BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie has returned from his trip to Israel. Chief Dabadie was one of 20 participants from around the country chosen to attend a week-long national counter-terrorism seminar.
The Israel that many people know is one that is associated with violence, constant gunfire, and terrorism. Handling these dangerous situations requires the best trained police forces in the world.
That is why Chief Dabadie was selected to take part in the anti-terrorism seminar. The Anti-Defamtion League purposely selects top cops of cities that could be a target for terrorists, and Baton Rouge is on that list.
"With our chemical refinery, plants that are all along the river, [and] Exxon refinery that's right here in Baton Rouge, they felt that was something we need to be aware of because of the targets we have here," said Dabadie.
The top cop said they visited the Jerusalem Police Department and several border outposts near, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, but the Gaza Strip was not considered safe to visit. Chief Dabadie says the most important thing he learned is how often we here in the States take our freedom for granted.
"When you go into a mall over there in Israel," said Dabadie, "it's like going through [the] TSA at the airport. They go through metal detectors. They're subject to searches. There's one way in and one way out."
There are other things the top cop learned. For example, officers in Israel respond to riots in less lethal forms. Instead of real bullets and shooting at people, they use foam bullets, tear gas, shields, and even paintballs. Dabadie said he now plans to look at updating the Baton Rouge Police Department's riot gear. More importantly, he wants to teach his own officers things to look for and educate them on diversity so they don't misinterpret customs of other cultures as suspicious activity.
And while the chief said Israel was beautiful, he was reminded every day that he was in the Middle East.
"We heard several artillery rounds go off while we were there. It was kind of scary because you could actually hear them and feel the vibrations," Chief Dabadie said.
The trip was funded by the Anti-Defamation League.