ATLANTA - While many people take trips abroad in the summer, Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Capt. Sonya S. Cordero's trip to Israel was more than just sightseeing. Cordero returned home after spending two weeks in Israel for training in the latest counterterrorism techniques and technologies by that nation's top police officers.
She joined a delegation of sheriffs, police chiefs, a deputy commissioner and an inspector from 17 Georgia public safety and law enforcement agencies, as well as law enforcement leaders from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who participated in the 23rd annual peer-to-peer public safety training program organized by the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) at Georgia State University.
GILEE hosts public safety exchanges, conferences and experts who introduce new, best practices in law enforcement to police and other public and private safety professionals to enhance their capabilities to serve citizens in this area.
Cordero said, "The Israeli National Police have a complexity of challenges including terror attacks. They must overcome those obstacles while still providing the people quality police services. The police leaders we met in Israel demonstrated a high level of professionalism and dedication to protecting their community.
She added, "From Conyers, Georgia to Israel there is still a common police brotherhood and I feel fortunate to have met and learned from these professionals."
"As the world changes, getting ever smaller, GILEE's focus on international public safety partnerships cannot be more important," said GILEE Director Robert Friedmann, a Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at Georgia State University.
Since its 1992 founding, GILEE has graduated more than 1,050 public safety and law enforcement officials from all over the world - about half from the U.S., mostly from Georgia - through 312 training exchanges. More than 23,000 public and private safety leaders have attended GILEE's special briefings, seminars and workshops. And GILEE has assisted Olympic security efforts around the world.
Among other honors, GILEE received the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police President's Special Service Award for its work in 2014.
Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson sent the 2015 delegation a letter noting his appreciation and support for GILEE's efforts to educate and promote public safety in Georgia.
"I thank you for your willingness to be a part of this successful law enforcement training program and for sharing your knowledge with other officers on your return. It is important that the men and women who serve in law enforcement have all the tools necessary to protect the citizens of our country. By sharing ideas and bringing together Georgia law enforcement agencies and the police force of the State of Israel, GILEE is providing valuable information and training in the areas of counterterrorism and drug interdiction."