It is more important than ever to arm our law enforcement officials with the best information available and the best information available comes from one of the front lines of the global war on terrorism – Israel. Israeli law enforcement has been dealing with terrorism and learning from it for more than 30 years. Both law enforcement and the public have paid a very heavy price to learn the lessons that they now openly share with the United States through the Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) run by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).
In late February, the Law Enforcement Exchange Program brought 14 top level American police chiefs, sheriffs, and senior federal agents to Israel for a week-long program designed to strengthen American law enforcement counterterrorism practices by facilitating dialogue with and studying techniques used by their Israeli counterparts. Many of the participants are leaders from national law enforcement associations like the National Sheriffs Association, the Major County Sheriffs Association, the Major City Chiefs of Police, and the International Association for Chiefs of Police (IACP). In addition, participants also included executives from the DEA, FBI, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Topics covered a variety of issues including managing a coordinated response to a terror scene, responses and methodology to suicide bombings, border security, the intelligence process, the relationship between law enforcement and private security, and much more.
Lectures and briefings, however, are only part of the LEEP experience. Interacting with all levels of law enforcement in Israel is an important part of the exchange. Throughout the trip, participants continuously engaged in a dialogue with their Israeli counterparts, learning about the similarities and differences between policing in their respective countries. A meeting with Commissioner Yochanan Danino allowed the participants to converse and share their experiences with the highest police official in Israel. The group had the opportunity to experience policing in Israel first hand when they participated in a ride along with patrol officers in Tel Aviv. For many participants, seeing how Israeli law enforcement conducts everyday policing with the ever-present threat of terrorism was the highlight of the trip. The participants also had the chance to visit a prison to observe how Israel deals with the incarceration of terrorists.
For most of the participants, this was their first time in Israel. The knowledge gained on this program will help their departments keep citizens safer and ensure that American communities are better prepared to deal with the realities of terrorism.
JINSA’s Law Enforcement Exchange Program has supported the American law enforcement community with this important program since 2002. To date more than 100 law enforcement officials on the federal, state, and local levels have traveled to Israel with the program. Additionally, 11,000 Americans from the law enforcement community have attended nationwide LEEP conferences held in U.S. cities across the country. Within the law enforcement community, the program is widely regarded as some of the best training available.