In early August, the U.S. Department of State sent a group of eight law enforcement officers from across South America to Pensacola as part of an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project highlighting community policing efforts.
The group originated from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. Pensacola was their final stop on a trip including Washington, D.C., Tucson, Milwaukee, and Chicago.
The visitors’ first meeting was at Pensacola City Hall where Councilman Charles Bare welcomed them and gave an overview of city history, local government structure, and economics. He also highlighted community policing efforts and challenges of crime and poverty in the area.
Next, it was off to Escambia Boys Base, a residential halfway house program for juvenile male offenders located on base at Corry Station. There, the visitors met with Superintendent Oliver Jones, other staff, and several residents to highlight the AMIKids program in place at Escambia Boys Base and how the young men focus on personal growth and community service in order eventually to re-enter their communities as productive citizens.
After lunch downtown, it was off to Habitat for Humanity where Director of Volunteer Services Melanie Jacobi gave a tour and talked about how the organization relies on help from juvenile offenders, including the young men from Escambia Boys Base, and court-ordered volunteers to successfully implement their building projects. This was a great example of a win-win partnership that also benefits the community.
The group’s short stay in Pensacola wrapped up the next day with a final program overview and evaluation when policing expert Dr. Richard Hough joined the visitors to review the information they encountered on their national program and to highlight innovative community policing techniques being used in the United States.
With that session completed, the visitors had an unstructured afternoon to enjoy the spectacular exhibits of the National Naval Aviation Museum before departing the country next morning.
We extend a special thank you to all who made the visitors’ time in Pensacola rewarding.