LAYTON -- Layton Police Lt. Garret Atkin recently graduated with 271 other international law enforcement officers from the FBI National Academy.
Atkin, who has been with the Layton Police Department for the past 12 years, said he was on a waiting list for about three years before he was accepted to the academy, which is in Quantico, Va., and is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
He is the fourth officer currently with the Layton Police Department who has completed the course. The other three are Chief Terry Keefe, Assistant Chief Allen Swanson and Lt. Quinn Moyes, Atkin said.
Less than 1 percent of all law enforcement officers across the country get the opportunity to attend the academy, according to the Department of Justice and the FBI. The academy is held four times a year, according to the FBI's website.
Only one other officer from Utah was selected to attend the course with him, Atkin said, and he was from West Jordan.
The 10-week academy offered courses in advanced investigative management and fitness training. Atkin received credit from the University of Virginia for several of the courses he took that were on a master's level.
The hardest part of attending the academy, he said, was leaving his wife and two young sons behind for so long.
The most recent graduation, the 242nd session of the academy, had 26 countries, five military organizations and four federal civilian organizations represented, according to the Department of Justice.
Atkin said having law enforcement personnel from every part of the globe, plus every state, was an experience that could not be duplicated.
"It gave you networking opportunities that you couldn't get anywhere else," he said.
Atkin said discussing with other officers the issues they have dealt with in their departments has given him different perspectives on how to handle similar issues, if they arise, in his office.
The courses are geared around the U.S. Constitution, so it was interesting to watch and hear the surprise from officers from other countries about issues, such as search and seizure, Atkin said.
"They'd say, 'We wouldn't have to do it that way. The person is a criminal.' "
Some of the officers he met were from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Sweden and Georgia.
He said it was also interesting to watch an instructor introduce a topic, then almost "fade away" as the officers discussed it.
Atkin said the fitness program was not as grueling as he thought it would be -- it was more like the football training he underwent when he attended Southern Utah University.
"It was not just running endless miles," he said.
Atkin said he joined other students on weekends to visit the various historical sites in the area.
His visit to Arlington National Cemetery impressed him the most.
"I didn't think a cemetery could be that amazing, but it was," Atkin said.
He said he also visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adopted.
"It was just amazing to be in that place."