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SPD captain graduates from FBI National Academy

Jeff Maslan, right, receives his graduation certificate from FBI director Christopher Wray. (Screenshot via Will Latchford)

HOLLYWOOD — Another Seminole Police Department (SPD) executive has joined the list of graduates from the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Capt. Jeff Maslan, who joins three others with the distinction, graduated Dec. 16, 2020, after a 10-week intensive training. Other graduates are Public Safety Director Will Latchford, Chief of Police John Auer and Capt. Shawn Norton.

The National Academy is designed for law enforcement executives who already have significant experience in public safety, which makes it different from the FBI Academy that graduates new recruits into careers as FBI agents.

Those participating in the National Academy go through a demanding mix of academics and physical fitness challenges, as well as structured networking with other law enforcement professionals. Coursework includes intelligence theory, terrorism, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication and forensic science.

Graduates are expected to use and share what they’ve learned within their respective police departments and to more effectively interact with the communities they serve.

The physical fitness portion tests a student’s endurance and durability and includes completing the Marine Corps obstacle course known as the “Yellow Brick Road.” The course got its name after Marines placed yellow bricks at various spots to show runners where to go through a wooded trail.

“It was quite the experience; it was a fantastic experience,” Maslan said.

A typical class size includes about 260 students, but COVID-19 precautions reduced Maslan’s class to 130. Only 53,000
have graduated from the program since it was instituted in 1930.

“Jeff represented the Seminole Tribe in a truly professional way by his participation, knowledge and community policing problem-solving approach that he uses,” Auer said. “We are very proud of Jeff for his accomplishment, not only because it is a great honor, but because attending is taxing on his family and work life by living away from home for 10 weeks. He juggled his personal, work and Academy matters with distinction.”

Capt. Jeff Maslan (Courtesy photo)

Breaking barriers

Maslan said a big focus of the training was learning about leadership by empathy, emotional intelligence and community interaction – which he said took on new importance after protests against police brutality and racism that were sparked by the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

“Especially with what was going on throughout 2020 and 2021 with how the community feels toward police,” he said. “How do we counteract that? How do we break the barriers down and build on community relations?”

Maslan’s class was given a detailed history of the Emmett Till case and the Tulsa Race Massacre as part of the course in community relations. Till was a 14-year-old Black male who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store. The Tulsa Race Massacre took place in 1921, when mobs of white residents, some of whom had been deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked Black residents and destroyed homes and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“A number of students weren’t familiar with Emmett Till, and the Tulsa Massacre is a situation in history that apparently many in law enforcement are unaware of,” Maslan said. “You have to take these events into consideration as to why there are barriers.”

The group also spent a day in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian.

“I shared what I know about how Native Americans have been treated throughout history and that there are still some barriers there,” Maslan said. “We’ve been working on building our community relations with the Seminole Tribe and I was able to share what our relationship is – other law enforcement agencies that have a connection to a tribe may not be aware of the differences in culture.”

Maslan, 64, was born in Long Island, New York, and raised in Connecticut. He has been with SPD for 12 years and has been a captain for one year. Prior to working for the tribe, he retired from the Coral Springs Police Department as a captain after 30 years of service.

Maslan’s family is steeped in law enforcement and public safety careers. Two of his three sons are in law enforcement, his father was a fireman and his grandfather was a police officer. He also has two brothers who were state troopers and even has a sister-in-law, nephew and goddaughter who are in law enforcement.

“I’ve come back with stronger leadership skills, a better sense of empathy towards the community and my peers and those who work in public safety, and I also recognize there are some areas that maybe we still need to hone in on – and share our success stories with other agencies,” Maslan said.

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at