Frank Taylor, site manager for the International Law Enforcement Academy in Roswell, discusses the ILEA campuses around the world on Tuesday. (Randal Seyler Photo)
The International Law Enforcement Academy is successful due not only to the world-class training the facility provides, but also due to the friendly residents of Roswell.
Frank Taylor, site manager of ILEA-Roswell and former New Mexico State Police chief, said the interaction between Academy delegates and the small- town America lifestyle of Roswell makes a great and favorable impression on law enforcement officials around the world.
“One of the reasons ILEA was placed here was to give our delegates a chance to experience the real small town America,” Taylor said. “If we were located in New York or Washington, I don’t think our delegates would get to experience what life is really like in the U.S.”
The ILEA program has six sites around the world — four regional academies, at Budapest, Hungary; Bangkok, Thailand; Gaborone, Botswana; and San Salvador, El Salvador; a regional training center for Latin America at Lima, Peru; and the center for advanced training at Roswell.
ILEA began classes in Roswell in the deBremond National Guard facility at the Roswell Industrial Air Center in September 2001, according to the website, nmt.edu.
The Roswell academy offers an advanced management course for mid- and upper-level law-enforcement personnel, focusing on the academic aspects of law enforcement rather than its practical aspects.
“We don’t teach you how to shoot a gun, or how to drive a car,” Taylor said. “We teach advanced law enforcement principles to prosecutors, judges, and other high-level officials.”
A new class from Haiti just arrived this week, and they are beginning their training, Taylor said. “We have class from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for four weeks. On weekends, we have social events scheduled.”
Attendees typically get to visit the Carlsbad Caverns, Albuquerque and, of course, the Roswell UFO Museum.
“No matter what country they are from, if you ask them what they know about Roswell, nine times out of 10 they’re going to say ‘UFO museum,’” Taylor said.
Classes typically include 35 to 50 participants selected from among graduates of regional ILEAs. To date, the Roswell academy has hosted 4,000 delegates from 85 countries, speaking 27 languages.
The academic portion of the training falls under the direction of Dr. Lili K. Johnson.
Johnson served as associate dean for public safety programs at Central Piedmont Community College and was responsible for instruction in initial and in-service training for public safety disciplines, as well as for Criminal Justice and Fire Protection associate degree programs.
Her law enforcement career includes 15 years with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation where she was a special agent and an instructor and trainer for SBI Academy, according to the website bluelawinternational.com.
She also has field experience in drug and general criminal investigations and uniformed police service. She has been certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education Training and Standards Commission as a general, physical and firearms instructor.
The current academic model ILEA uses has only been in place for 18 months, Johnson said.
“A big part of what we want to do is teach the delegates a new way to think about law enforcement,” she said. “We have been in a trend back toward community law enforcement in this country since 1985.”
Community law enforcement stresses communication between the officers and the public, and includes putting officers back on beats and out where they can relate to the public one-on-one.
“Think Andy and Barney,” Johnson said, referring to The Andy Griffith Show. “Andy always tried to find a way to work things out, while Barney was always trying to put people in jail.”
Once, community law enforcement was common in the U.S., but in the ’60s and ’70s, the trend moved toward putting officers in air conditioned cars and not having them act as part of the community. In the mid-80s, the trend changed, and more cities had beat officers, bicycle, horse and motorcycle officers, even in small to mid-size towns.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense,” Johnson said.
Taylor said often delegates come to ILEA with the idea that all American law enforcement does is high speed chases and shootouts.
“It’s what they’ve seen on TV, and they think that is what life is like in the U.S.”
Johnson described the reality of law enforcement as “hours of sheer boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.”
“Running and gunning is only a small part of what we do in law enforcement, and that is the truth. Most of us go into law enforcement because we love to serve people.”
“As the world becomes more globalized, we are seeing borders disappear,” Taylor said. “Crime is transnational, and what happens here also affects Budapest and Thailand.”
By bringing together law enforcement officials from around the world, the global law enforcement community becomes stronger and more interconnected.
The friendly, positive experiences the delegates have had in New Mexico make them not only more amenable to the U.S. as a country, it also makes them more open to what they learn at ILEA, and hopefully makes the delegates better law enforcement officers and better people as well, Taylor said.
“Roswell plays a key role in enhancing in making the world a safer place for us all.”
Dr. Lili Johnson, academic director of the International Law Enforcement Academy in Roswell, discusses the curriculum at ILEA on Tuesday during the Kiwanis Club meeting. (Randal Seyler Photo)