Returning after an intensive two weeks of training in Israel are 13 Georgia police chiefs and command staff, two sheriffs, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation inspector and executives from the Georgia State Patrol, Stone Mountain Park and the Georgia Command College.
The 21 delegates received public safety leadership training from Israel’s top police executives. The Georgia representatives visited Tel Aviv, Eilat, Haifa and Jerusalem as a part of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange’s 27th annual peer-to-peer training program. GILEE is a research unit within Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
While in Israel, the representatives were shown best practices and the latest technologies in policing and public safety. “The delegates were able to work with Israeli police and learn about a phone app that allows police to track those who call Israel’s 100 number (equivalent to our 911) and give them directions if they are lost or can locate them to help them,” said Steve Heaton, executive director of GILEE and former chief of police in Georgia.
The primary focus of the training, Heaton said, was on community policing, “a policy and a strategy aimed at achieving more effective and efficient crime control, reduced fear of crime, improved quality of life, improved police services and police legitimacy, through a proactive reliance on community resources that seeks to change crime-causing conditions.”
Community policing assumes a need for greater accountability of police, a greater public share in decision-making and a greater concern for civil rights and liberties, according to Robbie Friedmann, a professor at GSU and GILEE’s founding director, who formulated the definition. He also led this year’s delegation.
“A lot is packed into two weeks and the delegates start their day at seven in the morning and end at eight at night,” Heaton said. During the training, the delegates are constantly meeting with police, even during their down time there has to be a law enforcement connection.
“Our GILEE delegates return with new ways of developing, collaborating on and using strategies to minimize the production of crime and terrorism,” Heaton said. “The technologies the Israeli police use in their logistics department are a variety of different applications and often our delegates bring back these technologies, depending if they can afford it or not [and] based on if specific counties in Georgia would be interested,” he said.
“I believe GILEE offers one of the best leadership development training programs globally,” Donald De Lucca, a three-time police chief and past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, wrote to GILEE about the experience. “The inside look and hands-on learning provides executives with a broader view of some of the best practices available to the police profession.”
In fact, several U.S. and international professional policing associations and academic institutions have written this year in support of the many contributions GILEE has made to the field’s professional development. Israelis also have come to Georgia and learned about Georgia law in addition to being exposed to federal, state, county and municipal laws.
More than 770 public safety officials — most from Georgia — have participated in the GILEE program in Israel. Nearly 35,000 have attended additional GILEE trainings, briefings, seminars and workshops in Georgia and around the world.
The program enhances public safety by nurturing existing and new partnerships within and across public agencies and the private sector. GILEE has received multiple awards and honors, including the Special Service Award from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Georgia Governor’s Public Safety Award.