US IPA ACTIVE-OFFICER EXCHANGE PROGRAM
The US IPA's Active-Officer Exchange Program is new and growing! This is a wonderful benefit exclusively available to IPA members to host foreign police officers (usually officers in line for promotions) and then have the opportunity to go overseas themselves to learn about policing methods, new cultures, share ideas, experience, knowledge, and so much more.
Police Sergeants in many European countries, and elsewhere, desiring to be promoted to Lieutenant/Inspector at their Agency are given a college education by their agency for a year, or more, to train, learn better inter-personal relationships, communication, writing proficiency, leadership, and other skills before being required to pass a final promotional exam.
These officers (usually 6-9 year veterans) are sent off to college, retain their pay and certification, and close to the end of their training, are given the option to intern with police agencies in other countries to compare policing styles, leadership, methodology, training, etc. This is a huge benefit to them, a great learning experience for not only the foreign officer, but also their host agency, too. How often do US police officers get to pick the brain of a foreign-trained police officer, compare tactics, methodology, and experience first-hand?
The foreign officers do these exchanges/internships at their own expense (some receive minor assistance from their IPA section, some do not) and, understandably, most usually remain in Europe to save money and travel costs.
There are several adventurous souls who decide to tie this experience in with a visit to the United States of America, though, and there are other officers who simply desire to intern with American agencies to learn skills on their own, not as part of a promotion or additional schooling.
These exchanges/internships are basically a long-term ride-along experience for the officer. Each program is tailored to the needs of the officer coming over and abilities of the hosting agency. It is encouraged for hosting agencies to get with other departments (State Police, Sheriff, Federal Police, etc.) to showcase the variety of methods and ways policing is accomplished in the USA. The requirements for the officer coming over are listed at the bottom of the page and have been sent to all IPA Sections.
If possible, finding someone in the local IPA Region or Agency to home-host the officer is preferred to assist the foreign officer in navigating the area, saving some money, and to live the Servo per Amikeco motto; sometimes, though, that is not possible and the foreign officer may have to pay for a hotel room and rental car, too.
Our active-duty IPA members also have the opportunity to travel overseas and be hosted by the foreign officer’s agency for a short internship, too. The costs of that trip and the same items as listed below would apply to their travel, too.
Agencies do not have to be large and have all the bells and whistles with helicopters, marine park, etc. – the experience is valuable at all levels and involves street patrol, detectives, community services, ordnance, and all aspects of law enforcement.
These internships are also great public relations for the local agency and the media gets to present a positive police story for once!
Police Officers desiring to be a part of this program need to understand the following requirements:
- Active-duty officers with experience will take priority over new police-students in this program, which is designed to share information across the oceans and requires participants to interact and draw on their personal experiences and knowledge - thereby benefiting all!
- English Proficiency is required
- Membership as an active IPA member for over a year as supported by your Section/Region
- The foreign officers have to understand that they may wish to intern at the LAPD, Miami-Dade, or Las Vegas police departments – but that is NOT going to happen! (or US officers thinking that they will be going to London, Paris, Berlin, etc.)
- The officers must be willing to go where they can be hosted/placed and if they wish to vacation in one of the other areas later, after the internship, that is acceptable – but this is not a vacation and the larger agencies are not usually participating in this program
- There are over 17,000 different police agencies in the USA with 50% of those being 10-officer or fewer agencies – only a select few departments are currently participating in this IPA program
- The foreign officers will have to provide a minimum of 4-months notice to the Active-Officer Exchange Coordinator
- This will allow me to get the details of what they are looking to do, contact one of the willing host agencies, allow them to send the request through their chain-of-command for approval, craft a program, allow for the officer to purchase an airline ticket at lower rates, and attempt to find someone to home-host the officer
- The foreign officers / officers going overseas must be covered under their own health care program (whether a travel insurance program or regular government care)
- The foreign officers / officers going overseas must sign a liability waiver at the host-agency (standard ride-along form with extended dates usually suffices) and pass a local background check through NCIS and/or other means (Interpol)
- The foreign officers / officers going overseas will need to understand the true costs to this experience
- Airline ticket to and from the USA
- Possible Rental car (public transportation is not what it is in Europe – trains and buses are lacking in much of the US)
- Possible Hotel, if no home-hosting can be found (most US police academies do not have overnight accommodations as they do in Europe, so staying at a training academy is not an option)
- Personal travel after the internship
- Shopping, etc.
The bottom line is that everyone must be flexible, but this can and has been a great experience for many people!
If you have questions about the program, wish to participate as a hosting Agency, home-host person, or officer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org