Hilliard police Lt. David Plesich recently completed the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Hilliard police Lt. David Plesich recently completed the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

"It was a terrific experience," said Plesich, 48.

He said the networking opportunities with other officers would prove as valuable as the classroom training he received.

"I can pick up a phone and call a police chief in Atlantic City or a captain in Boise, Idaho, and ask, 'What is your department doing about this problem ... or that problem?' " Plesich said.

"I was able to meet and learn from officers from all over the world ... and departments of all sizes. There were officers from NYPD, LAPD and officers from departments of fewer than 20 officers."

Chief Doug Francis and Deputy Chief Bobby Fisher nominated Plesich, who was vetted before being accepted as one of 221 members from 23 different countries of the FBI National Academy Class No. 256.

Plesich is one of the only members of the Hilliard Division of Police to graduate from the academy. Retired chief Rodney Garnett graduated from the academy in 1996, and ThisWeek was unable to identify any others.

Fisher said Plesich was nominated because of his leadership role in the department, and his knowledge will benefit the department and the community.

Plesich attended the FBI academy from Jan. 20 to March 28, attending classes 40 hours a week and completing a fitness challenge.

The fitness challenge at the FBI Academy began in 1981.

Since 1988, those who completed the final but optional test of the fitness challenge receive a yellow brick. The course itself is known as the "Yellow Brick Road" and is a 6.1-mile run on a hilly, wooded trail, on which runners must climb walls, crawl under wire, climb a cargo net, cross creeks and maneuver around other obstacles, according to the FBI.

The academic portion of the academy included instruction in behavioral science, forensic science, leadership development and communication, including working with the media, Plesich said.

In workgroups, each officer was asked to share a story about a specific investigation so others could learn from the procedure and tactics of the investigation, Plesich said.

Some of the classes dealt with profiling and creating a plausible identity for a suspect based on the committed crime, including studying terrorism, Plesich said.

Plesich said he was working with the Hilliard chiefs to schedule a "leadership development series" to share what he learned with the department's other officers. The series likely will be in early May.

Plesich is a graduate of the Ohio State University and joined the Hilliard Division of Police in 1987.

"I applied at Hilliard and Columbus. The first one that called would be the first one to get me," and the call came from Hilliard, Plesich said.

Plesich was promoted to sergeant in 1995 and lieutenant in 2012. In between, he graduated in 2006 with a law degree from Capital University.