Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Seeing how a police force confronts terrorism on a daily basis will help Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies respond to any potential threats here, say deputies back from a weeklong training mission in Israel.
"We pray that the things that happen in Israel don't happen here, but if they do, then we can be prepared," said Lt. Michael Wallace of the sheriff's Emergency Response Team.
Wallace, Sheriff Ed Bieluch and seven deputies spent a week at the Israel National Police's training academy at Kiryat Bialik and visited border regions and Jerusalem with police officers.
The trip was paid for by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and was the second trip to the country by members of the sheriff's special response units.
Police officers from Kiryat Bialik came to Palm Beach County last summer to train in what the federation called a "security exchange" of cross-training and developing professional relationships between the two police departments.
Wallace said his unit trained in crowd control, dignitary protection, border security and anti-terror techniques. He said he was impressed by the level of communication among the 25,000 members of the national police.
"The right hand knows what the left hand is doing," he said. "They are constantly talking to each other. It's a matter of survival."
Bieluch said he was impressed by the commitment of the Israeli officers.
"If they work 10 days in a row, 12 hours a day, they don't get overtime," Bieluch said. "They don't grumble. They don't complain."
Bieluch, who has about six weeks left in office, said he had no qualms about taking the trip.
"I'm still the sheriff and I'm still setting policy," Bieluch said.