By: Sarah Snyder
It's a peek behind the scenes at how one of our nation's most prestigious and powerful law enforcement agencies operates - and it found it's way right here to West Texas. NewsWest 9 was the only station at Friday's FBI training seminar in Midland. NewsWest 9 got a first hand look at the inner workings of the FBI and had a chance to step behind the curtain.
"You see in the movies or you see on TV and you get certain ideas about evidence response or a drug bust or something," George Koehl, who attended the training, said. "This gives you a better reality of what's going on. It's awesome. They're amazing."
Like George, many can only guess at what it's like being an FBI agent. But a training seminar aimed at de-bunking the myths is teaching West Texans a few valuable lessons.
"I think a lot of people don't know exactly the breadth of the authorities and the investigations we have to conduct," David Cuthbertson, Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso FBI, said. "When they get here it really surprises them everything an FBI agent has to do in a day."
On Friday participants worked in three different groups: They're learning how to use firearms in real life situations, they're learning about evidence recovery, but this might be the most popular part: they're actually getting their hands on the shotguns, handguns and the assault rifles.
"It's not as easy to hit the target as you think," Koehl said. "Your adrenaline is rushing, you're excited about it."
The FBI in Midland and El Paso work with everything from terrorism to white collar crime to drug and oil field theft - something attorney David Smith deals with on a daily basis.
"It raises the price of gas for everybody, so stopping the theft really helps our economy out here," Training Participant, David Smith, said.
The Midland FBI office covers 14 counties with around 10 agents and they say building a trust with people in West Texas is vital to protecting our community.
"For so long, the FBI has been thought of as this cloak and dagger organization and everything is top secret," Matt Espenshade with the FBI in Midland, said. "In reality, we're only as effective as we can be in the community when people know who we are, trust what we do, and can help us get our jobs done."
"I think we want them to take away an appreciation that the FBI, they're your neighbors, your sons and daughters, we go to church with you and we're out here really sacrificing to protect the American people," Cuthbertson said.