Washougal police captain graduates from FBI academy

Zane Freschette was one of 197 law enforcement officers in training academy’s 289th class

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Washougal Police Department Captain Zane Freschette graduated from the 289th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy in Quantico, Va, March 15, 2024. (Contributed photo courtesy city of Washougal)

Washougal Police Department (WPD) Captain Zane Freschette graduated from the 289th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy, a 10-week program of advanced communication, leadership and fitness training, March 15.

One-hundred and ninety-seven law enforcement officers from around the world participated in the session, held in Quantico, Virginia, and taught by FBI instructors, special agents and other FBI staff members.

“It’s considered by many to be the pinnacle of training in law enforcement,” Freschette said. “I can confidently say it was the best law enforcement training I’ve ever been a part of.”

About 55,000 officers have completed the FBI National Academy since it began in 1935, according to a news release issued by the city of Washougal.

“Nationally, fewer than 1 percent of officers have the opportunity to attend the program,” the news release states. “Participants must have proven records as professionals within their agencies to attend. On average, the participating officers have 21 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions.”

Freschette was selected for the program by the FBI office in Seattle earlier this year.

“The office gets a certain number of entrants that they get to pick for each session. For my session, there were four of us from Washington state. I was the only one from this area,” he said. “I felt very lucky, coming from a relatively smaller agency, to get the opportunity to go to the FBI National Academy. It’s one of those opportunities that not everybody, obviously, gets a chance to take, so when you’re offered the opportunity, you don’t say ‘No.’”

Freschette enrolled in six courses — Critical Incident Leadership Decision-Making; Wellness and Fitness in Law Enforcement; Wellness, Vitality and Resilience in Law Enforcement; Contemporary Issues in Police and Media Relations; Essentials for Law Enforcement Leadership; and Forensic Science for Police Administrators and Managers.

“It was a pretty well-rounded program,” he said. “I had the opportunity to learn a lot of different things. A huge portion of it was just problem-solving. We would talk about an issue, or we would get into scenarios, and we would all work together to problem-solve. I got to see so many different perspectives from different parts of the country and different parts of the world, and how different people handle things. I saw that we’re really all dealing with the same problems, with maybe a little different perspective.”

Freschette is the first officer in WPD history to complete the program, according to a news release.

“His successful completion of this rigorous program underscores his determination to enhance his skills and knowledge for the betterment of Washougal Police Department and the safety of those we serve,” said Washougal Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn. “We congratulate Captain Freschette on this significant milestone and look forward to the invaluable contributions he will continue to make to our force and the community at large.”

Freschette began his career in Washougal as an officer in 2005. He has since served as a detective, patrol sergeant, administrative sergeant and captain.

“I always want to find opportunities to help me be better at my job and serve our department and our community better,” he said. “It was an incredible sacrifice for our department to be able to send me away for 10 weeks, but what I bring back hopefully is able to more than offset that. Gaining more skills and opportunities to look at things through a different perspective, and seeing how folks in my role that work for other agencies are handling similar problems, and developing that network, it’s all only good. It’ll be good for me, it’ll be good for our department. It’ll be good for the opportunities and the resources I have to help serve the citizens of Washougal.”