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Hattiesburg officer to train police in Africa

Hattiesburg Police Chief David Wynn will travel to Africa next month to help train law enforcement executives.

“I am excited and humbled for this opportunity,” Wynn said. “It’s a great experience not only personally but professionally to be selected to go to another country and participate in a program like this.”

Wynn will teach leadership and ethics to 13 law enforcement agencies at the International Law Enforcement Academies at Gaborone, Botswana. The trip will be from Sept. 11-22. The International Law Enforcement Academies will pick up the tab for travel expenses.

Wynn said he doesn’t know why he was selected, but suspects it might be because of his involvement with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. He is a regional vice president in the group.

Jerry Granderson, a supervisory special agent with the FBI who helps coordinate the international program, said Wynn was suggested by the director of the center in Gaborone.

Granderson said the ILEA, which also has locations in Hungary and Thailand, helped the FBI build the network it needs to combat terrorism and transnational crime.

“From a domestic and international perspective, this enhances our ability to liaison with officers both here and abroad who work on the front lines,” Granderson said.

He said similar partnerships were responsible for identifying the terrorist network alleged to have been involved with this week’s airline-liquid explosive terrorist threat.

Granderson also said one of the graduates of the ILEA-Gaborone program was directly involved in an arrest of an al-Qaida operative believed to be involved in the July 2005 London subway bombing.

“One of the suspects fled to Zambia, and one of the guys we trained was able to help locate and apprehend him,” Granderson said. “The benefits to the bureau and the U.S. are immense in our effort to fight the war on terror.”

Wynn said he sees the opportunity as a chance to bring valuable lessons about efforts to combat transnational crime back to Hattiesburg.

“What I can imagine coming from this is an opportunity to network and learn from law enforcement executives of different countries,” he said. “In my opinion, it will be a worthwhile end for the city.”