Social Circle Police Chief Tyrone Oliver recently returned from an intensive two weeks of public safety leadership training with Israel’s top policing executives. Oliver joined police chiefs, sheriffs, and public safety commissioners and official, along with a senior corporate security manager, in a 21-member delegation of senior law enforcement officials from Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. These officials participated in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange’s (GILEE) 26th annual peer-to-peer training program in partnership with Israel. While there, they studied best practices and the latest advances in community policing, counterterrorism, emergency management, advanced technologies and homeland security policies.
“In GILEE’s 26 years, our partnership with the world’s top public safety experts has returned more than 720 public safety officials home with the knowledge and skills they need to keep our communities safer,” Robbie Friedmann, GILEE’s founding director and professor emeritus at Georgia State University, said in a press release. “Among the program’s many benefits, our delegates return home with a better understanding of effective ways to address modern policing challenges and increased communications and collaboration among different agencies, external organizations and the greater community.
This year’s peer-to-peer training emphasized community policing, the textbook definition of which was developed by Friedmann while he was a Georgia State University professor:
“Community policing is 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. It assumes a need for greater accountability of police, greater public share in decision-making and greater concern for civil rights and liberties,” Friedmann said.
Community policing has been an important part of Social Circle’s policies and Oliver said he found similarities to some already implemented in the city.
“As a law enforcement leader in Social Circle and Walton County I found that the Israel Police community policing programs were similar to ours as it relates to their philosophy,” Oliver said. “It was interesting to see that even in Israel they are dealing with similar concerns as it relates to building trust within the communities they serve and establishing partnerships. They focus on using the best policing practices to ensure public safety and reduce crime and terrorism. ”
Oliver said there was, however, a lot to be learned in technology and communications from law enforcement counterparts in Israel.
“The training that would particularly be beneficial if applied to Social Circle and Walton County would be enhancing our technology. I know that the Israel Police is a country-wide organization, but their data base and technology is unbelievable,” Oliver said. “Here in Walton County I feel that public safety officials share information and work together really well. However, if we can improve our abilities to utilize existing technology for information sharing it would allow us to do our jobs more efficiently.”
The security and counterterrorism training also was something that would be beneficial to law enforcement in the local area, Oliver said. The recent incident at the Capital Gazette highlights how necessary active shooter training is to all law enforcement agencies.
“As we see in the news today attacks are targeted on ‘soft targets’ meaning that there are lessen security measures in place at public gatherings. Even though it hasn’t happened here in Social Circle and Walton County (knock on wood) but potential is here just like anywhere else and we need to be better prepared,” Oliver said. “Some of the things that we already have in place in Social Circle is that every officer is equipped with active shooter gear, less lethal options, body cameras, and receive nothing but the best training to handle any situation. During events that require street closures we reinforce our barricades with vehicles, vans, trucks etc. to prevent anyone from driving through the crowd.”
Founded in 1992, GILEE is a Georgia homeland security program. The organization works continuously to improve public safety by enhancing inter-agency cooperation, partnerships and professional educational training among the world’s top law enforcement communities, most recently in Israel and Hungary. To date, it has offered more than 200 special briefings to more than 32,000 law enforcement officers, corporate security personnel and community leaders, carried out more than 450 programs and produced more than 1,500 graduates, one of them Monroe Public Safety Director Keith Glass.
“Chief Keith Glass from the Monroe Police Department attended the GILEE program in the past and was actually the head of his delegation class,” Oliver said. “I strongly encourage the other law enforcement executives to attend the program if possible. It will definitely be a wonderful and eye opening experience. It was one that I will never forget.”
Early next month, agencies including the City of Monroe Police and Fire with support from Walton County agencies that may include (911, Sherriff, Fire and EMS) Loganville and Social Circle Fire Departments and Police Department and possibly 2 Air Medical Transport services will conduct a joint active Shooter simulation and training in Monroe.
GILEE is a research unit within Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, which U.S. News & World Report ranked among the nation’s top 20 public affairs graduate schools this year. It operates in more than 25 countries and more than 25 states in the U.S.
“Our GILEE delegates have returned with new ways of developing, collaborating on and using police and intelligence strategies to minimize the production of crime,” Friedmann said. “In GILEE’s 26 years, many of these graduates have and are serving in key leadership roles in Georgia and beyond.”
Photo Gallery from Social Circle Police Chief Tyrone Oliver during his training GILLEE training in Israel, June 2018.