continually stresses the importance of professional development and for the next 10 weeks Stoughton’s Police Chief will have the opportunity to take part in the ultimate law enforcement training session.
Chief Shastany is one of only seven law enforcement agents from New England and 250 worldwide departing on Friday for this 248th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Participation is by invitation only.
As its website describes, “The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study that serves...to support, promote, and enhance the personal and professional development of law enforcement leaders by preparing them for complex, dynamic, and contemporary challenges through innovative techniques, facilitating excellence in education and research, and forging partnerships throughout the world."
Shastany has selected to take classes in areas such as leadership and communication.
Those invited to the prestigious Academy include “leaders and managers of state and local police, sheriffs' departments, military police organizations, and federal law enforcement agencies...from every state in the union, from U.S. territories, and from over 150 international partner nations,” the website explains.
The diversity of the program offers great networking opportunities and the chance to adopt additional best practices.
While the Chief will be spending the majority of his 10 weeks in a classroom, there is also a vigorous physical component. Though the final physical test of the fitness challenge is optional, Shastany is accepting the challenge.
And a challenge it will be.
The wooded trail, built by the Marines, is better known as the “Yellow Brick Road.” It is a grueling 6.1-mile run filled with obstacles—walls to climb, rocks to scale, creeks to run through, and barbed wire to crawl under in muddy water, just to name a few.
“When (and if) the students complete this difficult test, they receive an actual yellow brick to memorialize their achievement,” according to the Academy website.
Since being hired as Chief almost two years ago, Shastany says he “hasn’t ever said no to professional development.”
“When officers go to school it benefits the town,” he said, adding, “What you don’t know is what you need to know.”
In addition to the Chief’s advocacy for training, he also emphasizes leadership at all levels.
"The had been cited for a failure to train and supervise [prior to Shastany’s arrival],” he said.
“We have changed to rise to the expectations of the town. We have created a culture of facilitators and coaches along with supervisors…Morale has never been higher, training has accomplished any gaps identified.”
“Being good is not good enough and I am going to the academy for that reason,” Shastany added.
“ is part of policing. We must learn not only the legal aspects, but the emerging trends and the current issues affecting policing. Just think of how much has changed the field of policing. From bullying to murder, the first thing we look for is a cell phone. The potential for harm through technology is vast.”
But as a man who lives by the motto “good isn’t good enough” and one who is never satisfied with the status quo, his invitation to the Academy should come as no surprise.
However, he remains humble and continues to be in awe of the enlightening experience that awaits him.
“It is my hope to bring back even more tools and skills,” Shastany said. “Policing is always changing. I don’t want to be blindsided by change.”
Enthusiastic after attending a pre-training orientation Wednesday at the Boston Federal Bureau of Investigation, he called the training, “a once in a lifetime opportunity”.
And his wife, Anne Marie, agrees. Though Shastany admits the time apart will be difficult.
“We are like two peas in a pod,” he said. “We will be married 31 years this April 25th; we spend all our downtime together. I am a family guy [and] I will miss her and my kids terribly.”
But, “she will be stoic,” Shastany said, and then goes on to describe the preparations needed to leave this time of year.
“I have all my tax stuff together and have made sure the driveway will be plowed [when it snows].”
Then there are the preparatory procedures for the Stoughton Police Department itself. In his absence, Executive Officer, Lt. Robert Devine will be in charge of the Department.
“The department is self-sustaining with its leadership in its place,” Shastany said.
“This is also time,” the Chief continued, “so I ensured that the budget was prepared prior to my leaving and submitted it to the Town Manager for his evaluation.”
So, with his affairs in order, Chief Paul Shastany is off to become one of the select individuals fortunate enough to benefit from such a rigorous leadership program—both mentally and physically.
The invitation to attend the Accademy itself may be a sign at how far the department has come under Shastany’s leadership.
“The change in the [department] has been noticed and the town is thought of that much by the FBI to give us the chance to do it”, Shastany said.
“I have been receiving well wishes from police chiefs from all across the state”, it’s an amazing thing”, he added.
As for the Stoughton Police Department’s feelings about their Chief’s achievement, they shared the following comment on Facebook: “We would all like to wish Chief Shastany well as he heads off [to] the FBI’s National Academy. Good luck Chief, make us proud.”