Glidewell joins elite alums from FBI National Academy

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

The ranks of Office of Special Investigations alums from the prestigious FBI National Academy (NA) grew Dec. 16, 2021, with the graduation of Special Agent William Glidewell.  

SA Glidewell, the Superintendent with the Directorate of Partner Engagement at Headquarters OSI here, was one of 128 law enforcement leaders from 41 states, seven federal agencies, and two international police agencies to complete the 280th Session, the FBI NA’s equivalent of a class.  

Participation in the academy is by invitation only via a nomination process centered on stringent nominee qualifications. Less than one percent of law enforcement officers will ever attend the course during their career.

“I’m forever grateful that (OSI Commander) Brig. Gen. (Terry L.) Bullard and the OSI leadership team provided me with the chance to achieve this amazing professional milestone,” Glidewell said.

SA Glidewell joins fellow FBI NA graduates: SA Keith Harper* (Session 196); former Command Chief Master Sgt. (retired) Chris Vanburger (249); Ms. Allyson Stephens (254); Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregg Gow (257); SA Matthew Peak (260); SA Van Mance (264); Mr. Jimmie Wideman* (267); SA Elizabeth Richards (268); Chief Master Sgt. David Flanagan (272); and SA Aaron Yardley (276). *Editor’s Note: Not with OSI at graduation.

“I’ve always considered OSI to have some of the most talented, intelligent and dedicated professionals in federal law enforcement,” Glidewell said. “I was selected to attend and join the company of OSI’s prestigious cast of past graduates who represent the great servant leaders I’ve worked for and the talented teams I’ve served on.”

The FBI NA serves to improve the administration of justice in law enforcement agencies worldwide and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation. It’s done through an 11 week program providing graduate coursework in intelligence theory, executive leadership, law, terrorism, communication, behavioral science and forensic science.

“During the session, I was able to network with, and learn from, some of the finest leaders in law enforcement,” Glidewell said. “(It was) truly, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where lifelong partnerships and friendships were built.”

Glidewell is no stranger to professional success since becoming a special agent in 2010. Among his accomplishments, he was awarded the 2016 U.S. Attorney’s Office (Middle District of Florida), Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in the Major Crimes Category, the same year he was presented the Air Force Arthur S. Flemming Leadership Award. He was a five-time Region Agent of the Year spanning the NCO/SNCO categories and in 2020 was named the OSI Senior NCO Agent of the Year.

Glidewell found the most challenging/demanding area of the FBI NA curriculum was “graduating and actually leaving.”

The final fitness challenge test, the difficult Yellow Brick Road, makes all the academy students physically earn their diplomas.

According to the FBI NA website, the “Yellow Brick Road” is a grueling 6.1-mile run through a hilly, wooded trail built by the Marines. 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) students complete this arduous test, they receive an actual yellow brick to memorialize their achievement.

The course donned the “Yellow Brick Road” moniker after Marines placed yellow bricks at various spots to show runners the way through the wooded trail.  The fitness challenge began in 1981 and the bricks in 1988.

The academy itself came to fruition on July 29, 1935, in response to a 1930 study recommending the standardization and professionalization of law enforcement departments across the U.S., through centralized training. Backed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and with the authority of Congress and the Department of Justice, the “FBI Police Training School” was launched.

It expanded the number of international students in August 1962, when President Kennedy signed National Security Action Memorandum No. 177 to enhance the training of overseas officers in the United States.

“The complement of enrichment events, thought-provoking course of study, and fellowship with some of the finest law enforcement leaders around the world has been the highlight of my professional career,” Glidewell said. “I’m excited to return to my OSI family with the NA experience and the new extended family of worldwide police partners, but will miss the daily academy camaraderie.”