WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County sheriff’s Maj. Alan Everidge and Forsyth Police Chief Keith Corley recently spent about two weeks training in Israel on the latest counterterrorism techniques and technologies.
They were joined by 15 other public safety personnel from across Georgia for the 23rd annual training organized by the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange at Georgia State University. Two others also participated from other states. The trip was June 13-30.
Both Everidge and Corley said they were most impressed by the community policing techniques that worked well in a country often torn by religious division and terrorism.
Although extremists exist, Everidge said in many communities within the country, the diverse religious population lives peacefully and works with law enforcement.
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“What we saw over there were more positive relationships between those communities than the negative issues they face,” Everidge said.
Both Everidge and Corley found that much of what law enforcement deals with is similar across the globe.
“They have the traditional law enforcement issues that we do, you know, drugs, burglaries and theft, and that kind of thing,” Everidge said. “But they also have to face the issue of terrorism on a more regular basis.”
Everidge, who oversees the Houston County jail, said he had the opportunity to go into Israeli jails and prisons and see how they’re operated.
He also had the opportunity to talk to Israeli trainers and see how they train their people.
Corley was impressed with a demonstration on how the border guard thwarts drug and gun smuggling. He also had the opportunity to see the Israel Air Force landing and taking off and visited Israel’s new national police department.
Corley said the American flag often is flown along with the flag of Israel.
“Most of the people love America. ... And a lot them will tell you, without us, they may not exist,” Corley said. “They follow our news. They follow what’s going on in America, and they pull for our sports teams.
“They feel really close to America, and I had no idea about that,” he said.
Everidge lauded the exchange program for creating a way for law enforcement personnel across the globe to learn from each other.
Corley said they also benefited from interaction among fellow Americans on the trip.
“I know I came back with a new respect for what they do there and how they have to live and some of the issues that they face,” Everidge said. “But I also brought back some management and some training ideas that I would like to see us work toward, especially training on how to deal with different cultures.”
The exchange program has graduated more than 1,050 public safety and law enforcement officials from all over the world through 312 exchanges, according to an exchange program news release. About half of those are from the U.S., and most are from Georgia, the release stated.
Also, more than 23,000 public and private safety leaders have attended the program’s special briefings, seminars and workshops, and the organization has assisted Olympics security efforts around the world.
“As the world changes, getting ever smaller, GILEE’s focus on international public safety partnerships cannot be more important,” Robert Friedmann, director of the group, said in the news release. He is a professor emeritus of criminal justice at Georgia State University.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.