November 24, 2014
Fresno's Police Chief Jerry Dyer Talks About his Israel Visit
By Jessica Peres
In Israel, the government publicly urged Palestinian leaders to break ties with the terrorist group Hamas, one day after a deadly synagogue attack in Jerusalem. Fresno's Police Chief Jerry Dyer wasn't far away from the violence.
Chief Dyer was in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as part of a law enforcement exchange program to get an inside look at the Israeli Police security systems and police tactics. He was several miles away during the terrorist attacks but he was with Israeli Police and spoke with them about the violence.
Dyer wasn't even supposed to be in Jerusalem the day two Palestinian cousins used a gun and butcher knives to attack four people praying at a synagogue and an Israeli police officer responding to the scene. He planned to leave the night before but his flight was delayed. He heard the sirens early that morning.
Dyer explained, "You knew something was going on and what we realized is there was a terrorist attack at the synagogue nearby probably 8 or 9 miles from the hotel."
The chief met up with Israeli officers later that day. They were still reeling from the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.
"It was very disheartening," said Dyer. "You could sense the feelings of frustration of what was occurring in their city."
Dyer returned to Fresno early Wednesday morning. He spent nine days in Israel as part of a law enforcement exchange program. Dyer visited the Western Wall, met with a survivor of a suicide bombing and observed security at the Gaza border. He also got an up close look at how officers in Israel face challenges by suicide bombers. During his visit he went to a prison and spoke with a terrorist serving a life sentence for murder.
The chief added, "I specifically asked him if he felt he was a criminal, if he felt he was a murderer and did he deserve to be in prison and he said he did not deserve to be in prison, he did not view himself as a criminal."
Dyer also checked out Israel police weapons, training and their video surveillance system. "In fact I picked up a few ideas on things we could do with our system that they currently do."
The chief says he was blown away by the resilience of Israelis and how they are constantly under attack by terrorist groups.