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President's Message

  • 30 Apr 2022 6:58 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings Alumni!

    I am excited to announce there will be a new group of FBICA participants graduating from the Huntsville class on May 17th! We are looking forward to having members of this class join the FBICAAA. We have been fortunate to have a board member attend almost every class in Huntsville and it has been a pleasure to see the energy of the group. I know these graduates will bring a lot of energy to our chapter!

    The World Games are quickly approaching and we still need volunteers for the May 12th and June 9th surveillance training classes. If you are able to participate, please e-mail me at president@fbicaaa-bham.org. You won’t regret it!

    Our organization relies on volunteers to stay in compliance with our National Chapter and Bylaws. Our board members contribute their time to meet monthly to help plan events and review important issues to ensure our chapter is a Chapter of Excellence. Currently we are looking for an active alumni to help manage our membership database. This is a very important role for our chapter and we need someone who can commit to the task. Please contact me if this is something you would be willing to do or if you would like more information.

    We hope to firm up some membership meeting dates for you soon. Stay tuned!

    Thank you all for your continued dedication to our chapter!


    FBICAAA President, Birmingham

  • 30 Mar 2022 7:05 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

    Greetings All!

    Are you interested in getting more involved in the FBICAAA? Are you computer savvy? Our chapter is in DIRE need of a Membership Chair to help keep our membership database up to date. If you would be interested in serving our chapter in this role, please e-mail me at President@fbicaaa-bham.org.

    It is an exciting time for our Chapter as we have a new FBI Citizens Academy Class taking place in Huntsville. This is the first class the FBI has been able to host in Huntsville in two years! Many of our board members were able to attend the first class and greet the attendees. It is our hope they will want to continue on as active alumni upon graduation.  We also held our March Board meeting the night of the first class and we are firming up some great activities for the rest of the year! We would like to give a special shout out to alumni member, Bill Honea, for providing dinner for the opening night of the Spring FBICA class. Thank you, Bill!

    With the World Games coming up soon, we have been asked for help in offering actors to assist in the Surveillance Detection Course. We need 8-10 volunteers on May 12 and June 9 to help with this training. Volunteers will need to report to the Riverchase Galleria from 9-3 on these dates. Your mission will be to gather as much surveillance in the mall throughout the day without getting caught. Several members helped with the last training and it was a BLAST!!! You can even bring props to change your appearance. PYou will not only have fun, but you will be helping agents train to be able to identify potential threats.  If you are able to volunteer for either or both of these days, please let me know.

    Our chapter was able to serve the FBI in providing lunch recently to the NIEF (National Improvised Explosives Fundamentals) class attended by state and local bomb technicians. When it comes to these training sessions we are happy to help any way we can. A special thanks to FBICA Treasurer, Lisa Cooper for representing our chapter and making sure lunch went smoothly.

    If you have not yet had the opportunity to tune in for one of the Link and Learns you are missing out. March’s topic was Made in Bejing: The plan for Global Market Domination. The programs are free and open to the private sector partners across North Alabama. Be looking out for information on the next event!

    I hope you are all happy and healthy and I hope to see many of you soon!


    Jennifer Cofer

    FBICAAA President, Birmingham

  • 27 Feb 2022 7:43 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)


    I hope this newsletter finds everyone healthy and happy!

    February has been a fun month for many of our alumni. On February 1st, several alumni members helped FBI Birmingham and a National Guard WMD (weapons of mass destruction) Civil Support Team in training in preparation for the upcoming World Games. In this exercise, members went between Legion Field and Headquarters playing victims, witnesses and interviewees . It was a lot of fun and we appreciated the opportunity to assist in this exercise. We plan to have other opportunities to assist in training as the World Games approach.

    Also in February, we held an in person members meeting at the Fish Market in Birmingham with special guest, Patrick Davis, Special Agent in Charge USSS Birmingham. SAC Johnny Sharp was also in attendance and expressed, again, his commitment and appreciation to our organization. Agent Davis shared with the group the extent of planning that is going into security during the World Games. It was fascinating to hear about the magnitude of security that will need to be in place for this event. It was a great presentation and felt good to be face to face with alumni and friends again.

    FBICAAA, Huntsville InfraGard Members Alliance and the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency hosted another Link and Learn. Supervisory Special Agent Nicolas Forst, a profiler with Behavioral Analysis Unit-2 presented: An Overview of the FBIs Behavioral Analysis Unit. We had close to 50 in attendance for the virtual presentation. Stay Tuned for March’s topic.

    If you are receiving this newsletter and you have not yet paid your dues for 2022, please do so today! We have a lot of great things coming this year, including alumni gatherings, opportunities to assist in preparing for the World Games, Range Day, Link and Learns and more. Renew TODAY!

    Thank you,


  • 26 Jan 2022 6:55 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)


    I hope that 2022 has found each of you healthy so far.

    I’m excited to report that the FBICAAA Board held its annual Strategic Planning meeting in January.  We welcomed our new board members and reviewed our plans to have more events in 2022, whether in person or virtual. I  know we are all ready to get back to some semblance of normal. It was great to sit around, even virtually, and talk about the plans for our chapter going forward. The energy of our board is contagious! We are ready to take on the year and do great things!

    If you have not yet paid your membership dues for this year, I ask that you please renew TODAY! You can find the link to renew on our website. A link is also provided in this newsletter. Once you are activated as an active member you will have access to participate in our members only events. We plan to host our first membership meeting February 15 at the Fish Market Restaurant in Birmingham. Not only can you participate in these events, your dues help us support many of our chapter commitments such as supporting our efforts supporting the Wellhouse, natural disaster community relief, fallen officer response, and much more. With more active members we can do more for our communities!

    It is our intention to increase our member engagement this year in Birmingham and in Huntsville. The board is actively planning a members only event in February for Birmingham and an event in Huntsville in April. We hope to be able to alternate events every month and also meet in the middle a couple of times a year. This spring the FBI will welcome a new Citizen’s Academy cohort in Huntsville and we look forward to supporting them through their 9 weeks and having them become a part of our organization upon graduation.

    As this pandemic seems to mutate and change with the wind, so we venture into 2022 trying to navigate it’s path while continuing to serve our communities in partnership with our FBI Field Office. We are so fortunate to have the support of SAC Johnny Sharp and COS Paul Daymond. They never hesitate to support our chapter and our efforts. Thank you!

    I would like to thank each of you reading this newsletter for your continued engagement in our chapter.

    Stay well,


  • 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.



  • 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

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

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