The surprising way the FBI fights terrorism in Tucson

Valerie Cavazos

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The surprising way the FBI fights terrorism in Tucson

CREATED May. 1, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They are known for being secretive. You might be standing next to an agent in the grocery line and never know it.

But now a big change here in Tucson. The FBI here is now training your neighbors to not only know more about crime fighting, but to know more about how to spot terrorists.

Famous world wide, but how much do we really know about them. Enter: FBI school for the average Joe -- right here in Arizona.

And the idea isn't just for a little good PR. It's also a chance to get more trained eyes on Tucson streets -- watching for signs of trouble.

High profile crime scenes...the attempted assassination of a congresswoman and the mysterious disappearance of a little girl from her bedroom.

"We want absolute transparency so that the community can appreciate the work of the FBI," said one FBI agent in Arizona.

Reporter Valerie Cavazos asked him, "Why do people need to know what you guys are doing?" His answer: "The FBI are servants of the public."

But getting the public to service the FBI? Those extra eyes and ears could stop a terrorist in his tracks.

Kerri White, an employee of the Diamondbacks, said, "I think it's important for someone like me, after I go through the academy, to you know where can I help."

Key players in the community are asked to come here -- A firefighter, who told KGUN9, "It's all about building relationships - positive relationships with our partners and they certainly are our partners."

Also an investigator for Southwest Gas and an employee with the Diamondbacks are among the students. They're all put through the paces -- invited to come to the FBI Citizens Academy because knowing more about crime and terrorism could make all the difference.

They learn about weapons criminals use in Tucson. And they learn how the FBI fights back -- in all conditions.

All information that could help stop an attack in Tucson. An attack on crucial systems -- electricity, water, transportation -- an attack on our neighbors and friends.

"They've tried to reinforce to us that the community is very important. They receive a lot of tips from the community. and they need to work with the community on a daily basis for what they do," said White.

And FBI agent said, "We want the public to understand what our mission is so that we can serve their needs and also assist us in what we need to achieve."

The FBI, known for secrecy -- famous for catching the big dogs. Now training new eyes to see the world the FBI way.

And and you can't just sign up for the FBI Citizens Academy. You have to be nominated by those who've already been through it, pass a background check, and be selected by the agent in charge.