Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust program (LEAS)

The Florida Holocaust Museum, in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, provides the Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust program (LEAS) to police agencies in Florida. Tampa Police Department was the first law enforcement agency in Florida to adopt this highly acclaimed course as part of its curriculum in 2014. Since 2014, we have trained all officers from Tampa Police Department and St. Petersburg Police Department. We have also trained command staff from Miami PD and representatives from Clearwater PD, Tallahassee PD, Gainesville PD, Largo PD, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, TIA (Tampa Airport), Gulfport PD, Dade City PD, Temple Terrace PD, Bradenton PD, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Pasco Sheriff’s Office, DHS, state attorneys, and the FBI.

The goal of the program is to investigate the role German police played during the Holocaust and examine the role of law enforcement in a democracy today. The program was established by the USHMM and ADL in 1999 in Washington D.C., and is suitable for recruit, in-service, and command professionals in law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels. This unique ethics program has reached over 200,000 officers from the United States and 94 countries worldwide.

LEAS Officers in front of Boxcar

Each LEAS program includes:

  • A tour of The FHM’s core exhibition with specially trained docents or a virtual tour of The FHM’s core exhibition (when the program is held outside of the Museum)
  • A discussion of the role of police in Nazi Germany and the occupied territories – led by The FHM’s Director of Education & Research
  • A discussion of the professional and personal responsibilities of law enforcement professionals in American society today – led by the ADL facilitators
  • To book a LEAS program for your agency, contact Ursula Szczepinska, Director of Education & Research at education@thefhm.org

Quotes from LEAS participants

“We as law enforcement have the obligation to protect all we serve.”

“I feel this visit today was a very moving and powerful experience. This training should be provided to all L.E. agencies around the country for our civic duty to each other and the citizens we serve. We live in a changing society. All the police must prepare to protect the citizens we serve professionally, respectfully and caringly.”

“Excellent presentation. Very glad to have been provided the opportunity to experience this Museum.”

“We have a choice not to repeat history.”

“Eye opener!”

“I strongly feel that all members of law enforcement should receive this training. It would benefit officers that are in any spectrum of their career.”

“I feel very honored to have attended this training and have gotten more insight on the struggles the Jewish people and others against the evil Nazi Party felt during the terrible era. Excellent presentation and training.”

“Exceptional course.”

“Excellent presentation and a very strong knowledge of the topic.”

“This is about humanity, it’s about knowing what can happen if we turn a blind eye to bad behavior. As law enforcement officers, we are faced with dilemmas often where tough decisions are made on a daily basis. Strong ethics training programs are important and necessary to ensure awareness and promote sound decisions.”

“One of the most important messages from the program was that we must learn from historical events. We need to be aware that as police officers we play a vital role in the community. Police officers take an oath to protect and serve, not only to protect property but most important to protect people’s civil liberties and to serve with dignity and respect for all individuals.”

Clearwater and St. Petersburg PD Responses

After attending LEAS at our Museum, Major David Dalton from Clearwater Police Department volunteered to recruit participants from the Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association. Thanks to his efforts, we hosted representatives from several local agencies. Major Dalton recently received the Anti-Defamation League’s law enforcement award for “his commitment to ensuring that law enforcement personnel adhere to the highest standards of policing while treating all citizens fairly and with respect.”

In this video, Major Dalton explains the importance of LEAS.

 

Hear from LEAS participants representing St. Petersburg Police Department: Sgt. Deary and Ofc. Regan

LEAS in the Media

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Images courtesy of Tampa Bay Times

Miami PD Chief Jorge Colina with LEAS facilitators Ursula Szczepinska from The FHM and Yael Hershfield from the ADL, as well as Elizabeth Gelman - The FHM’s Executive Director and ADL staff members. Photo credit: Commander Freddie Cruz