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January 24, 2016 1:05 pm

Massachusetts Law Enforcement Officials Visit Israel to Learn About Preventing, Combating Terrorism

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Israeli Border Police officers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Border Police officers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A group of law enforcement officials from Massachusetts left on Sunday for an organized 10-day trip to Israel to learn about fighting terrorism, the news site Masslive.com reported.

The trip, privately-funded by the Jewish human rights organization The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), will include sessions that address airport security, dealing with the media during a crisis and the securing of commercial sites, among other topics.

The Massachusetts delegation will travel to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, parts of northern Israel and Sderot, a community in southern Israel that has been bombarded with rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Delegation members will have the opportunity to tour some of Israel’s major religious sites and to meet with Israeli police and intelligence officials, as well as journalists, Masslive.com reported. They will also meet with Palestinian police officials in Bethlehem.

Robert Trestan, the ADL’s New England regional director, said the trip is an opportunity for law enforcement working in Massachusetts to have “some real hands-on experience” where fighting terrorism is concerned. He said that with the potential threat of terrorism throughout the state, “It’s really important to provide training and resources and knowledge to all levels of law enforcement.”

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“Police in different countries still have the same priorities, and that is to provide safety and security for the people in their jurisdictions,” Trestan said. “Israel is a country that deals with a terror threat every single day, but the police there are also responsible for traffic and basic law enforcement that people all over our community are responsible for.”

The 15 participants include Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins; State Police Colonel Richard McKeon; chiefs of police from Malden, Revere, Lynn and Burlington; police superintendents from Lowell and Boston; and federal agents from the immigration division of the US Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The ADL started organizing trips to Israel for law enforcement officials after the 9/11 attacks, according to Masslive.com. The first trip for Massachusetts officials took place in 2008.

Trestan acknowledged that “not all law enforcement techniques and strategies are transferable from one jurisdiction to another. The US has its own Constitution, it’s own set of laws. That’s the world in which American law enforcement operate, and they have to.”

Still, he said, he hopes participants will learn methods of terror prevention, in addition to strategies for how to respond to attacks in the event that they occur similarly in the US.

The last major terrorist attack to take place in Massachusetts was in April 2013, during the Boston Marathon. Last year, a Western Massachusetts man was accused of conspiring with the terrorist group ISIS to set off explosives at colleges, according to Masslive.com.

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