Assistant police chief taking part in FBI fellowship in Washington

Washington, D.C. — Penn State University Police Assistant Chief Tyrone Parham is in the middle of a prestigious six-month fellowship program with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington D.C.

The Police Executive Fellowship Program, which began in March, selects management-level law enforcement officials from all over the country to work at FBI headquarters. Parham was recommended for the program by University Police Chief Steve Shelow. Penn State President Graham Spanier, who chairs the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, had asked Shelow to nominate a University Police official to attend the program.

Parham brought with him his proficiency and knowledge of campus police and security. Also, as a part of the National Joint Terrorism Task Force, he has been able to discuss and learn about national security risks, both on campuses and around the country.

“It’s been interesting learning a whole new structure and business,” Parham said. “It’s been a great opportunity. I’ve been able to get FBI training without being an official FBI employee.”

Parham has been involved with a lot of training, including courses covering terrorism-related topics, national security and supervisor training. Parham said expanding his focus from small-town events to national events has been especially fascinating.

“I wasn’t really attuned to world events,” he said, “but here at the D.C. headquarters, they oversee and touch base with all the field offices across the country. I would normally hear about other campuses, but with terrorism, we look at things around the world.”

However, with security at college campuses such an important topic, Parham has been able to provide his own expertise to the program and learn from other campus police officers. In early June, he attended a “Response to Campus Crisis” conference in Gainesville, Fla.

“It helps to get together with officers from other campuses,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement, and it involves dealing with issues at campuses across the country.”

Parham will return to Penn State in October ready to share his fresh outlook on campus security and planning. He said he looks forward to bringing back his new perspective on terrorism prevention and an extended network of lifetime contacts from across the country — including members from the Department of State, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and more.

“I’ll be getting back with new eyes and ears,” he said. “I will be able to provide training opportunities and, depending on some classifications, I can bring back some materials from the program.”

A major topic during Parham's time with the program has been event planning. Because of the size of crowds attending Penn State football games, he can associate well and understand the importance of proper preparation for such occasions. However, he learned about planning for other very large fucntions, and also saw how officials plan for events particuarly focused on one person.

“Since I’ve been doing the program, the Pope has been here,” he said. “There’s obviously some concern about him being here, and just to be there for that is pretty eventful.”

Last Updated November 18, 2010