SUWANEE - Less than one percent of the world's law enforcement leaders have gone through the FBI's elite National Academy.
Suwanee police Capt. Cass Mooney will soon be the fifth officer from his small department to do it.
Mooney, along with 250 fellow officers from around the world, begins the 10-week, invitation-only course Monday at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va., also home to the FBI and DEA training academies.
"I am very excited about the opportunity and humbled to have been chosen," Mooney said. "It is something that I have worked toward my entire career."
Mooney, 35, has 14 years of law-enforcement experience and holds a master's degree in public administration, but knows that it's never too late to learn something new.
"I'm going to take this opportunity to improve myself both mentally and physically," he said.
During their stay at Quantico, students take courses on various subjects including law, behavioral science, forensic science, leadership development, communication and health and fitness. They are encouraged to mingle with one another, network and share ideas and experiences.
Mooney believes the time spent with officers from other states and nations will be most beneficial.
"I am looking forward to interacting with so many other officers from around the world," he said. "Overall, the problems that law enforcement faces are universal. Being able to see how different agencies tackle problems will allow me to bring new solutions to Suwanee."
Mooney said the academy is "like the Harvard of police training," with but a single drawback.
"This will be the longest time that I have ever spent away from my wife and children," he said.
A sacrifice he and his family knows is well worth it.
"Fortunately for me, my wonderful wife understands what a tremendous opportunity this is for me, and she is supporting me completely," he said.