COVINGTON - Covington Police Department Chief Stacey Cotton recently played host to a delegation of high-ranking Israeli police who came to see how crime is fought in the South.
The group is part of the 14th delegation from Israel to participate in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program and is touring the state with Georgia State University's Professor and Distinguished Chair of Public Safety Partnerships Dr. Robert R. Friedmann, the organization's founder.
"A lot of the things we do are similar, but a lot is different, too," said Cotton, who has participated in several exchanges, including visits to Israel and London. "For instance, they are experts in terrorism. It's something they deal with every day. It's just good to get new ideas and see different approaches."
Three other CPD officers have also participated in the exchange, which Cotton pointed out is at no cost to taxpayers.
While in Covington, the group visited CPD headquarters and was scheduled to participate in a road safety check, observe a cowboy-style shooting demonstration and eat dinner.
Other stops during their two-week visit included the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, the Atlanta and Marietta police departments and the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office.
"At a time of increased threat of international terrorism and economic uncertainties, it is doubly imperative to facilitate such exchange programs where police forces improve their service to the public by learning how their sister agencies are addressing challenges and threats," Friedmann said.
GILEE has coordinated similar collaborations between police organizations from six additional U.S. states and six additional countries including Austria, Canada, China, Hungary, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.