Imagine walking down the main street of a small town and being bowled over by a robber fleeing after holding up the bank. Down at the motel armed law enforcement officers are negotiating with a terrorist, and evidence is being collected from a crime scene across the street. The place? Hogan’s Alley. It’s the most crime-ridden town in the USA and also has the highest arrest rate. The town is not on any official map, but people visit it most days and even volunteer to go there.
Where is it and what’s so special about it?
Hogan’s Alley is the mock town used to train FBI agents, military, and law enforcement personnel, and it sits in 10 acres of land at the FBI Academy at Quantico. The volunteers who go there? They’re actors who play the parts of citizens and criminals in the town.
Hogan’s Alley opened in 1987 and has just turned 30 years old. The name came from a cartoon strip; Hogan’s Alley being a rough neighbourhood in the cartoon. The town is made up of real buildings, which are also used as classrooms and offices. It has a post office, bank, drugstore, motel, laundromat, barber shop, homes, a restaurant, a theatre, and more.
In Hogan’s Alley, agents and law enforcement personnel are taught how to investigate crimes, deal with terrorist threats, use tactical techniques, make arrests, conduct searches, process evidence, and get into simulated gun fights. The aim is to put them into stressful and realistic scenarios to prepare them for what they might face during their careers. Hogan’s Alley also opens up to high school students during holidays for camps, allowing them to learn about different aspects of criminal investigation.
So each week the bank is robbed, drug dealers are arrested, and terrorists hide around corners, waiting to strike as agents are put through their paces.
I don’t know about you, but I’d put my hand up to go there!
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