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Two from Gwinnett conquer FBI academy

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two members of Gwinnett's law enforcement community recently graduated from a strenuous FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., with high standards for acceptance.

Major Tom Bardugon, Special Operations Commander with Gwinnett police, and the Sheriff's Department's Major Kirk Williamson were both chosen to attend the notoriously brutal academy from April 3 to June 10.

Candidates must apply to the FBI to gain entry and only 1 percent of law enforcement officers nationwide are accepted, officials said. The academy consists of forensics, computer crimes, leadership, statement analysis, labor law and a grueling physical fitness test.

This year's academy had representatives from 246 agencies, including 48 state agencies, three military agencies and 22 international agencies. Candidates are chosen based on executive level, background and experience.

"This experience has made me a better person and a better member of the community, as well as a better law enforcement officer," Williamson said.

The FBI academy opens the training to law enforcement agencies four times a year.

"I think it speaks volumes that only 1 percent of officers nationwide are chosen to attend this training in any given academy," Sheriff Butch Conway said in a release, "and we had two chosen from Gwinnett County law enforcement agencies."