Capt. Wendell Wagstaff of the Covington Police Department recently returned from Israel after two weeks of intensive public safety leadership training with the Middle Eastern country’s top police officials.
He trained alongside Georgia police chiefs and command staff, sheriffs, the director of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council and a deputy director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a news release said. .
Wagstaff was part of a 16-member delegation of senior law enforcement officials from Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Colorado who participated in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) 28th Program annual peer-to-peer executive training in partnership with the police in Israel.
During their stay, they were shown best practices and the latest technologies in policing and public safety.
Wagstaff said the trip to Israel “was the trip of a lifetime”.
“In my 32 years in law enforcement, I have to say that the knowledge gained through experience will help me and my department maintain order here,” he said. -he declares.
“The purpose of the trip was to not only learn best practices and effective methods for solving law enforcement issues, but it also provided me with a network in which I established myself with 15 other law enforcement officials. law enforcement, primarily from the state of Georgia.
“Israel is confronted with terrorism on a daily basis. We can say here in Covington that we don’t have Israel’s problems, why would that matter? Although we don’t have the scale of what Israel has, things can happen on a smaller scale that we need to be prepared for.
“Every year we have big events that we could be a target for in the town of Covington. It is very important that the Covington Police Department be prepared for any act of violence in a situation like this.
Wagstaff said Israel also works with its communities to develop fruitful relationships to improve public safety.
“We at the Covington Police Department are also working hard to do that as well. I learned of specific things they do within their communities that contain great violence. They implemented new strategies to combat and reduce violence, such as developing new police stations, community interactions, and working closely with interior leaders.
“Finally, the experience of meeting and interacting with other police executives during the trip was critical to the future success of each of us. Due to the new relationships forged, the Covington Police Department is sharpening up to become a modeling agency by sharing important information with each other, which makes us perform better together.
“I feel at any time I can call 15 other agencies from established relationships, including Israel Police commanders, and get any help we might need here in Covington.”
The delegation was led by GILEE Founding Director Robbie Friedmann and GILEE Associate Director Brent Cummings.
Continuity of service joined community policing as a priority this year.
Recognizing the more than 700,000 American police officers who have served on the front lines during an unprecedented pandemic and a time of social unrest, GILEE delegates learned about strategies for successfully leading continued law enforcement services and uninterrupted while building stronger, safer and better community relationships through the police community.
According to Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of GILEE, Robbie Friedmann, who formulated the definition, community policing recognizes the need for greater accountability, greater public involvement in decision-making, and greater great concern for civil rights and liberties.
Cummings said, “GILEE facilitates peer-to-peer professional development programs that create better networks among law enforcement professionals, enabling stronger public safety and improved community policing in Georgia, the United States, and the world.”
“Law enforcement officials learn by experiencing first-hand how others police in a variety of cultures, which promotes growth and enlightenment on new ways to approach challenges at home, improving the communities in which we all live.”
More than 1,100 public security officials — most from Georgia — participated in the program in Israel. More than 40,000 people attended additional GIREE trainings, briefings, seminars and workshops in Georgia and around the world.
“Trying to describe the meaningful impact of participating in the GILEE delegation to Israel to others is no small task,” said Chief Janet Moon of the Peachtree City Police Department, president of the Georgian Association. police chiefs and GIREE delegate in 2015. .
“Observing how the Israel Police interacted with people who were very different from them was inspiring. The Israel Police also embraced this diversity within their own ranks. I found the experience very enriching in a way that made me led me to develop my commitment and resolve to use the principles of community policing.”
GILEE is a research center within the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University that improves public safety by nurturing partnerships within and between public law enforcement agencies and the private sector. Learn more at gilee.gsu.edu.