COVINGTON, Ga. - Representatives of the Israel Police visited the Covington Police Department Tuesday as a part of their tour of Georgia law enforcement this week.
As the escorted bus of Israeli law enforcement pulled into the CPD parking lot, they were greeted by the image of Israeli and American flags flying outside. Parked department vehicles’ lights flashed in a display of welcome while local officers waited to shake hands with their colleagues from around the world.
The program began with a showcase of Covington Police Department vehicles and equipment and conversation with CPD officers. After taking a tour of the department, members of the GILEE program were taken around the city.
The exchange program was also a sharing of support. During the program, Chief Stacey Cotton called the officers together and explained the significance of the 148-car sitting on the department lawn that reads “#148strong.”
Chief Cotton shared stories of the bravery and dedication to the job displayed by the vehicle’s driver, Officer Matt Cooper who is currently recovering from his injuries sustained in the line of duty earlier this fall.
Law enforcement from Covington and Israel then circled around the car, taking a photograph to show their support for their fellow officer.
According to the GILEE website, The Georgia international Law Enforcement Exchange is a program connecting law enforcement and public safety agencies at the local, state, federal, and international levels. GILEE’s goal is “to provide peer-to-peer professional training through the introduction of best practices in order to enhance agency capabilities to better deal with threats to public safety and improve security.”
GILEE began in 1992, providing anti-terrorism training to protect the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The organization has since provided more than 1,600 law enforcement officers and command staff with training programs like the exchange between officers from Georgia and Israel.