For a week in late February and early March, we welcomed 10 Mexican law enforcement officials to participate in training at A.A.C.O.G. Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy as part of the "Police Professionalization Exchange Program (PPEP)." The program which is sponsored by the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is designed to share best practices between US and Mexican police forces to help fight crime and strengthen bilateral security partnerships.
On Monday, our visitors began by touring the Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy and then engaging in a discussion and training program led by Assistant Chief Bobby Lane about recruitment and retention of public safety personnel. After keeping busy with that in the morning, the delegation heard an insightful keynote address from Dr. Megan Augstyn about the current landscape of "Policing and Law Enforcement in the United States."
Over the next few days, instructors and resources from across San Antonio contributed their expertise. These sessions included information on "Ethics Based Leadership in Policing," "Inclusive Leadership and Physiological Resilience," "Professional Development of Police Personnel," "Utilization of Body Worn Camera Systems," "Academy Administration and Peace Officer Recruitment," "Criminal Investigation Training," and "Interview and Interrogation Training." These sessions covered a wide range of topics and were able to give the visitors a chance to experience the expertise that San Antonio and the United States were able to provide on best practices in public safety while our visitors were able to share their own experiences and engage in a dialogue with the presenters.
Additionally, the police and public safety professionals from Mexico who participated in the program were able to experience first-hand the Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy's Reality Based Training (RBT) programs. The RBT programs cover a variety of simulated situations law enforcement may encounter in the real world. In a virtual reality simulator, the visitors encountered active shooters in office buildings or movie theaters. On a fully furnished set constructed by the Academy, the visitors handled a domestic violence situation in a two-bedroom apartment.
This week of training, conversations, and simulations allowed the visitors the chance to share best practices; develop through classroom and experiential learning; reinforce leadership and accountability mechanisms; learn new ways to effectively combat transnational crime, gangs, and corruption; and strengthen partnerships across the border.