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By Mike Bush

ROSWELL, N.M., Oct. 20, 2008 — Classes began Monday, Oct. 20, for the 72nd session at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Roswell.

The class includes 40 delegates from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, all countries that have been represented in previous classes. Malaysian delegates have been in five previous sessions and delegates from the other three countries have been in four sessions each.

Since classes began in 2001, ILEA-Roswell has hosted 2,800 delegates from 85 countries, speaking 27 languages.

New Mexico Tech operates ILEA-Roswell under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. State Department. New Mexico Tech carries out ILEA operations through a consortium that includes Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, Sam Houston State University and Science Applications International Corp.

Dr. Van Romero, vice president for research and economic development at New Mexico Tech, oversees the program.

The ILEA program is set up to foster international cooperation and develop networks among law enforcement agencies in countries around the world to deal with transnational crime problems, including drug trafficking and terrorism.

The program’s mission is to support emerging democracies, help protect U.S. interests through international cooperation and promote social, political and economic stability by combating international terrorism, drug trafficking and other transnational crime.

The Roswell academy is the advanced training center for the ILEA program, which has four regional academies — at Budapest, Hungary; Bangkok, Thailand; Gaborone, Botswana; and San Salvador, El Salvador — and a regional training center for Latin America at Lima, Peru.

ILEA-Roswell was established in 2001, with classes meeting at the deBremond National Guard facility at the Roswell International Air Center. A building was constructed for ILEA at the Roswell Industrial Park in 2005 and opened in 2006.

ILEA-Roswell provides the delegates, many of whom are mid-level and senior law-enforcement officials in their countries, with advanced classroom training. The academy also gives these officials the opportunity to interact with typical Americans, away from the centers of political and economic power of Washington and major metropolitan areas. What they find — as many delegates have remarked — are friendly, helpful people not all that different from the people of their own countries.

ILEA delegates come from a variety of law-enforcement agencies in their respective countries. Delegates in the 72nd class include deputy superintendents of police, department superintendents, immigration officers, investigators, prosecutors and a judge.

For more information on the ILEA program in Roswell, go to the Web site www.state.gov/p/inl/ilea/ and click on ILEA Roswell in the left column.

– NMT –