LESSONS IN COUNTERTERRORISM: MD. POLICE LOOK TO ISRAELI EXPERTS FOR TRAINING IN SECURITY TECHNIQUES
On a steamy Mediterranean morning this week, Baltimore County Police Capt. Roman Zaryk stood on the spot where a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Dolphinarium disco in 2001, killing 21 Friday night partygoers, many of them teenagers.
Suicide bombers, of course, are not a threat Zaryk encounters in his work as head of the criminal intelligence section in Baltimore County. But in the six years since the Sept. 11 attacks, police departments large and small have awakened to the once unthinkable possibility of attacks in their communities.
"If you don't prepare before, you can't prepare once something does occur," says Zaryk, whose section investigates gangs, drug dealing and organized crime.
This week, Zaryk and a dozen other law enforcement officers representing police departments from Maryland to California are here to learn from their Israeli counterparts about methods and techniques for preventing bombings, securing airports and border crossings and performing mass rescue operations. The trip is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, a U.S.-based, pro-Israel, Jewish advocacy group that has trained hundreds of law enforcement officials about domestic and international terror. . .
Rosenfeld said that since 9/11, Israel has received dozens of delegations from the United States -- including the CIA and FBI as well as local police officers -- who are interested in learning more about methods to combat terrorism. The New York City Police Department has one officer based in Israel full time who participates in investigations of bombings and attacks so he can train members of his own department, Rosenfeld said. The deepening security relationship between Israel and the United States has some Muslim groups worried that American police officials may begin adopting profiling techniques of Israel.
"It's always a concern that people return with a very negative impression of Muslims and Arab culture, and is that going to be translated into police work in the United States?" asked Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington.
"We've always been concerned when these kinds of trips become exercises in political indoctrination in which everything Israel does is good and just and everything Palestinians do is perceived as evil and unjust," Hooper added.