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APD takes major step in reform process with two new leaders at Police Academy

The Albuquerque Police Department today announced the hiring of two key leaders to run APD’s Police Academy.

Aug. 2, 2021

APD is taking a major step forward in the reform process by addressing past concerns about its training academy. A national search was conducted for both an Academy Commander with extensive experience and for a separate expert who could solely focus on the Academy’s curriculum.

Renae McDermott will be the new Commander overseeing the Police Academy. McDermott has more than 30 years of experience in federal law enforcement. She has held roles as a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI, was a Unit Chief, Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI and in her most recent position, she was the Assistant Director of the Training Division at Quantico.

Jessica Hejny Ph.D., has been brought on as the department’s first Curriculum Development Manager. Dr. Hejny, who has experience developing courses and curriculum, will be managing the design, validation, evaluation and implementation of the APD Academy’s training curriculum. She will be responsible for ensuring a smooth transition from the final material design, to implementing the program. Additionally, Dr. Hejny will conduct sessions with Academy instructors to ensure they fully understand the material and that it’s being presented accurately.

“We have made a significant stride in the reform process by hiring two women who have extensive experience and the knowledge needed to move the Academy in the right direction,” said Superintendent of Police Reform Sylvester Stanley. “From past experiences, it was important we brought individuals to the department who had an outside perspective, we also learned that we needed to hire someone who could solely focus on developing the Academy’s curriculum which is why we developed the Curriculum Development Manager role. I was brought on through an innovative effort to focus on reform, discipline, and training and there has now been a complete overhaul of leadership at the Police Academy and the resources have been allocated to the appropriate areas, insuring our curriculum and training are in line with our continued reform efforts.”

Dr. Jessica Hejny started with APD on May 22, and Renae McDermott’s first day is August 2nd.  

Renae McDermott Bio

Renae McDermott began her 31-year career working as an FBI Police Officer in Washington, D.C. from 1989-1991. She went on to be a Physical Science Technician at the FBI Lab in Quantico, then took on the role of Supervisory Special Agent in the Counterterrorism Division, Iraq Unit from 2004-2007.

McDermott later became the Supervisory Special Agent at the Dallas Field Office from 2007-2009 and then from 2009-2013, she was the Unit Chief for the Human Resources Division of the FBI in Washington, D.C.

After four years, she moved to the Albuquerque Field Office as the Assistant Special Agent from 2013-2015 before becoming the Special Agent in Charge at the Knoxville Field Office.

Most recently, starting in 2019, McDermott became the Assistant Director of the Training Division at Quantico, appointed by the Director of the FBI. In this role, she provided leadership and oversight of all FBI Academy operations. Through the pandemic, she was able to hire and train 1,000 new special agents, intelligence analysts, and professional staff.

Dr. Jessica Hejny Bio

Dr. Jessica Hejny received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Oregon. Prior to that, she received a M.S. in Political Science from the University of Oregon, a M.A. in International Affairs from American University, and a B.A. in Politics from New York University.

For the last seven years, Dr. Hejny has worked as a professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, Amherst College, Goucher College, and Lafayette College. Most recently, at Middle Tennessee State University, she directed the Public Policy and Management Program and led the Political Science Department’s assessment reform process.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Hejny conducts research on environmental policy and political parties. Her scholarship has been published inAdministrative Theory & Praxis, the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, and two edited volumes.

In her free time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, climbing, and eating New Mexican food.