A cookie caper was afoot on Friday in one Farmington second grade class as the FBI’s Salt Lake City field office paid a visit to Canyon Creek Elementary, thanks in part to one student’s determination.

Last November, second grade student Uriah Mulwee and his peers were instructed in class to write letters of gratitude around Thanksgiving. Uriah decided to write his letter to the FBI to thank its agents for keeping his community safe and keeping dangerous criminals off the street.

“These letters are so special to receive,” said Shohini Sinha, the FBI Salt Lake City field office’s special agent in charge, who made an appearance at the school to share the simulated crime scene scenario with the students.

Betzy Mulwee, Uriah’s mother, encouraged her son to take initiative to find a way to get the letter to the FBI when she asked her son how the FBI would see his wonderful letter of gratitude. From there, Uriah found the address of the FBI’s Salt Lake City location and mailed the letter.

The investigators then sniffed out a way to express their gratitude back to those with curious young minds like Uriah.

“It’s pretty amazing; we’re really proud of him for following through,” said Betzy Mulwee, adding that although Uriah has never expressed a desire to work for the FBI, he has an affinity for anything to do with law enforcement and public servants like firefighters and paramedics.

Sinha brought with her a small team of FBI employees from the Salt Lake City field office to lead the students through multiple interactive activities that simulate the investigative rigor it takes to solve a crime and to use the day as an opportunity to teach the students — beyond what they’ve learned from dramatized depictions of the agency in TV and movies — about what the FBI does and represents.

Michera Dobbs of the FBI speaks with second graders at Canyon Creek Elementary School after an activity where the kids learned how to use detective skills in Farmington on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. | Marielle Scott, Deseret News

“There’s a misconception that we only hire lawyers or people who are super athletic,” Sinha told KSL, explaining one myth the FBI tries to dispel through outreach work. “We hire exceptional people who are fit and exceptional academically, but we also hire people who are committed to service — that is something that TV doesn’t emphasize.”

Sinha and her team prepared a lesson plan of six practical, engaging activities that gave the second graders insight into what goes into the investigation of a crime scene. The students rotated through the six activities, learning the basic concepts behind investigative methods for analyzing shoe prints, fingerprints, clothing fibers, soil, handwriting and ink.

Presenting the excited students with badges made for the occasion, Sinha led them in an oath that officially swore them in as junior special agents for the day and invited Uriah to read the letter he sent in front of his classmates.

Sinha says that public outreach work is largely meant to “demystify” the FBI and reach out to underserved or underprivileged communities to help them understand that the FBI is a public safety agency staffed by ordinary people — community members who took an oath to serve their community and uphold its laws.

“In a perfect world, each one of these kids would be an FBI employee,” Sinha said. “But, I also want them to not be afraid of us and (to) understand a little bit about what we do and how we keep people safe.”