Retired Special Agent Skip Stites, ILEA Instructor

Retired FBI Special Agent Skip Stites taught tactical classes at ILEA Budapest. At a July 17, 2015 ceremony in Budapest, Hungary, the International Law Enforcement Training Academy (ILEA) marked its 20th anniversary.

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Being a law enforcement officer, no matter what country you’re from, you know, we’re all, to use a worn-out phrase, we’re all brothers and sisters in that field. And that’s what we try to get across when we talked was when you’re dealing in this business there are bad people out there that want to hurt you, you know, that would cause you harm.

You have a brotherhood and a sisterhood that if something happens to you in Kazakhstan or it happens to you in South Africa or it happens to you in Japan or it happens here in the United States, it affects law enforcement in general across the world. You know, the bad guy wins, it’s not a good day for law enforcement.

So, we tried to bridge those things and say, you know, you may have political ideological differences, you may have religious differences, you may have social differences. But as a law enforcement officer you have to learn to work together because the only people that really benefit from the fact that you don’t work together are the bad guys.

So we drilled pretty hard on trying to get that message across that a) they were important, they were important to their country, they were important to their families, and mostly they needed to learn to cooperate and work with each other because that’s the only way we’re ever going to win.

I think the need to bring different countries together and see that they have more similarities than they do differences—that need will be here till the end of time. Because there’s so many things that I don’t think you realize the similarities until you actually sit down with somebody and talk with them or you do an exercise with them or you spend some time with them.

I think the FBI recognizes that this stuff is important, that this training is important for the countries from the standpoint that it does allow them to have an interaction with each other and see the Clint Eastwood good, bad and the uglies of what we do or what they do and why or how we can work together.

We were back for I think it was the fifth anniversary and there was a group that came in and they said they wanted to make a presentation and they said, this officer stood up and said, you know I’ve gone through the training down here and I’ve gone through the tactical course.

And they were getting ready to make an arrest and the guys were planning about how they were going to do it and they’re going to rush in but he said, this is what I learned down there. And he tried to talk them into not doing it. They went in and three or four officers were killed. He was wounded because he was trying to back them up. But he said he kept telling people when they were getting them out of there that he survived because of what he learned at ILEA. And I think that’s a pretty big badge to carry and say, you know what, we did some good here.

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