The Georgia Public Safety Training Center’s (GPSTC) Executive Director Tim Bearden and Interim Deputy Director of Training Keith Howard recently returned from a week-long trip to the Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, where they met with officials from that country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) Police Academy to share ideas and insight on developing police departments and law enforcement training academies.
Bearden and Howard traveled to Tbilisi as part of the Georgia‐to‐Georgia Exchange Program, an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program (INL).
“The Georgia‐to‐Georgia program began in 2009 as a cooperative agreement between GPSTC and MIA,” said Senior Police Advisor Michael Turner, who manages the program. “Over the last four years, INL has provided an average of 17 advanced law enforcement classes per year to MIA, which has resulted in an incredible exchange of knowledge between our two countries,” Turner continued.
“It was a great pleasure working with the Republic of Georgia public safety professionals to enhance their law enforcement training,” said Howard. “We traveled the country visiting with various police departments and interviewing officers about their specific training needs,” Howard explained. “They expressed their wishes to be open and transparent with the public as well as serving the citizens of their country to keep them safe.”
As part of the exchange, seven public safety officials from the Republic of Georgia returned to the state of Georgia to visit GPSTC and other local police departments to gain further insight regarding police training theory and policy in the United States.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be here among professionals, enhancing our global view of police officer training,” said Davit Tsinaridze, director of MIA’s Patrol Police Department. Tsinaridze went on to compliment the state of Georgia for their willingness to help the Republic of Georgia become a more professional public safety organization.
Republic of Georgia Police Academy Director Nukri Gelashvili explained that the training methods and techniques he observed at GPSTC will significantly enhance his existing academy curriculum. “I would like to set up more hands‐on exercises similar to those I’ve seen at GPSTC,” Gelashvili explained. “Our officers don’t currently practice driving skills at the academy, but it would be very beneficial for us to begin offering these programs.”
“I hope that this exchange is just the beginning of a long relationship between GPSTC and MIA,” said Bearden. “Sharing our knowledge and expertise will undoubtedly benefit both of our agencies and our respective law enforcement training programs as we endeavor to keep our citizens safe.”