North Charleston Police Chief Jon R. Zumalt found himself hobnobbing with some of the world's top cops last week.

Zumalt was among 41 law enforcement executives from around the world who completed the FBI's 34th annual National Executive Institute.

The National Executive Institute is for law enforcement executives in organizations with more than 500 sworn officers, serving populations of more than 250,000.

Police executives are nominated for the training by the Special Agent in Charge of their local FBI offices.

Zumalt said he felt fortunate to have been able to attend because there is really no department in the state with a sufficient number of sworn officers to qualify, other than the state Department of Public Safety. North Charleston has 300 sworn officers.

Zumalt said he was nominated because FBI officials wanted someone from South Carolina to get the benefits of the program and because he is past president of the FBI-sponsored Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.

The only other law enforcement executive in the state to have attended the NEI was Mark Keel, who attended when he was director of the S.C. Department of Public Safety, Zumalt said.

Keel is now director of the State Law Enforcement Division.

The NEI included three, separate one-week sessions, with the last session having taken place in Gettysburg, Pa., from Sept. 11 until Sept. 16. The institute focuses on strategic leadership development and current affairs.

Topics presented during this year's sessions included international, trans-national and national threats, policing in a divided society and media and the police executive.

More than 1,000 law enforcement executives have graduated from NEI since 1976.

Zumalt has been North Charleston police chief since 2001.

He previously worked with the Wichita (Kansas) Police Department for more than 21 years with command positions in patrol, training, special operations, internal affairs and special investigations.