Police executives from six regional police departments recently returned from an educational expedition to study counter-terrorism efforts in Israel. They were participants in the first Western States/St. Louis Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel
with police colleagues from California, Nevada and Arizona. Included in the Mission were Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy, Creve Coeur Police Chief Glenn Eidman, Florissant Police Chief Tim Lowery, Frontenac Police Chief Tom Becker, Olivette Police Chief Rick Knox and Chuck Thal, a member of ADL’s regional advisory board and Major with the St. Ann Police Department.
From March 19 – 28, the commanders experienced Israel from the high-tech city of Tel Aviv to the Old City of Jerusalem to the towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth, from the West Bank to the Golan Heights. The group also visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial museum. They heard firsthand from Arab-Israelis, IDF commanders, a survivor of a suicide bomb bus attack, residents of a kibbutz on the Gaza border, police experts and scholars including representatives of the Israel National Police, the Israel Defense Forces and in Bethlehem, the Palestinian Police Authority.
ADL regional director Karen Aroesty offered “It is a privilege to bring police executives from the US to Israel to study how law enforcement operates in that society, to learn how they confront the challenges of terrorism first-hand, and understand beyond media stereotypes about Israel and the unique space in which she resides. For them to encounter day-to-day police responsibilities and learn from academics and police officials on the ground, and to understand how that can impact the work in their own departments, is one of the most profound experiences of a professional police career.”
Perhaps most memorable was a Shabbat dinner shared with a gracious family outside Tiberias, the first for many in the group. The returning Chiefs are sharing their experience with City Council members, ADL allies and law enforcement and community partners. The trip was made possible by private funding.