PERRY — Perry police Capt. Bill Phelps returned this month from a two-week training program in Israel where he studied policing strategies, including counterterrorism.
Phelps, a 21-year member of the Perry police force and head of the patrol division, was among a 20-member delegation from the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange program. He was the only officer from Middle Georgia.
Phelps said he came away from the experience with ideas on how to improve security at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, which he said exceeds an annual attendance of about 1.5 million visitors.
He also said he has become more convinced of the need for the U.S. to protect its borders, noting that Israel has enemies on every side and yet is able to protect itself. He noted that Israel police receive about 200 bomb threats a day.
In addition, Phelps said he was fascinated by the Israel Supreme Court, which he said makes its rulings based on 10 basic laws that govern the country.
He noted that police in Israel face the same kind of problems as Perry police, including the infiltration of illegal drugs.
In addition to making him a better officer and leader, Phelps, a Christian, said the trip was one of a lifetime. Phelps said he was re-baptized in the Jordan River, and that he walked down a Jerusalem street and pressed his hand against a wall where it is said that Jesus also rested his hand.
Phelps said he also got to float in the Dead Sea, with its thick mineral mix that he said defies explanation. He said people travel to dip in the Dead Sea throughout the day because of its reported healing effects on skin diseases.
According to a Georgia State University news release, the GILEE exchange program was founded in 1992 by Robert Friedmann, a criminal justice professor at the university. Phelps was part of the 18th delegation of Georgia law enforcement officers to visit Israel through the GILEE program, the release said.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.