Q & A with obert Allen

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August 9, 2004 // UPDATED 2:57 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Insp. Robert Allen, commander of Downtown's 1st Precinct, returned earlier this month from a 10-day trip to Israel to study ways to thwart terrorism.

Members of the Minneapolis Police Department's Bomb Squad and Jonathan Bundt, a Department consultant on counter-terrorism techniques, joined Allen. Bundt formerly served as a captain for the Israeli National Police's Border Patrol Division.

The 1st Precinct, which includes the Department's Emergency Response Unit, carries special responsibilities assessing threat levels for large events and conventions Downtown.

What did you do while you were there?

Well, the purpose of the trip was to look at a police force that has dealt more with terror than virtually everybody else -- what they do to prevent it from occurring and how they prepare to deal with it when it does occur.

We were in several different cities from Northern Israel along the Syrian and Lebanese borders to Tel Aviv ... Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, the border area along the West Bank.

What insights did you glean from the Israelis?

I learned police lessons and life lessons. The police lessons were it's not about having all the best equipment in the world, and it's not about preparing for every single scenario, it's about having general guidelines, communicating clearly with the public what expectations are and training, training, training. The life lesson is [that] people live with the threat of terror on a daily basis. They prepare for it, they try to prevent it and they do a good job of preventing it, and they still live their lives. They don't let it affect their lives, and that's very inspiring.