Chief recounts trip to Israel - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chief recounts trip to Israel

June 22, 2005

Albany- South Georgia police deal with robbers and burglars not terrorists. Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek recently spent two weeks in Israel learning how the Israeli National Police handle the daily threat of terrorists.

The situations Israeli Police face are not all that different from what Chief Don Cheek sees in Dougherty County.

"They have quality of life, and they have citizens that are worried about loud noises at night, but they're also worried about is somebody going to set off a bomb on my block," said Chief Don Cheek, Dougherty County Police.

They get a lot of help preventing attacks like that from average Israelis, who are well trained because they must serve in the military.

"They've got over 75 thousand police volunteers, who actually go out and work," said Cheek.

Volunteers work in patrol cars, traffic details, and provide their own uniforms and weapons.

"The thing I would just like to hammer home here is the sense of pride in your country in your community, your neighborhood and I thought that was tremendous over there," said Cheek.

They're also more receptive to the use of technology, cameras watch much of the West Bank.

"Their major crime stuff, robberies, pick pockets, stuff like that, they're doing tremendous stuff with their camera systems are able to make identifications quickly," said Cheek.

A demonstration, where horses are equipped with riot gear, is something Cheek plans to pass on to Albany police mounted units. There were more than 24 hundred terrorists events last year in Israel. While numbers in the US are drastically lower, Cheek says it's something more police departments need to be watching.

"We really need to be thankful for what we've got and the liberties we have and to make us really want to take care of the country we've got," said Cheek.

The chief checks the Jerusalem newspaper online daily to see how his fellow officers are handling situations and looks forward to sharing more information between nations.

Chief Cheek's trip was paid for through federal grants and private donations at no cost to the county, but the county will benefit. Cheek plans to share his experiences with community and church groups along with training other officers.

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