Chester Township’s Police Captain made history as the first Delaware County female officer to graduate from the rigorous National FBI Academy.
Captain Laura Dixon Hartshorn completed the 10-week program on June 7, and was honored Wednesday at a meeting with the Delaware County Council.
Hartshorn adds this accomplishment to her impressive career in law enforcement that spans over two decades. After starting as a patrol officer in 1996, she was promoted to Corporal before receiving her current position as Captain of Police in January, 2014.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
"Delaware County is extremely fortunate to have an exceptional law enforcement community whose members give consistently of their time, talent and resources to ensure the safety of our families, homes, businesses and communities," said Councilman Dave White. "Today we would like to recognize Captain Laura Dixon Hartshorn for her 21 years of dedicated service as a police officer and for blazing the trail for women in law enforcement."
Based in Quantico, Virginia, the FBI National Academy is a selective program that trains the top leaders in law enforcement across the country. Officers take classes varying from forensic science to courses on law. However, the intensity of the Academy comes from the physical tests.
In order to graduate, officers are required to complete the "Yellow Brick Road" obstacle course built by U.S. Marines. The 6-mile event requires participants to climb walls, run through water, crawl under barbed wire, and maneuver across a cargo net.
The name of the course comes from the yellow bricks placed along the trail to provide checkpoints for the officers.
Captain Hartshorn was among the 228 graduates of the 2017 class that featured men and women from 47 states and 24 countries.
Less than one percent of police officers are selected for the National FBI Academy, and less than 10% of those chosen are females.
District Attorney Jack Whelan attended the Aug. 2 ceremony to commend and recognize Hartshorn as a member of his Anti-Violence Task Force.
"We are extremely proud of Captain Hartshorn who has been a partner with our office on many initiatives," Whelan said. "With her assistance, and assistance from our partners in law enforcement, we are aggressively targeting those who illegally sell and transfer guns, known as straw purchases, who face a minimum of 5 years in prison."