Last week, SACIV was happy to host a new group of Mexican police officers for their Police Professionalization and Exchange Program (PPEP). This program is administered by Global Ties U.S. rather than the through the State Department's International Visitors Office and is always an interesting change of pace from IVLP programs we handle.
The Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy opened their doors once more to the latest group of law enforcement officials to help train them and facilitate an exchange of ideas about best practices in modern policing. The experience was then introduced by Dr. Megan Augustyn, a professor at UTSA who has provided consistently informative presentations to visitors about the American criminal justice system. Her keynote address on policing and law enforcement in the United States provided a very useful foundation of knowledge to help our visitors understand the system in which the training they later observed would be applied.
Topics that they covered with their San Antonio counterparts included use of force, recruitment and vetting, crisis intervention, and de-escalation. They covered these fields with the Alamo Area Council of Governments, the San Antonio Police Department, and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
Our visitors also enjoyed the hands-on experiences they had access to in San Antonio. Not only were they exposed to the hands-on exercises of basic crime scene investigations, but they also experienced the VirTra 300 Simulator which is always a favorite part of PPEP schedules in town. The virtual reality simulator allows police officers to immerse themselves in a recreated crisis scenario where they can practice effectively handling the situation with caution and speed.
Overall, the program was a success, and the participants came away with a better understanding of best practices, challenges, accountability, leadership, organizational hierarchy, professionalization, and partnership-building through their exchange with South Texas law enforcement officials and experts.
*The Police Professionalization Exchange Program is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy Mexico City, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Section (CFDA Number 19.703), under a cooperative agreement with Global Ties U.S.