LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - Law enforcement officials said growing concerns over Mexican drug cartels have them sharpening their skills when it comes to spotting possible drug traffickers. The George County Sheriff's Department hosted a three day training seminar called the Drug Interdiction Assistance Program.
Whether it's a gunman during a hostage situation or a riot that's out of control, law enforcement officers had the opportunity to try out the high tech devices used to diffuse a dangerous situation peacefully.
"It also gives them another option besides lethal force," said Captain Ben Brown, with the George County Sheriff's Department. "All of these tools are non lethal force tools. That way, if you have someone who is not being compliant you can use the bean bag or the rubber balls being deployed through a launch or a shot gun versus having to use a Taser or us having to use lethal force."
During the DIAP training officers are also getting tips on how to intercept drug traffickers traveling on our road ways by learning to spot the red flags.
"Drug smuggling is really on the upswing with the Mexican cartels. They're utilizing major traffic corridors," Brown said.
Matthew Herrin, of the Lucedale Police Department, attended the training.
"We're learning what to look for when we pull an 18-wheeler over. Indicators that a driver might be involved with criminal activity such as drug trafficking," Herrin said.
In total, 55 officers are taking part in the training. Most were from Mississippi and Alabama, but there are also officers from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police.
"We're different communities and we're dealing with different people, but at the long run policing is policing and to a certain degree we all do the same things, and our goal is the same as well," said Chuck Brind'amour, of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police.
"Criminals spend every day learning or trying new things to try to get over on us," said Herrin. "We try to stay ahead of the game or close to it. It's good training for us to see the latest things that they're trying to do."
The training was provided at no charge to the local law enforcement agencies.