International Law Enforcement Academy delegates from El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama are greeted by the Red Coats upon arrival to the Roswell Holiday Inn for a welcome reception, Wednesday evening. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Roswell’s International Law Enforcement Academy ushered in its 4,000th student at a special reception Wednesday night.
Senior criminal justice pr ofessionals from El Salvador, Panama and Guatemala attending the academy’s 15th session were welcomed by several community members, city officials and local law enforcement at Holiday Inn, 3620 N. Main St.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, delivered a recorded video message to the students, or delegates.
“I’m very proud of the work you’re doing at ILEA, and this year, I join in celebrating an exciting milestone,” Udall said. “As a border sate, New Mexico shares many of the same challenges ILEA delegates face … By coming together, we can make the world a safer place.”
Mayor Del Jurney also welcomed the group of attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and inspectors.
“We consider ourselves to be very fortunate to be able to have people from around the world come to Roswell, not just to learn about law enforcement and how we can work together globally, but to see just a little bit of small-town America,” Jurney said.
Jurney also offered ILEA representatives a gift to honor the occasion.
The Roswell ILEA, which first opened in 2001, is one of five in the world. The others operate in Hungary, Thailand, Botswana and El Salvador. Along with training, the institutions also foster relationships among international law enforcement agencies.
ILEA-Roswell changed direction last year and began providing graduate-level courses that specialized in international crime, management courses in criminal justice, legal and regulatory workshop facilitation and criminal policy program development.
The academy’s academic dean, Lili Johnson, has worked with the delegates for the past 12 days.
“We have discovered we have more similarities than differences,” Johnson said. “We’re all dedicated to one proposition, and that is the cause of justice. We’re making the network of justice between our four countries stronger.”
Speakers for the countries offered appreciation and background about their delegates.
“We are known as the country of eternal spring,” said Edwin Leonel Mendez Ordonez, of Guatemala. “We thank the City of Roswell, the State of New Mexico and America for having honored us to be able to belong to the great family of ILEA and to be a part of the class of delegate 4,000.”
Ordonez said the knowledge received would be used to combat national and transnational crimes.
Aldo Edmundo Macre Quijada, the senior ranking commissioner of the police of Panama, said the City of Roswell seemed very nice, with wide streets.
“Since we’ve gotten here, we haven’t been able to get out of Walmart, Walgreens and Marshalls,” Quijada joked. “We appreciate the hospitality we’ve been given.”
The academy expects to graduate 10 sessions per year, with 35 students attending each. Attendance is coveted at the Roswell program. Those who do graduate can now stay in touch with new systems and share information.