Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell recently returned home from a two-week public safety and counter terrorism training in Israel.
Terrell was one of 20 law enforcement officers from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee in the peer to peer program, hosted by the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange.
In an interview with AccessWDUN, Terrell said he learned about the way law enforcement officers in Israel are taught to interact.
"The things we got to talk about, the things we got to see and how handle [and] integrate community policing, as well as working on the safety of their communities from terrorism... it's interesting," said Terrell. "We as law enforcement here in America, we haven't experienced terrorism as much as they have but it's an ever-growing threat. We want to continue to keep everyone safe and enjoy the great freedoms we have here."
Terrell said there was so much to learn about, but the thing that stuck out to him was an emphasis on training. "The amount of time and effort they put in to make sure they have the best trained officers they can have to work in their communities," Terrell said.
"We're (Habersham County) going to look harder at training. That's a big thing today and with everything that's going on in our society today and everything law enforcement has to deal with... keeping our officers highly trained. I don't think we put enough in to it and we don't spend near enough money... we're going to look at working harder on training officers more, not necessarily with their firearms but in dealing with the public and dealing with public relations and different things."
Terrell said the opportunity wasn't just exciting because it was his first trip out of the United States, it was exciting to go to the Holy Land and see how that has influenced the modern world.
"It was a once in a lifetime experience, not just to go to Israel and see how they protect their nation... but also to visit the Holy Land. At one time it was the center of everything known to man and it's tremendous how those two are intertwined," he said. "There's no separation of church and state over there, so the church is heavily involved things that go on throughout the state, not just for the Jewish but the Muslims and Christians there. But they make it work. It fits together hand in hand and there's not a lot of conflict, they make it work."
The law enforcement exchange trip, hosted by GILEE, is funded by private donors and not tax payer dollars.