St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jorge Vargas was among dozens of law enforcement officers from across the globe who graduated Sept. 14 from the prestigious 287th session of the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

Internationally known for its academic excellence, the FBI’s National Academy offers 10 weeks of advanced communication, leadership and fitness training. Participants must have proven records as professionals within their agencies to attend.

The 287th session consisted of 199 law enforcement officers from 46 states and the District of Columbia. The class also included members of law enforcement agencies from 21 countries, four military organizations and three federal civilian organizations.

Sheriff Pohlmann said he is proud of Lt. Vargas’ accomplishment.

“This program is highly competitive, and Lt. Vargas represented us well,” the Sheriff said. “He has brought back valuable knowledge and skills that will greatly benefit our department and the community we serve.”

Lt. Vargas, who attended the FBI Academy from July 10 through the Sept. 14 graduation, said he was honored to represent the SBSO.

“I felt a sense of personal accomplishment and validation for my skills and expertise,” Lt. Vargas said. “I have also grown awareness for officer wellness, vitality, and resilience within the law enforcement profession, and I am appreciative of the support and acceptance of this tight knit and loving community.”

Since its inception in 1935, more than 54,560 public safety professionals have graduated from the FBI National Academy.

Lt. Vargas joins the ranks of more than two dozen top-ranking SBSO deputies, both active and retired, who have completed this prestigious training and brought their expertise back to SBSO.

They include: Sheriff James Pohlmann, Deputy Chief John Doran, Deputy Chief John Vickers, Col. Chad Clark, Col. Adolph Kreger, Maj. Mark Jackson, Maj. Walter Dornan, Capt. Stephen Ingargiola, Capt. Michael Ingargiola, Capt. Adrian Chalona, Lt. Fauddy “Ray” Whitfield, Lt. Brent Bourgeois, Chief of Detectives Steve Lundon (retired), Maj. James Bartholomae (retired), Maj. Mark Poche (retired), Maj. Ronald Martin (retired), Maj. Robert McNab (retired), Capt. Richard Bersuder (retired), Capt. CJ Arcement (retired), Capt. Richard Jackson (retired), Lt. Raymond Theriot (retired), Lt. Jeff Lee (retired), Lt. Gerald “Glenn” Holland (retired), and Narcotics Agent Will Aldridge (retired).

Maj. Daniel Bostic, commander of the Special Investigations Division, is currently in Norfolk attending the FBI’s 288th Academy.

A 15-year veteran of the SBSO, Lt. Vargas has worked in various divisions throughout his law enforcement career, including Corrections as a deputy at the Parish Prison and the Field Operations Bureau Patrol Division, where he was promoted to sergeant in 2015, and lieutenant in 2018. He currently serves as a platoon commander for SBSO’s 3rd Platoon.

Lt. Vargas, a 2010 graduate of Peace Officers Standards and Training, or the P.O.S.T. police academy, is a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics or S.W.A.T. team and the Crisis Negotiators Team. He serves as an English/Spanish Translator and Interpreter, and was a Field Training Officer. He’s a certified Emergency Medical Technician and a 2012 recipient of the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard-Arabi LifeSaver Award.

The FBI Academy’s academic block of instruction is taught by University of Virginia instructors and FBI agents. During classroom instruction, Lt. Vargas said he was trained in critical incident leadership, crisis negotiations, officer wellness, vitality and resilience, essentials for law enforcement leaders and contemporary issues in law enforcement.

The physical aspect of the course includes weekly challenges that need to be met, and forums are held with fellow law enforcement officers who have participated in various national tragic events.

Lt. Vargas said the training he received has led to a greater sense of preparedness in his role as a patrol lieutenant and platoon commander.

“This experience has given me invaluable insight into contemporary law enforcement issues, as well as facilitating the sharing of knowledge and experience among other students,” he said. “The physical fitness training demanded discipline and focus, but also provided a foundation for me to have a healthier lifestyle and stronger mindset moving forward.”

The capstone of the fitness program is the “Yellow Brick Road,” a 6.1-mile obstacle
course and trail built by the Marines, Lt. Vargas said, in which graduates receive a coveted, commemorative yellow brick upon successful completion.

During the 10 weeks, Lt. Vargas also participated in several student-led activities for which he received additional commemorative bricks, including the “118 Runners Brick” after running 118 miles in remembrance of the 118 police officers who were killed in the line of duty during 2022; and a Jiu-jitsu brick for participation during Mixed Martial Arts or MMA training designed for police officers.

Lt. Vargas, SBSO’s only Spanish-speaking deputy, also was presented a certificate for participating in the International Partnership Program. Prior to starting the Academy, certain volunteers were selected to host an International student; Lt. Vargas’ assigned student was a Drug Enforcement Agent from Peru’s Drug-Trafficking Task Force.

“Without question, the highlight of the FBI National Academy is the ability to network with law enforcement leaders from around the world,” Lt. Vargas said. “It was a privilege to walk alongside so many great people.”