An Elgin police sergeant spent a week training officers in South Korea, providing guidance on topics ranging from state-of-the-art equipment to surveillance.
Sgt. Jim Lullo, a 22-year veteran who supervises its gang crimes unit, returned to Elgin on Saturday after a week in South Korea, mostly in Asan, a town of 250,000 about two hours from the capital, Seoul.
He was part of a group of about 20 instructors from the U.S. and Kenya. Although he's conducted numerous training across the state, this was his first outside Illinois.
Lullo trained South Korean officers on surveillance, including the use of technical equipment such as trackers, recording devices and covert cameras. He also took part in a four-day course on foot surveillance in the streets of Asan.
"You're telling them things like, 'When you're watching someone and you're standing in the corner, you have to blend in,'" he said. "It does create a little bit more of a challenge, but it's a better learning tool to be in the field."
Lullo said he also saw considerable interest by the South Koreans in Elgin's resident officer program. In it, police officers live in city-owned homes in some of the distressed neighborhoods they police.
Instructors stayed at the Korean National Police University, and communicated with trainees -- members of South Korea's national, state and local police forces -- through translators.
The experience was made possible by the International Tactical Training Association and the Korean National Police Agency, Lullo said.
To prepare for his first time in Asia, Lullo did research on the Internet, and talked to friends who were stationed in South Korea. His experience working with Elgin's Lao community also helped, he said.
"There are some similarities. You go to the senior male, you always bow, there are no shoes in residences," he said.
As for similarities between policing in Elgin and South Korea, everyone must keep an eye on their budgets, he said. "We showed them how to work with less equipment, how to work better with less."
Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said in a news release that he was proud of Lullo and his commitment to law enforcement. "This is a testament to the high quality of officers we have here in Elgin."