Sheriffs learn to combat terrorism - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sheriffs learn to combat terrorism

May 31, 2007

Cairo  -- As the world has come to see in recent years, an act of terrorism can happen anywhere at any time.   Two south Georgia sheriffs believe that even more strongly now after returning from Israel.  

The two men were selected as part of an elite group of 16 law enforcers to be part of a two week course in counter-terrorism training.

Grady County Sheriff Harry Young says his two weeks in Israel opened his eyes to what people there live through every day.  "I feel like we're a lot safer in this country than they are there," says Young.

But, he says he's come to realize his and other south Georgia counties are at risk for terror attacks.  "We have small airports, we're close right there at the Florida border," explains Young.

Sheriff Wiley Griffin from neighboring Decatur County was also on the trip, he agrees with Young.  "Our population is expanding and we have a lot of immigrants coming into this country, different people. People of different religions, different nationalities, all sorts of people coming into this country," says Griffin.

He says the biggest thing he was made aware of during training is the need for the U.S. to secure its borders.  "We need to know who's here, and who's here illegally. And after making this trip to Israel. . . It's more important," says Griffin.

Being prepared, and able to quickly react are some other key things the Sheriff's realized the importance of.   "We went through their SWAT training, and their K-9 training with drugs and explosives," says Griffin. 

"That's something we need in this county that I realized from being trained with them, that you need someone to respond very quickly. The quicker you respond to a situation, the better off you are," says Young.

He adds that a SWAT team is vital to responding quickly in an emergency but his office doesn't have the funding for enough deputies.  He's says more manpower is a priority for this year's budget.

Others that participated in the program were the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, other Sheriffs, Police Chiefs and GBI.  As part of the program, some Israel police came to Georgia to learn about American policing.

 

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