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New Troutdale 'chief' finishes training at prestigious FBI academy in Virginia

Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Capt.Travis Gullberg climbed over walls, ran through creeks, scaled rock faces with ropes and crawled under barbed wire in muddy water as part of a 6.5-mile Marine-style obstacle course.

Gullberg has a painted yellow brick resting on the windowsill of his Troutdale office, serving as a reminder of his successful completion of the Yellow Brick Road challenge at the culmination the 10-week FBI National Academy on the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va. The 49-year-old captain attended the FBI training because he was seeking a way to enhance his career.PMG PHOTO: MATT DEBOW  - Multomah Couty Sheriffs Office Capt. Travis Gullberg displays achievement bricks on his windowsill in his Troutdale office.

"It's a prestigious opportunity that a lot of law enforcement people hope to do, but very few get to," Gullberg said. "It probably works out to be less than 1 percent of law enforcement professionals nationwide who get to go to the academy. It's an opportunity I wanted to seek out for developing further as a leader and as an executive in law enforcement."

The selective FBI training academy is offered four times a year to law enforcement managers as a way to network, improve physical fitness and attend continuing criminal justice education courses. COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Travis Gullberg

The Yellow Brick Road challenge earned its moniker after Marine troops placed yellow bricks throughout the course to guide runners through the hilly and wooded trail, according to the FBI's website. The grueling course was established in 1981 and the FBI started handing out the bricks as mementos in 1988.

In addition to the yellow keepsakes, the FBI academy also awards bricks to participants for completing other physical fitness challenges. Gullberg took home a couple more tokens for his accomplishments in swimming and rowing.

Although the law enforcement managers may take the most pride from earning the souvenirs, attendees spend most of their time in class. COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Capt. Travis Gullberg earned a yellow brick for completing the FBIs Yellow Brick Road obstacle course during an FBI training academy.

Gullberg's courses included advanced psychology of communications; advanced spirituality and wellness; managing the law enforcement image; fitness for law enforcement and contemporary issues in law enforcement.

Gullberg took the lessons from his spirituality and wellness course to heart.

"What I got most out of this academy — besides leadership development — was the importance of physical fitness and staying healthy," Gullberg said. "I got exposed to a lot of ideas and new concepts about how to stay well. Not just physically fit, but well mentally."

A few ways to improve overall wellness include practicing meditation and yoga. Law enforcement officers who meditate before and after shifts to prepare and unwind are more productive while on patrol.

Before entering the FBI's academy, Gullberg knew he would do well academically, but was a bit more hesitant with the fitness piece.

"Where I have struggled for the last few years — and I think a lot of people do especially in the law enforcement profession — is with my own physical fitness," Gullberg said. "Frankly speaking, I was overweight probably by at least 40 or 50 pounds."

One academy entrance exam requires candidates to run a mile in less than 10 minutes. When Gullberg got his initial acceptance, he couldn't pass that test.

He had to train and shed a few pounds before he could run a mile in the required time.

But after hitting that initial goal, he continued improving and achieved personal bests at the academy: He ran a mile in approximately seven minutes and completed a 5-kilometer run in approximately 25 minutes. COURTESY PHOTO: FBI - Capt. Travis Gullberg runs during an FBI training academy in Quantico, Va. Before the attending the academy, he couldnt run a mile in less the 10 minutes. During the training course he set a record running a mile in approximately 7 minutes.

Troutdale's next top cop

Following the FBI training course, Gullberg headed back to Oregon and at the start of February, began serving as Troutdale's acting chief of police.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with the citizens of Troutdale along with the City Council and the mayor to address Troutdale's specific needs," he said. "I always want to remain responsive to their needs. So I have set a goal for myself to be available, to be involved and to be committed. I believe the most important thing (for MCSO) is we earn the public's trust. We need to incorporate that into everything we do."COURTESY PHOTO: FBI - In addition to earning a yellow brick for completing the Yellow Brick challenge, Travis Gullberg went home with a another brick memento for completing a swimming challenge at the FBI National Training academy.

Troutdale no longer has its own police department because the county sheriff's office absorbed Troutdale's police department in 2015. As part of Troutdale's contract with the county, the city requires a main point of contact with MCSO.

In addition to the Troutdale duties, Gullberg also took over the helm of the county's patrol division.

Gullberg plans to apply the lessons he learned from the FBI academy to his new assignments.

"Eating less, and trying a different fad diet or working out occasionally kind of come and go, but you really have to be about changing your life," Gullberg said. "That really happened for me at the academy, and coming out of the academy and keeping it going. So I'm excited about trying to pass that knowledge onto others — especially as it relates to our job where I think it will improve our ability to provide better public service."

About Travis Gullberg

  • Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Capt. Travis Gullberg, 49, graduated from Gresham's Centennial High School in 1987. He earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and social work from Warner Pacific University in Portland.

  • He and his wife, Janet, have been married for 26 years, and have two sons.

  • Gullberg began his law enforcement career in 1996 as a patrol officer in Rock Springs, Wyo. He became a patrol deputy for the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in 1998. He grew up wanting to work in a service role.

  • After college, Gullberg pursued a career as a social worker, but he realized he wanted to do more in public safety and determined law enforcement was the right fit.

  • During his MCSO career, Gullberg has worked in the civil process unit, detectives unit, and the river patrol team. He has also served on the East County Major Crimes Team; search and rescue team; dive team; and K9 team.

  • Gullberg moved from captain of the professional standards unit and is taking the reins of MCSO's patrol operations and is serving as acting chief for the city of Troutdale.

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