Georgia, Tennessee law-enforcement delegation visits Israel

A visiting group of the Israel Police for the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange meets with Avshalom Peled, deputy Israeli police commissioner (center, front row). Credit: Israel Police.

(JNS) — Last month, 20 police and public safety executives from Georgia and Tennessee spent two weeks training in Israel as part of the 30th annual peer-to-peer executive training program of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange.

A joint project of Georgia State University and international, federal, state and local law enforcement, GILEE also partners with the Israeli police. Participants met with Avshalom Peled, deputy Israeli police commissioner.

The delegation included 12 police chiefs and command staff from the state of Georgia, three Georgia sheriffs, the director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, a deputy Georgia Department of Public Safety commissioner and a senior Tennessee law-enforcement official.

Michael Register, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, an independent state agency, was the delegation head. He told JNS that the program offers a “tremendous opportunity” for enhancing overall community relations and security knowledge.

“I was able to see first hand not only the beautiful country of Israel, but also how the Israeli police work to ensure the safety of their citizens,” Register said. “Their efforts are synchronized and portray an effective strategy of community engagement and cultural inclusiveness, integrated with technology and innovative operational methodologies.”

The program helped Register grow professionally, broaden his understanding of the issues confronting Israel and “validated the need for a multifaceted approach concerning the complex public safety issues we face in today’s world,” he told JNS.

Participants learned about new policing and public safety technologies, and about making neighborhoods, including minority ones, safer through community policing.

GILEE’s more than 30 years of leadership development programs are particularly relevant to Jewish communities, Robert Friedmann, criminal justice professor emeritus at Georgia State University and founding GILEE director, told JNS.

Participants learn about Israeli history and demographics, which “in turn helps them better understand and be sensitive to the needs of the Jewish community,” Friedmann said. He noted the importance of that sensitivity as antisemitic attacks have increased.

“They learn about community policing and then implement it with respect to Jewish and other minorities,” he said. “Eventually, this is what policing in democracies is all about: providing public safety while protecting civil rights and liberties.”

Prior to the group’s departure for Israel, it heard from John King, Georgia’s insurance and safety fire commissioner, who is a former GILEE delegate and who delivered a keynote to the new group.

“This will be the most impactful professional experience in your law enforcement career,” he told the group. “This experience has forged relationships that will last a lifetime. You’re going to be exposed to something truly extraordinary. It’s important that you think now about what you’re going to bring back, how you’re going to share your knowledge. You have a responsibility to give back.”