Morris Plains Chief Scott Thompson has been back to work for two weeks as a police chief after recently graduating from the intense 10-week FBI National Academy.
Thompson returned to Morris Plains on March 16, the same day he graduated from the school in Quantico, VA. The course ran from Jan. 9 to March 16.
Thompson not only graduated, but he successfully completed the optional and final test of the fitness challenge. The name of the course, "The Yellow Brick Road," is nothing like the bright and happy road that we know of from the renowned hollywood film; it's a 7-mile strenuous course full of obstacle. Thompson has to run through through creeks, climb over walls, and crawl under barbed wire in muddy water.
"The obstacle course was a blast, I would do that again," Thompson said. "But being soaked and muddy and trying to run four miles is just uncomfortable."
Not everyone got to partake in the final challenge. Thompson said that only participants who completed each challenge during the 10-week course were given a wristband to get on the Yellow Brick Road. All of the participants who completed the final step were awarded a yellow brick. Thompson's brick is displayed in the on the second floor.
In order to go to the academy, a participant must be picked and then go through an extensive background check and application process. Thompson was asked a few years ago by an FBI agent with whom he had previously worked. He then had to seek permission to attend the academy from the borough, and once officials approved him to go, they agreed to pay his salary while he was away. Thompson is the only police officer from Morris Plains to ever attend the FBI Academy.
At the April 5 council meeting, Thompson got the opportunity to thank the council members for giving him the chance.
"That will definitely be the highlight of my career, I can't see anything really beating it," Thompson said.
This is Thompson's 25th year working with the .
Mayor Frank Druetzler congratulated Thompson for completing the course. Council members also announced that Thompson will receive a 5 percent salary increase, effective April 1, for completing the program.
Thompson shared his experiences from the academy at a borough council meeting Thursday night, and said overall that the experience was incredible. The class consisted of 257 people from all over the world, with 20 countries and 48 states represented. Eight of the participants were from New Jersey.
"It was interesting to see what cops are like from all over the place," he said.
Aside from the fitness programs, the participants had classes, group projects, and saw many speakers who worked with famous cases such as those of O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony.