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Law enforcement gathers to train to better protect and defend

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -

Protecting and defending. Law enforcement's main purpose in the community is to keep citizens out of harms way. But it doesn't come easy, and practice makes perfect.

"It's like 'play like a champion.' Today, here at Notre Dame, it's work like a champion. You can't work like a champion unless we're investing in that training, and that's the greatest part about this conference," says Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Thomas Brandon. 

318 law enforcement officers, and federal agents, crowded the University of Notre Dame's campus Tuesday afternoon, all eager to learn new ways to keep communities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, safe. 

"What I've seen in my career, approaching 30 years, is that you have to keep educating and training," explains Brandon.

Brandon is based in Washington, D.C. He believes that these conferences are critical in cutting down on violence.

"This training is to help state and local officers, as well as agents, get the latest advancements and investigative techniques when dealing with firearms," he says. 

He's not the only one who knows how helpful these conferences are.

Clifford Johnson, the U.S. Attorney for Norther Indiana says, it's all about communication and working together.

"Crime knows no boundaries. It doesn't pay attention to the border between Mishawaka and South Bend," he explains. "The criminals are going freely across all of these boundaries, so law enforcement has to start cooperating and sharing information across borders."

Johnson says this is a time when they are seeing a rise of violence and gun related activity. 

"Guns are used as a vehicle of intimidation and infliction of bodily injury," he adds.

And he says, it needs to end now.

"One of the most important purposes of law enforcement is to create an environment where our communities can be safe and peaceful,"  Johnson says.

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