On September 18, U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Thomas Winkowski addressed the 20th Annual National Training Conference of the National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA) held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The conference started with the presentation of the colors and performing of the national anthem by members of U.S. Border Patrol Yuma Sector Honor Guard. CBP acting COO was introduced by Joseph Wicks, President of NNALEA.
In front of an audience of more than 500 attendees, comprised of tribal and non-tribal law enforcement professionals from all over the nation, Winkowski conveyed CBP's message of respect for Native Americans, NNALEA and the strategic partnerships with tribal nations.
"This partnership is of critical importance to CBP and the many sovereign nations along our borders. It is vital that we work together to reduce crime along our borders and to ensure a better quality of life for our communities," said Winkowski.
The acting COO described how out of 566 federal recognized tribes, 40 tribes have lands that are close to, adjacent to, or that cross over international boundaries with Mexico and Canada. "That puts tribes on the frontlines protecting America's borders," he added.
The event featured breakout sessions and panel discussions with local, state and federal experts in the following topics: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Law Enforcement Training, Community Policing Partnerships, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA) Executive Leadership Certification, and Environmental Protection and Natural Resources
In one of training sessions, Felix Chavez, Operations Division Chief, Office of Border Patrol, discussed how tribal law enforcement partners are an integral part of the Information, Integration and Rapid Response elements of the 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan.
Todd Owen, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles who oversees Las Vegas International Airport and Todd Hoffman port director Los Angeles International Airport were in attendance.
The NNALEA is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 in Washington, D.C. and incorporated under the state of Delaware. The mission of NNALEA is to promote and foster mutual cooperation between American Indian law enforcement officers, agents, personnel, their agencies, tribes, private industry and the public.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.