New Training Thrust Looks at Anti-Terror; Federal Facility near Brunswick to Emphasize Intelligence Analysis Also

By Stepzinski, Teresa | The Florida Times Union, October 27, 2004 | Go to article overview

New Training Thrust Looks at Anti-Terror; Federal Facility near Brunswick to Emphasize Intelligence Analysis Also


Stepzinski, Teresa, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, The Times-Union

BRUNSWICK -- Counterterrorism and intelligence analysis training to neutralize domestic as well as international threats will be the focus of new programs at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center north of Brunswick.

The training for federal, state and local law enforcement officers will incorporate lessons learned by authorities from recent terrorist attacks both at home and abroad.

The programs will focus on realistic training using a donated cargo transport airplane, as well as detailed reproductions of other potential terrorist targets such as a school, playground, bank, train or bus station and railroad cars.

Director Connie Patrick and her executive staff outlined those programs plus other developments regarding the center during a presentation Tuesday for about 80 Southeast Georgia elected officials, community leaders and business executives.

The group also toured the center and watched students undergo an escalating series of "use of force" exercises intended to teach them the proper and safest way to apprehend an armed suspect.

Patrick said the center's mission has evolved to providing training for law enforcement agents in the war against terrorism, largely in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

"We're here to keep people alive," Patrick said. "We're going to be doing a lot of counterterrorism and advanced training that we've never done before. We're going to be training everyone from the first officer on the scene up the line to an intelligence analysis agent."

Patrick also said FLETC will be expanding its use of sophisticated computer-assisted simulator technology to provide basic and advanced training to federal, state and local law enforcement agents from across the county.

"Our mission hasn't changed. However, we are more sensitive to how we train, and the need for more innovative and imaginative ways of training in addition to the traditional methods," Patrick said.

Brunswick Mayor Brad Brown said after the presentation that residents shouldn't worry about having counterterrorism training at FLETC.

"I don't think that will make our area a target. Just the opposite, I think it will make it safer," Brown said. "Having [students and instructors] in the community overall will make it safer because they are more likely to pick up on and notice something suspicious than you or I might be. That's the whole point of counterterrorism."

Patrick said many of the agents and officers trained at FLETC work for agencies under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. About 220 students from 15 agencies that train at the center have been assigned to posts in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to FLETC officials.

One of them, an assistant regional security officer, Ed Seitz, with the U. …

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