He opens doors to Indian police for cross-training

Chief of Austin Police Art Acevedo is inspired by the concept of all women police stations in Tamil Nadu. In an apparent attempt to emulate the model, he will meet top police officials here on Monday to understand how the concept evolved. Mr. Acevedo arrived in Chennai on Sunday after attending a two-day conference on police chiefs held in New Delhi.

In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Acevedo said Austin was the second safest city in the United States after California and at least eight per cent of the city’s million people were Asians, mostly Indians. The deliberations at the conference gave a clear indication that though the police had different languages, religions, ethnicities and nationalities, their personality, sense of humour and challenges were almost the same.

“I consider our relationship with India as very critical as the Indians form a huge and important community in Austin. After discussing subjects of mutual interests like border security, crime against women, child abuse and cyber crimes, I have decided to open the doors to the Indian police to enable cross-training of officers,” he said.

Crimes, particularly cyber in nature, were mobile and had no boundaries. It was important for democracies and law-enforcement agencies to build relationship and work together to keep the people safe. “Children, women and the elderly are very important to us. The way you treat them says a lot about our society. So we as police lay great emphasis on protecting these vulnerable groups…we always tell our officers to be sensitive and respectful to them.”

Mr. Acevedo said the profile of the Austin police had changed to a data- and intelligence-driven force. “Indian police were frustrated that they hit roadblocks when they sought information from service providers (of social media)…we join in their frustration. It is very challenging at a time when the social media are used to radicalize the people in the U.S. We have a phenomenon where people use Twitter and Facebook to spread hate, lies and make threats. We also hit roadblocks and it is only getting worse.”

People victimising the U.S. citizens could target Indians next. The more the police of both the countries worked together, the more effective such crimes could be combated. With a large number of Indians living in the U.S. and many more migrating, it was essential that the police of both the countries shared information. “We are willing to share our resources. After all, we are two great democracies and the future will bring us together. Building economic and diplomatic relationship between India and the U.S. is very important,” he added.

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