Hogan’s Alley:
The Fake FBI Town that Provides Real Training

While you may think of classrooms, laboratories, and firing ranges when you think of the FBI Training Academy at Quantico, there is also an entire simulated town known as Hogan’s Alley. Hogan’s Alley was built for the express purpose of training FBI agents when – and when not – to engage people in a life-like simulated environment that mimics an urban area, complete with civilian bystanders.

Hogan’s Alley is all about helping agents develop skills related to judgment – allowing them to correctly and effectively use the skills they’ve developed related to firearms and engaging suspects.

Why is there a Fake Town at Quantico, Virginia?

Hogan’s Alley has served as a simulation training ground for new FBI agents and agents from other agencies since 1987.  Funds for this town were released in 1986 after a tragic episode in which FBI agents were injured and killed in a shoot-out in Miami.  The leaders at the FBI were determined that their agents would receive the best training possible to prevent another such tragedy.  This training facility is officially known as The Practical Applications Unit.

What are the Components of Hogan’s Alley?

There are the basics of an entire town on the 60 acres of Hogan’s Alley.  Built with assistance from set designers in Hollywood, there are both shops and homes in this crime-ridden small town.  There is a restaurant that serves real food called The Dogwood Inn, an Allied Drugs store, the Coin-Op Laundromat and Billiards, dry cleaners, and a barbershop.  The town’s theatre—the Biograph Theatre—is notable, since it is a replica of the one in which John Dillinger was killed by the FBI.

Constant traffic whizzes through the town.  Local actors play innocent bystanders and hardened criminals.  Sometimes the former become the latter.  In episodes of realism, seemingly ordinary people suddenly pull guns and appear to threaten the lives of the trainees.

What is Hogan’s Alley Named After?

The name “Hogan’s Alley” was borrowed from the comic strip of the same name in the 1800s.  It was thought to be a fitting name, since it described an alley in a rough neighborhood.  The term is also a general one for firing ranges.

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