Thursday, December 6, 2007

"One would say it is the front line," Chief Barnett [Jones] said of Israel. "We're in a global war."

"Suicide Bombings Bring Urgency to Police in U.S."

The New York Times

July 25, 2005

On the Web at:

But the growing relationship between Israeli and United States law enforcement, expanding now after the London bombings, has prompted criticism among some Muslim groups, who say they fear that American police officers will engage in religious or ethnic profiling.

Some officials talk about receiving reports from the public about what the police refer to as "M.E.W.C.'s" - Middle Eastern with a camera - perhaps taking pictures of a bridge, a hydropower plant or a reservoir.

"Israel's antiterror tactics are largely based on profiling, whether it's on airlines or at checkpoints," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Washington. "And they've produced tremendous resentment and hostility in the Palestinian population through humiliating tactics and through abuses on a daily basis. And I don't think that's something we want to replicate."

Many police and federal officials have gone to Israel through a program organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a nonprofit group in Washington that promotes close ties between the United States and the Israeli military and the police. Marsha Halteman, director of corporate and community programs for the institute, said that it got its money from private donors and that it had been sponsoring such trips for American officers since 2002.

Since the London bombings of July 7, Ms. Halteman said, interest in cooperation between the countries' police agencies has increased considerably. The institute pays the cost of the trips to Israel, roughly $6,500 for each state or local officer; it does not pay for federal officers' expenses, Ms. Halteman said. Since 2002, the institute has sent dozens of American law enforcement officials to Israel and sponsored several conferences here with Israeli security experts....

...Barnett Jones, chief of the Sterling, Mich., Police Department, with 259 employees, was one of more than a dozen officials who went to Israel for training in April.

"One would say it is the front line," Chief Barnett said of Israel. "We're in a global war."

Asked whether he had specific concerns because of the large Arab and Muslim population in the Detroit area, he responded delicately, saying: "The reality is we have a large population in our community that immediately become suspect, whether that is right or wrong, because of the global war. For me to sit here and say, 'I'm not concerned' would be wrong, but for me to sit here and say, 'Yes I'm concerned' would also be wrong."

The New York City Police Department has worked with the Israelis since soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and has permanently stationed a Hebrew-speaking detective in Israel, who returns to the city often to train other officers.


More details from the Washington Post...

"Israeli Experts Teach Police On Terrorism:
Training Programs Prompt Policy Shifts"

by SARI HORWITZ / Washington Post

June 12, 2005

On the Web at:

"...Levy has been traveling across the United States with other Israeli security experts to share counterterrorism tactics with American law enforcement officials. They are briefing not only big-city cops but county sheriffs and police chiefs from such diverse locations as Gaithersburg and Knoxville, Tenn.

"In addition, since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with police officials, sheriffs and bomb technicians have been traveling to Israel for week-long lessons on terrorism.

Classes include the history of Islamic fundamentalism and how to spot a suicide bomber.

"...But state and local police officials across the country say the Israeli exchange is unique for them - and invaluable for the quantity and quality of information.

“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer.

“No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel,” said D.C. police Cmdr. Cathy Lanier, who heads the District’s special operations division and oversees the bomb squad and the emergency response team.

Gainer traveled to Israel with D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey on a trip organized by Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. Israeli bomb experts have, in turn, come to meet with Gainer’s officers.

After returning from Israel, Gainer retrained his officers to shoot a potential suicide bomber in the head..."

...Ralph Morten, a Los Angeles police detective on the bomb squad and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, has conducted more than 1,000 training sessions for more than 25,000 police, fire and military personnel based on what he learned in Israel.

Several of the Israel trips have been organized by the research forum, a Washington-based organization that works with police nationwide. Others are planned by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a Washington think tank that focuses on defense and national security issues and promotes cooperation with Israel as vital to U.S. security interests.

Since the summer of 2002, the institute has sent 40 senior law enforcement officials to Israel, including the Los Angeles assistant police chief, the security chief of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and the police chiefs of Gaithersburg and Prince William County, at a cost of $5,000 to $7,000 a person...