FBI BIRMINGHAM
CITIZENS ACADEMY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

 

Donate

National Website

Find us on Facebook

Find us on LinkedIn

 

President's Message

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • 28 Dec 2021 2:25 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Season Greetings FBICAAA members!

    With this being my first column as the new FBICAAA Board President, I thought I would take a moment to tell you a little about myself.

    I’ve worked in the field of education for 21 years and currently work for Shelby County Schools as Student Services Supervisor. I work with a wonderful team of professionals to help administrators in areas of discipline, attendance, school safety and any other areas where we can serve students and their families.

    On a more personal note, I live in Pelham with Buddy, my husband of 8 years, and our two dogs. My sweet mom also lives with us with her dog so we have a total of three fur babies under the roof. I am blessed to have two wonderful stepchildren, their spouses, and two beautiful granddaughters, all of whom I refer to as my own.

    I graduated from the Birmingham Class in 2016 and have been an active member in the association since. I’ve tried to take advantage of all the opportunities the FBICAAA has to offer outside of the class. From Range Day, to After Dark Events, a trip to FBI Headquarters in DC, and so much more, I have continued to learn more about the FBI and all they do to serve our great country. I hope that in 2022, we can all have more opportunities to partner with them and find ways to serve our communities in the wake of the pandemic.

    The FBICAAA Board will be meeting in January to plan out events for the upcoming year. Please make a resolution in 2022 to participate in as many events as you can. A reminder about paying the dues for 2022 will be coming out soon.

    I pray that all of you have a wonderful holiday season and get some much needed rest! I’m looking forward to seeing you all in 2022.

    Blessings,

    Jennifer


  • 01 Dec 2021 1:03 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    The end of the year approaches, and we are abuzz with activity – in just the last week, we had a fabulous members meeting in Huntsville and a board meeting from Birmingham; we've also been engaged in the nominating committee process, selecting nominees for next year's officers and board of directors, and to top it off there's been the inevitable sheaf of end-of-year reports and forms and such matters and things to deal with.

    And lest I forget to mention it up-top, we have our Annual Meeting coming up on Thursday, December 2, at the Golden Corral in Cullman. I sincerely hope that you'll be able to make the short trek to Cullman to join us. Finding the location (especially given the prevalence and ease of GPS) is simple: I-65 to exit 304, follow East on Cherokee, and just as Cherokee is about to intersect with US 31, there's the Golden Corral. We have a good program and an excellent speaker (Jacqueline Gray Miller), so come on out, please, We'd all love to see you, and you can help transact some important chapter business as we spend time together.

    And now to the other Big Deal. As I approach the end of the third year of my two-year term, this will be my final column as your President. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you – one of the great highlights of my adult life. I want to take a moment to thank all the board members and officers who have so generously given of their time and talents to serve the chapter. I want to offer my special thanks to the FBI personnel who have made the time and the task go so very easily – SAC Johnnie Sharp, Jr., SAC Roger Stanton, ASAC's Todd Bobe, Andy Loftin...and so many more. Special thanks go to COS/PAO Paul Daymond, without whom the job would be impossible.

    Over its history the Birmingham chapter of the FBI CAAA has been awarded time and time again as a chapter of Excellence, a Chapter of Distinction. What means much more to me is that in recent years we have been repeatedly awarded for our heart – we have had several of our members singled out for national recognition for their exceptional service to the community. In fact, the national organization created a new award – the Humanitarian Award – solely to recognize our chapter for its efforts to aid those in great need. So I'm proud of that, but also for our history of innovation. We were the impetus for the national CAAA to create a committee to work on human trafficking. And we – our chapter – initiated the efforts to provide relief and material aid for injured or slain law enforcement officers. And now that effort has gone national. We are hosting monthly “Link and Learn” programs on counter-terrorism. We started the “Coffee With and Agent” events that other chapters are beginning to hold. We were the first chapter to co-host Bomb-Making Awareness seminars...I could go on, but you get the idea. We get there first and we do it better. I am so proud to be a part of this chapter. I am so proud to be a partner with the FBI, helping to keep our people safe and informed. I am so proud of the people that I've been working with these several years, and all that we have accomplished together. And I am so, so proud to have held an office in this organization, and to have played some small part in all that we have done together.

    So as I take my leave, please indulge me – I want to thank you, dear reader, personally. It is because YOU have taken this organization seriously, because YOU have supported the chapter – with your dues, with your attention, with your time and talents over the years – that any of this has happened. It has been a difficult and trying past two years, but because you knew the task was important and that the work we do matters – because you have stayed with us, we are still standing. We are doing more and more each month, and hope we will be back to something close to “normal” again in the near future. Please come out. Please take part. Please continue to support our chapter and to support our board and our officers as we continue to strive toward greatness. We simply can't do it without you.

    Thank you again for your support. I wish you all the best.

    --- Paul H. Franklin, President FBI Birmingham CAAA


  • 03 Nov 2021 5:42 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings, all.

    Let me tell you about some good things that happened in October. The first is that I’m still exhilarated over the training session that our members conducted with the Department of Homeland Security, where we (a cadre of FBICAAA volunteers) did role-playing as a team of bad guys, conducting adverse surveillance while trying to elude security force trainees in anticipation the upcoming World Games. We spent a half-day at The Galleria in Hoover, casing the place, taking photos, and being sneaky and menacing while trying not to be caught as we gathered information about secured and unsecured entrances, CCTV locations, as we sized up where to place explosives or ram a vehicle into the mall, what the police and security presence at the mall was...It was absolutely fascinating – our team built a texting group with our coordinator, and we passed information back and forth among ourselves, and even did a “dead drop” of a package...all while trying not to be spotted by the security trainees. At the end of the exercise, we had the opportunity to do a “debrief” with the trainees and their instructors to go over methods and observations. It was time well-spent; I think all our FBICAAA role-players thoroughly enjoyed the day, and I hope the experience was useful for the trainees. I highlight this event because I was told that they plan to do at least two more of these training sessions between now and Summer of 2022, when the World Games come to town. We’ll be looking for more volunteers. Don’t miss out!

    The second is that we held another in our now recurring Members Meetings, this time in Birmingham at the Fish Market restaurant. Our speaker was Don Lupo, who presented us with a vast amount of information about the aforementioned World Games. If you were not aware, the World Games are likely to be the largest gathering of visitors ever to occur in North Alabama, and they will draw athletes, representatives, heads of state and other officials, and spectators from around the globe. The opportunity for the FBICAAA to play an important role is genuine, and I hope and trust that we will rise to the occasion and be a positive force in making the Games a huge success. But back to the meeting...Don did a fine presentation, the food was good, the company excellent, and chef George Sarris himself greeted us toward the end and distributed dessert – fresh baklava for each of us. A fine evening, enjoyed by all. Do plan to attend the next one, will you? We should be announcing a similar evening in Huntsville soon.

    Our nominating committee is working on a slate of proposed officers to 2022-23 and nominees for open board seats for the upcoming term. And note that you will have a voice in this process because the members elect the board. The nominees will be presented at our Annual Meeting, on December 2nd in Cullman (because it’s halfway between Birmingham and Huntsville). There’s more about this meeting to come soon in an official announcement, so watch for that.

    As we approach the end of the year and I look back on 2020 and 2021, the two things that amaze me most are that we’re still standing and that you’re still with us – you’ve stuck with us through the most difficult period this organization has ever endured. Your unwavering support of the FBI and your belief in the mission of the FBI CAAA is inspiring. I can’t thank you enough.

    --- Paul H. Franklin, President

    FBI Birmingham CAAA


  • 01 Oct 2021 1:21 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings once again.

    We have some activities and opportunities on the near horizon that I want to make you aware of. First and immediately upcoming is a request from Kirk Toth at the Department of Homeland Security. He has asked for our chapter's help in conducting training for security personnel for next summer's World Games, which will take place in Birmingham. He needs about 10 volunteers to do role-play on Thursday, October 7th– to pretend to be doing surveillance: photographing, filming, note-taking, and/or generally snooping about – at the Riverchase Galleria from 10 in the morning until about 3-3:30 in the afternoon. There are no great physical demands, no risks; and you will be told what to do and how to go about it. So...want to be a spy for a day? Write me and I'll give you full details: phfranklin36@gmail.com. Thanks!

    Another upcoming good thing: we'll have another general membership gathering at the Fish Market restaurant at the Med Center in Birmingham at 6:00 pm Thursday, October 21st. If you came to the last one, you'll remember these are very informal, order-off-the-menu-if-you-choose-to evenings. We plan to have a speaker, but these are fist and foremost opportunities to get together, network, and socialize. Please come. It's just no fun if you're not there. Bring your significant other, or even an insignificant other if you have one of those and want to. And Huntsville members – we 'll try and have a similar gathering there in November. Stay tuned.

    I had the occasion to conduct a workshop at our (very) recent National Leadership Conference, and by way of introducing myself to the assembled multitude, I mentioned that I was serving the third year of a two-year term as President of our chapter. What a ride it's been! On the one hand, it seems like it's been a long time, yet it also seems like just yesterday when we began this journey together. One thing for certain – it has not been a dull three years. We've done so much and accomplished so much as a group. There have been new faces, new initiatives, new partnerships...and Covid. So let's just say it has been...eventful. But now the end of my term approaches and we are beginning to focus on the coming year and the coming of new officers and board members, a new Memorandum of Agreement with the FBI's Birmingham Field Office, and it's new goals and objectives. We'll be convening a nominating committee forthwith, and we'll negotiate an MOA with the FBI, too. All will be revealed at our Annual Meeting, which we expect will take place in early December. You'll get a notice about that as soon as the particulars are finalized.

    One more thing. We lost a giant this past month. Dr. Joe Popinski -- a long-time member, a multiple-term board member, a member of the National board of directors, long a trusted advisor and confidante to all our board members and officers, a thoughtful and reflective gentleman who was always on the right side of every discussion, one who never said; “no” when asked to assist in any project or to undertake any task...all this and so much more – Dr. Joe passed away in September from the effects of Covid-19. His loss is incalculable. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Mrs. Popinski. Dr. Joe meant so much – did so much – for so many. All who knew Dr. Joe will miss him terribly. May we all try to live up to the example he set.

    Please be well and take care.

    Paul H. Franklin, President

    FBI Birmingham CAAA

     


  • 31 Aug 2021 7:02 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Twenty years.

    That’s how long it’s been. Twenty years ago this month, America endured the devastating, heart-wrenching 9/11 terrorist attacks. Twenty years. Three thousand deaths, the skyline of our nation’s largest city and commercial hub changed forever...Twenty years. This is a sad, sad anniversary, one that demands solemn remembrance and reflection.

    9/11 changed everything. It certainly changed American society in ways big and small. A trip to the airport or a visit to any government office or installation should serve as proof of that statement. We are much more cognizant of the potential dangers that exist in our quotidian routines. We are changed, and we’ll most likely never be the same again.

    The attacks that day changed the FBI, as well. The Bureau was tasked with taking on broad anti-terrorism and national security duties, and it has performed them commendably for a generation now, keeping our nation and its citizens safe and secure. And this, I suppose is where I can tie this back to what I am doing here today, writing this column.

    I really thought about this month’s column simply being left as an empty white page with nothing but “9/11 -- 20th Anniversary” in the center, but in the end I decided I did want to relate his back to you. To us.

    As I’ve said, the FBI CAAA exists to support the mission of the FBI. We are eyes and ears in the community for the FBI. We are ambassadors to the broader public for the FBI. We provide support to the Bureau whenever and wherever we can. We act as force magnifiers for our nation’s premier anti-terrorism and national security agency.

    So when we support and co-host the monthly counterintelligence briefings, when we support and co-host the Explosive Precursor workshops...when we support agents in performing their jobs in any way, we are contributing to keeping our nation safe. The FBI is charged with keeping America safe and secure – protecting you, me, our

    families and friends safe from hard; neutralizing threats against us and our way of life, and as we support the FBI, as we work with the agents, we contribute to that effort, too.

    So as we approach this somber anniversary, please take a moment to reflect. And take a moment to appreciate those who have dedicated themselves to keeping us safe. And give yourself a pat on the back for all you do to help others and our society.

    So be safe. Be good to yourself and others. Be of service. And be well.

    Best wishes,

    Paul H. Franklin, President

    FBI Birmingham CAAA


  • 02 Aug 2021 6:34 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings again, and welcome to August.

    First, thanks to all who came out to the first of our (rejuvenated) Members Meetings. We enjoyed an entertaining and well-attended evening at the Fish Market restaurant in downtown Birmingham, where we enjoyed fresh seafood and afterward had a lively and informative presentation by Carolyn Potter and Holly Bunn from The Wellhouse. I cannot express how good it was to gather as a group again – in person – and just share space and enjoy one another’s company. I am certain that all who attended would score this as a success; and we are already planning for the next such event, which we’re expecting to host in Huntsville in the next few weeks. Look for details as soon as all are locked in.

    One of the things that emerged for having an energized group and representatives from one of our long-standing service projects, is that opportunities – fresh ideas – arise. And it occurred to us that although we have worked with The Wellhouse to combat human trafficking for some years, the vast majority of our membership knows little about the facility itself. So we are discussing having a tour of The Wellhouse’s campus for our members in the near future. We’ll see the entire operation, including their newest buildings, which include housing for the very youngest HT survivors, a chapel, and their transitional living facility, where residents phase back to independent living and working in the community. We’ll try to make a good half-day of the visit by including a group meal or other such activity. So stay tuned as we work on arrangements.

    And have I mentioned our monthly Counterintelligence Briefings? They are held the 3rd Thursday of each month, from 11-12 noon, and they are incredibly well-done -- packed with timely and useful information. You should be getting the invitations; please join us. Otherwise, we expect an opportunity to assist explosives expert John Bates at a workshop in the Quad Cities in September, we will be ushering in a new CA class in Birmingham that same month, and our National Leadership Conference will convene in Las Vegas that same month. Busy times ahead!

    Let me take just a moment here. As I mention our national organization and our annual conference, let me note that NO chapter is better represented at the highest levels of the FBI CAAA. Two of our members – Dr. Joe Popinski and Andrew Smith, who serves as Treasurer, sit on the national board. Dr. Joe runs “front of house” for the conference, handling AV and tech matters for the entire proceeding. Don Lupo has been the strong force behind our crisis response team, both locally and nationally. And this year, I’ve been invited to present a workshop on “How to President” at the conference. Our fingerprints are all over this thing. It is a source of pride that the Birmingham-Huntsville chapter is looked upon as the Gold Standard among FBICAAA chapters – the standard for innovation and involvement, and we hope that never changes. Okay, that’s plenty from me for now. I hope to see you soon, perhaps at our next Members Meeting. Until then, please stay safe.

    Best wishes,

    Paul H. Franklin

    President FBI Birmingham CAAA


  • 01 Jul 2021 8:18 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings.

    I had a bit of a mind-snapper yesterday. I logged on to our monthly Regional Leadership call, as hosted by our FBI National CAAA organization, and honestly, I just expected to spend a quiet hour listening to faraway people talk on faraway topics. Not so. Our Regional rep introduced Alicia Wadas, our national organization’s president, who greeted the dozens of attendees and immediately said; “Today I’m putting the spotlight on the Birmingham chapter.”

    She specifically cited the recent training session on explosive precursors that SA John Bates conducted in Huntsville in May (wherein he trained industry and retail types on recognizing efforts to secure potentially explosive or incendiary materials), and then she told the attendees about our newly-launched monthly Counterintelligence briefings (important news and updates to defense contractors and researchers concerning spying and hacking efforts) – both of which we are proudly co-sponsoring and on which we work alongside our FBI partners. She noted that no other chapter in the nation has ever attempted even one such project, and here we are, launching two major such initiatives in partnership with our FBI Field Office in the space of a month. She held us up as an example of innovation and dedication to our mission.

    Pretty much made my day.

    Seriously, this indicates the respect and esteem in which we are held nationally – we are the chapter that TRIES stuff – we take on projects and we get things done. We always have and I hope we always will. When it came my turn to talk, I attributed it to two factors: our willingness to partner with the FBI and others to achieve progress and perform service to the community, and equally importantly, an unparalleled level of communication and cooperation with our Field Office. We are truly blessed in these regards.

    Okay, back to the fun stuff: we’re back to having in-person board meetings as of June. And we are launching in-person members meetings in July. We will have our first gathering in a private dining area at the Fish Market in Birmingham on Thursday evening, July 22nd. You’ll hear much more about that shortly. We’ll follow that up with a similar event in Huntsville. We’re working on the details now. And look for a few other public events this summer, too – like a tournament at Top Golf in August to benefit human trafficking survivors at The Wellhouse. Please come out and support these events when you get the official notice. We have missed seeing one another terribly this past year, and we are eager to get back together and put things right!

    I truly hope to see you in the very near future at one of our upcoming events. Please stay tuned for further details.

    Best wishes,

    Paul H. Franklin

    President FBI Birmingham CAAA


  • 01 Jun 2021 12:43 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings, all.

    As much as I’ve tried to resist, and despite that it makes my wife groan to hear me do it, I’m going to do it – I’m going to quote Monty Python when John Cleese said; “And now for something completely different.” What’s different is that, upon advice of science and public health experts, we’re (finally) opening things up again. So expect more and more of our activities to take place in public once again. And may I add a hearty and heartfelt “Hoo-rah!” to that.

    One thing we’ve learned over this last 14 months or so is that there’s a lot of positives to Zoom and other such virtual resources. So we’ll be maintaining a Zoom or Zoom-like component to almost everything we do for the foreseeable future. It simply makes sense when our membership is clustered around two population centers 100 miles apart. And it’s a boon to those who are out of town or otherwise unable to attend a given event in person. So that. But please know that we’re in the process of finalizing in-person members meetings on an alternating basis between the two cities to start ASAP.

    A couple of other items of note: we’ve picked up two outstanding new projects: We co-sponsored (with Infragard) FBI explosives expert John Bates’ day-long training session on explosive and incendiary devices in Huntsville at the FBI/HPD firing range on May 12th, and we expect and intend to sponsor additional training sessions at other locations in N AL in the coming months. And our board has adopted another new program, whereby we will sponsor monthly counterintelligence briefings for defense contractors and scientific and medical researchers. Our chapter will handle registration and conduct surveys for each session. As a special favor, our members will be invited to attend these (virtual) sessions. The first of these counterintel briefings will take place in late June, and you will receive an invitation to register and join.

    A brief explanation of why these two new projects are significant: we are the first and only chapter in the nation to undertake projects of this sort. We are honored to be asked and honored by the trust shown in our members by the FBI. And we want you all to benefit from our partnership with the Bureau. So please, when you see the invitation to participate by attending or volunteering to serve as we work these events, please do come aboard. You’ll always be welcome and appreciated.

    As we transition to “normal” activities, expect to hear from us about upcoming members meetings, a fall CA class in Birmingham, the annual Civil Rights and the Law conference, some pure-fun social outings, and more. I do so look forward to seeing you in person soon. Until then,

    Be well,

    Paul H. Franklin, President

    FBI Birmingham CAAA


  • 02 May 2021 7:42 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings once again.

    It seems that after months and months…and months of writing variations on the same theme (in the interest of public health and safety we are not doing any public events, but we are hoping for a change in the not-too-distant future…), it appears that we can now see a time when that policy will change.

    The SAC has authorized a fall Citizens Academy class in Birmingham – the first in eighteen months! – and our board of directors has determined that we will began to hold in-person gatherings beginning this summer, and that we will plan for a fall chapter “retreat” at a nearby destination to allow us to, shall we say, reconnect with one another and begin anew. We’re thinking about a summer event centering around the FBI installation at Redstone Arsenal, and we hope to do home-and-home baseball games with the Trash Pandas and the Barons, as well. Bear in mind that all these events are contingent on the public health situation at the time, but at this point the trend line looks encouraging enough to allow us to be hopeful and to make plans.

    The first thing we expect to offer is a late July members meeting – an FBI After Dark event – to be held in a private dining section of a Birmingham restaurant. We intend to follow that with a similar event in Huntsville soon after that, then make those members meetings regularly-occurring events.

    Meanwhile, there should be a notice forthcoming any day now about a virtual members meeting, where we will host our “other” ASAC, Andy Loftin. Look for details about this Zoom meeting in the next several days; we do hope you will join us to see and hear all he has to say.

    We had a good and productive face-to-face meeting with The Wellhouse, and we hope that we’ll be able to work very actively with them on Human Trafficking matters in the months to come. And I’m personally excited that we are about to embark on our first cooperative venture with our FO’s explosives expert, John Bates, as he conducts outreach and educational events to raise awareness about explosive and incendiary materials and efforts to secure them by potentially bad actors. We’ll be co-sponsoring a workshop in Huntsville on May 12th, and we hope that there will be many more to follow.

    Let me sum it up by saying thanks for staying with us during this most unusual period. We’re going to make every effort to repay your faith and trust in this organization, and we look forward to seeing you very soon.

    --- Paul H. Franklin, President FBI Birmingham CAAA


  • 01 Apr 2021 8:07 AM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Hello again, and welcome to Spring 2021.

    It appears that we are on the cusp of being able to hold public events and to invite you to in-person members gatherings once again. Not today or tomorrow, but in the near future. And that is rather exciting news after what we’ve been through. I’ve recently been informed that SAC Johnnie Sharp, Jr., has tentatively approved a Fall 2021 Citizens Academy class in Birmingham – our first CA class since 2019. And we’ve begun discussing doing FBICAAA nights for Barons and Trash Pandas games this summer. And perhaps a summer event involving a tour of the new FBI facilities at Redstone Arsenal and briefings on the projects and progress there? And maybe a “range day”-type experience or two? Could be…we’ve got a lot of ground to make up. But so much of this remains tentative, awaiting the word that we can safely resume some public activities. In the meantime, you’ll find news in this issue about our upcoming April members meeting, which will be held via Zoom. I do hope you’ll make plans to attend.

    What have we been up to lately? Well, we’ve assisted in tornado relief, brought in the “Soup Ladies” from Seattle to cook for first responders in the storms’ aftermath, we’ve assisted collection of needed items for tornado victims, and we made a very generous contribution to the Miami Chapter as they assisted the families and Field Office co-workers of the FBI agents who recently lost their lives in the line of duty. We are in the process of setting up meetings with The Wellhouse to assist with their clients – human trafficking survivors. And we’re trying to gear up our Bomb-Making Awareness project and arrange for new training sessions. And there are several other items that are beginning to crop up on the horizon – think of these as the green shoots of new life and growth for our chapter.

    And listen – speaking of life and growth, I’ve been meaning to put this in a column for a while now, and I don’t want to let this opportunity pass me by again: What I want to say is this: Thanks. Thank you so much. Thank you for the faith you’ve shown to stay with us through this awful period when we’ve been so constrained. Thank you for keeping your membership current. Your dues allow us to contribute to assist the families of slain officers, to contribute to cover the Soup Ladies’ lodging expenses while they were with us, providing hot meals for first responders. But those are just a couple of examples. It’s everything we do. Everything we do is because you care about the mission of the FBICAAA, and what we do together means enough to you that you are willing to pay your dues each year to keep your membership current and keep us afloat. So thanks. And I really, really look forward to being able to thank you for your support in person as soon as we are able to schedule some “live” events. And for those of you who have not yet renewed your membership for the current year, please consider doing so. It would mean so much to us to have you back with us as a member in good standing.

    Stay well and stay strong,

    --- Paul H. Franklin, President

         FBI Birmingham CAAA


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

            The FBI Birmingham Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBIBCAAA) is a nonprofit organization separate and apart from the FBI.


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software