints appear to have been wiped clean.

“I would say that the whole experience was invaluable,” he added. “There’s no way you could put a price on it. 

“It was just huge, and everyone there would say it was the experience of a lifetime—the people, the information and the knowledge you gain while there, not to mention making you physically fit.”

The only downside, Lovvorn said, was the time spent away from his family and his colleagues at the Greenville Police Department. 

“But the department stayed held together really well,” he added. “The people here are competent, and I had a lot of faith that they could handle anything that came up while I was gone.

“And I was glad to get back to see my family and help out there.  My wife had to deal with everything at home going on with the kids and everything else, not to mention still supporting me as much as she could while I was there.  I’ve got to give them a lot of credit for being able to push through that with me and allowing me to be gone that long, and being able to deal with that like she did.  I can’t say enough about that.”