GLYNCO, Ga. — A class of Spanish students made history Friday at a federal training center in coastal Georgia by becoming the first Europeans to complete the International Taskforce Agent Training (ITAT) program, hosted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The 22 law enforcement officials are joining the fight against transnational criminal organizations after spending three weeks in classroom seminars and practical exercises as part of the ITAT program, which provides vetted foreign law enforcement officers with training very similar to that of the agency's special agents.
The students, including seven members of Spain's Cuerpo Nacional de Policía (National Police), seven members of Spain's Guardia Civil, six members of Spain's Departamento De Aduanas (Customs) and one Homeland Security Investigator and one Foreign Service National Investigator began their training on July 15.
"The ITAT program has already significantly strengthened law enforcement partnerships amongst countries in North and South America," said Vance Callender, HSI operations chief for Europe. "By adding our first European partner country, we are expanding the fight against transnational criminal organizations and building on our capabilities to protect our communities from criminal activity on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean."
"While this training program provided the Spanish students with an excellent opportunity to sharpen their skills and learn new techniques, the greater benefit is the network of law enforcement agencies their officers will now benefit from," said Alex Alonso, HSI attaché for Madrid. "Transnational criminals recognize no borders, and Spain is committed to working with other nations to root them out wherever they might be hiding."
HSI instructors delivered a tailored curriculum developed to strengthen the students' ability to conduct criminal investigations. Classes covered investigation and interview techniques, evidence processing and warrant execution. The graduates were also exposed to physical training, defensive tactics and weapons practice.
The graduates are now part of an international law enforcement community that facilitates information sharing and the bilateral investigation of transnational criminal organizations involved in a variety of crimes, including weapons and narcotic trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, money laundering, cybercrimes and more.
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco serves as the largest law enforcement training organization in the United States, training a majority of the federal officers and agents in the country. In addition to providing training for more than 90 federal partner organizations, FLETC also provides training to local, state, tribal and international police in select advanced programs. Approximately 70,000 students graduate from FLETC each year.
The International Taskforce Agent Training class is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of State.