Altoona police department takes part in police exchange program

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- A unique exchange program is bringing five German state police officers to the Chippewa Valley for the two weeks

The local effort to bring the officers to town was spearheaded by Altoona police officer Edward Bell, who is originally from Germany.

Altoona police officer Edward Bell moved to the United States from Germany in 2010 with a goal of working in law enforcement.

"I'm not looking back one minute,” says Bell. “It's a great job, and I have great coworkers that I trust.”

Having seen police work in both countries, Bell saw an opportunity to get the Altoona police department involved in the STAR International Police Exchange Program.

"It was designed to further an international level of friendship and an exchange of information of training just to see how police operate in different cultures and essentially combat the same problems we have everywhere.,“ says Bell.

And Sunday afternoon, after nearly a year of planning, Bell, along with the Altoona Police Department welcomed five officers from Germany.

"The connection between the officers is so important for us,” says Anna Maywald of the Federal State Police of Schleswig Holstein. “It's good to see how it works here in America and how it works in Germany, it's almost the same but different, you know?”

Officer Bell says the program is a great way to exchange useful information to better departments on both sides.

“I think that it's very important to have other perspectives and see how things could be done a different way,” says Bell. “I think both sides can really learn from that and adapt their law enforcement strategies."

During the next two weeks, German officers like Anna Maywald and Jens Edert will be joining on ride-alongs, training exercises, and experience what it's like to be an American police officer on and off duty.

"It's about the lifestyle, seeing how they match," says Maywald.

"I am excited to see the police work in Altoona and I'm glad to compare it with my own work in Germany,” says Edert.

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