From June 3rd through June 9th, San Antonio hosted another delegation of police officers and law enforcement officials from Mexico as part of their Police Professionalization and Exchange Program. They learned so much from the Alamo Area Coalition of Governments and their Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy about best practices in law enforcement and the differences in the criminal justice systems between Mexico and the United States.
Before all of that training was to begin, they listened to a keynote address by Dr. Megan Augustyn from UTSA. She was able to outline the major components of the US criminal justice system and the operational practices of law enforcement in the United States.
Once their training began in earnest at AARLEA, they were able to experience a variety of break-out sessions on topics like ethical leadership, use of force, de-escalation, patrol procedures, and advanced crime scene processing. They were even able to take advantage of the virtual reality simulators that have been installed by AACOG to enhance the training of police officers.
Upon concluding their program, the members of Mexican law enforcement shared what they found helpful, what they had learned, and what they intended to take back with them. "I’m surprised by how such small things are done in such a heartfelt way," said Alvaro Chávez Flores.
"Our most important tool is knowledge: knowledge that we have acquired in Mexico and knowledge that we have acquired in our work with you," Miguel Angel Vera Alcántara added.
"It’s been very, very good. It has introduced us to both personal and professional changes to implement when we get home," said Luis Edgar Rosales Rodríguez.
These comments and the intensive training they received over the course of a week make clear the impact these sorts of exchanges have in professionalizing police work and sharing best practices across borders. However, these exchanges also provide a valuable opportunity to spread good will and create friendships. This was brought home by the words of Ramón García: "
Thank you very much for the hospitality I have received in the United States and particularly in Texas."