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SRPMIC Department of Corrections Staff Members Visit Brazil to Train Local Officers

(L-R) Officer L. Trevino (El Paso, Texas, Sheriff's Office), officer Sean Markle, Cpl. Jose De Lao, officer Jacob Coombs, officer J. Leos (El Paso) and Cpl. M. Moreno (El Paso). Photos courtesy of Jose De Lao.

You know you have skill when detention officers in Texas recruit you to visit South America to help train Brazilians.

This was the case in May for three staff members of the Salt River Department of Corrections (DOC).

The El Paso County, Texas Sheriff’s Office asked Cpl. Jose De Lao and officers Jacob Coombs and Sean Markle to join three of their detention officers on a trip to southern Brazil to host a weeklong corrections training workshop.

The six officers visited Curitiba, a city of about 1.8 million in the state of Paraná, not far from the Atlantic coast. There they trained 52 detention officers from Brazil, Argentina and Chile. De Lao said the detention officers often double up as police officers in Brazil.

Salt River Department of Corrections Cpl. Jose De Lao (center) and others train in Curitiba, Brazil.
“The response we received was amazing, and they want to put it on every year, if not twice a year,” De Lao said.

A couple years ago, De Lao traveled to El Paso for a free corrections training opportunity when officers there realized De Lao and his team could help one another in future trainings. “They loved the way we interacted with them and meshed with them,” he said.

A second visit to Brazil could potentially happen next year, De Lao added.

In Salt River, DOC employees receive a minimum of 40 hours of training each year, said Lt. Stacie Mitchell.

“We work really hard to develop a training program that keeps officers fresh and current on latest trends and new things that are happening, to keep their skills sharp,” she said.

Three Salt River Department of Correction employees traveled to Brazil in May to help train local corrections officers. Here is one of the training sessions.
Salt River opened up its detention officer training, free of charge, to other tribal communities in Arizona and the Southwest. Between 20 and 25 officers have accepted that offer so far.

“Training dollars are not always there, so it’s kind of tough, and some of the smaller [tribal] communities don’t have resources that we are fortunate to have here at Salt River,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t hurt us to put three or four more chairs in our training and train [officers from] some of our sister communities and corrections departments.”

For more information on Salt River DOC, visit