FBI Compliance Academy:
My blink experience
» The relationship between the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics and Federal Bureau of Investigation provides
ethics and compliance officers the opportunity to learn about the FBI program.
» The FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, is a demonstration of the FBI’s commitment to training agents to be ethical leaders
who demonstrate integrity in their decisions.
» Presentations provide attendees with the FBI’s perspective on current events.
» Desired results are accomplished by following the principles of ethical decision‑making.
» Time pressure increases inaccuracy in making split decisions.
In July, I had the opportunity to participate in the FBI Compliance Academy. This is an annual event hosted by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Office of
Integrity and Compliance (OIC) with the
Society of Corporate Compliance and
Ethics (SCCE). This two-day event
includes topics, tours, experiencing
the life of a new agent, and
networking opportunities. The first
day is spent at the FBI Headquarters
building located in Washington DC.
The second day is spent at the FBI
Academy’s training facility located
in Quantico, Virginia. Each presentation
was enlightening, and the presenters
One presentation that I will not forget is
the Deadly Force Policy/Judgmental Shooting
that occurred at the FBI Academy. This
course was 75 minutes for FBI Compliance
attendees but a two-week course for FBI
Special Agents. Daily, FBI agents face life-
and-death scenarios, and their actions will be
judged in accordance with the reasonableness
at the moment. An agent’s decision to use
deadly force is made in tense, uncertain, and
rapidly evolving situations.1 To prepare for
these decisions, agents learn the six principles
of ethical decision-making, which include
autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence,
justice, veracity, and fidelity.
As one can imagine, there were several
topics in the presentation, but I will share
a few. First, the FBI as an institution must
follow the law. Agents take an Oath of
Office, which is their promise to uphold
the law. They don’t bend the law or create
shortcuts to uphold the law. Research and
experience reveals that when they follow the
law, they still win. By winning, this means
objectives are met and are always much
better than anticipated than if an agent forced
a result. One example provided was seizing
a suspect at another individual’s private
residence. Next, the legal standard is the U.S.
Constitution and the Bill of Rights. When an
attendee asked about the FBI’s jurisdiction,
we learned that there are more than 300
federal statutes that give the FBI jurisdiction.
by Walter E. Johnson, CCEP, CCEP‑I