SWAT, bombers and helicopters: FBI Richmond community outreach program takes teens behind the scenes

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The loud whirring of the blades of a helicopter brought everyone outside to see what was going on – and when it fell to the ground, the hostage rescue team from the FBI jumped in.

This exhibition wasn’t for nothing, it was to give a group of teenagers the chance to witness something that could change the way they see their future.

About 25 teens got a chance to participate in the FBI Richmond Community Outreach Program to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at the office.

The program lasted two days with the appearance of the helicopter as “the icing on the cake”.

In the Teen Academy 2021 program, students were able to attend presentations on violent crime, hate crimes and civil rights, in addition to demonstrating with Bomb Techs, SWAT units and simulators with Henrico Police.

Photo by Tyler Thrasher

Standley Meador, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, said it was “an opportunity to bring them into our walls and show them what we’re doing.”

“We are looking to give students an education on things to think about for their careers,” Meador said. “Opportunities to learn more about what we do, the surveys we are working on, giving them the opportunity to discover our specialized programs such as our IT analysis intervention team. “

He said teens are able to learn as much as they can teach them about the FBI … with some caveats.

“Are there things we can’t talk about? Absolutely, ”Meador said. “That’s the nature of some of our work. But there are things when it comes to connecting with the community, there are things we can teach them. There are things they can see and learn.

The teens had a chance to talk to the pilots at the protest on Tuesday. Vivian Stewart, Bailey Spencer and Caroline Zorn all jumped at the chance.

“I think it definitely helped me decide the FBI is where I want to be,” Stewart said.

“Seize every opportunity. It’s a great experience and it’s 100% worth it, ”added Spencer.

Meador said the mission to protect people isn’t just about work cases, but it’s also about times like these to connect with the community and make an impact.

“Our success, even as young people, depends on your initiative to take advantage of an opportunity,” Meador said.

The program will accept applications for junior and senior high school students. When these are available, they will be published on this article.

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