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Liberty native returns from counterterrorism training in Israel
Top law enforcement officials share best practices in strategies, tactics and technology
11 - Tel Aviv Police-LeCounte
Atlanta Department of Corrections Maj. Byron Rodney LeCounte, a native or Riceboro, recently completed intensive counterterrorism training in Israel. - photo by Provided

Atlanta Department of Corrections Maj. Byron “Rodney” LeCounte, a native of Riceboro, has returned from Israel after an intensive two weeks of public safety and counterterrorism training with the country’s top policing executives. 

LeCounte was among a 20-member delegation of senior law enforcement officials from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee who participated in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange’s (GILEE) 25th annual peer-to-peer training program in partnership with Israel.

While there, they studied the latest advances in counterterrorism, emergency management and other public safety and homeland security challenges and strategies.

“In GILEE’s 25 years, our partnership with the world’s top experts in counterterrorism has returned more than 700 public safety officials home with the knowledge and skills they need to keep our communities safer,” said Robbie Friedmann, GILEE’s founding director.

The need has never been greater. From January to May of this year, there have been more than 500 terrorist attacks around the world with more than 3,500 fatalities, according to a crowdsourcing map published by GIS software company Esri.

“It takes a multitude of ideas and partnerships to accomplish the essence of our purpose in law enforcement,” said Deputy Chief Gina Hawkins of the Clayton County Police Department, a former GILEE delegate. “The ability for us as leaders in law enforcement to exchange and collaborate on our ideas for public safety has proven to be successful with the GILEE program.

 “Our issues are not just localized to our small communities of influence. Our issues are worldwide, and the possibilities of our solutions have been discussed, shared and improved through the peer-to-peer training and relationships built within this program.”

Founded in 1992, GILEE works continuously to improve public safety by enhancing inter-agency cooperation and educational training among the world’s top law enforcement communities, with Israel a key partner in this exchange.

To date, it has offered more than 200 special briefings to more than 29,000 law enforcement officers, corporate security personnel and community leaders. The program has carried out more than 430 programs and produced 1,500 graduates.

GILEE is a research unit within Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, which U.S. News & World Report ranks among the nation’s top 25 public affairs graduate schools. GILEE operates in more than 25 countries and more than half of the U.S.

“Our GILEE delegates have returned with new ways of developing, collaborating on and using police and intelligence strategies to minimize the production of crime,” said Friedmann. “And after 25 years, many of these graduates now serve in key leadership roles in Georgia and beyond.”

Learn more about the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange at

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