MELOA to Provide Active Shooter Training to Non-Profits, Schools in the Detroit Metropolitan Area

March 2, 2018

Detroit, MI: The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA) a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognized employee association, recently announced that it will be offering a training program for schools and non-profit organizations, covering Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) and the Avoid, Deny, Defend (ADD) strategy.

The course, developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University; provides participants with guidance on how to act before, during, and after they find themselves in an active shooter event.  The training is provided by certified instructors, free-of-charge to non-profit organizations and schools. In 2003, ALERRT was named the National Standard in Active Shooter Response Training by the FBI.

Research has shown that many of the mass shootings, or active shooter events, are over before law enforcement responders arrive on scene. The average response time for police response to an active shooter event is three minutes. Without effective, preplanned response options for civilians at the scene of the attack, many victims can be seriously injured or killed during these three minutes.  Civilians who find themselves in an active shooter event must be prepared to take immediate action to save their own lives before law enforcement arrives. Jeffrey Canvasser, a MELOA executive board member has been a CRASE instructor since 2015, and a less lethal instructor since 2016. “Students, teachers, and the general public need to have the tools necessary to endure such a horrific event whether it is in a school, mall, movie theater, or restaurant.”
The CRASE course is a 1-2-hour direct delivery course designed to provide non-law enforcement personnel with a model response program they can rely on. The course, built on the ADD strategy helps participants identify response options in an active shooter or other life-threatening incident before, during, and after the event.
"It's unfortunate that in these times such training is necessary, but we [MELOA] wanted to give our communities a fighting chance to survive until qualified law enforcement professionals arrive." said, MELOA President Leann Lugashi.  Organizational or school administrators interested in learning more about the course should email,

MELOA's goal is to create positive interactions between law enforcement and the Middle Eastern community through outreach and mentorships, as well as providing assistance to local law enforcement agencies with language, cultural, and training support.  MELOA also focuses efforts on charitable and humanitarian activities within and outside of our communities.  MELOA remains committed to building trust through community engagement.

MELOA Members Elect President


The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA) recently held elections to select a president to lead the organization. We are happy to announce Ms. Leann Lugashi was elected by our members to continue to lead the MELOA.   We are also happy to announce that Ms. Amy Jishi will assume the Vice President position on the executive board.

New Treasurer and Board Members Fill Vacant Seats
On December 21, 2017 MELOA held its holiday party and General Membership meeting.  During the meeting, we added three new members to our board. Since the nominees for Board Member at-large and Treasurer ran unopposed, a vote was not necessary.

Please join MELOA in welcoming to our board:

Mr. Jeff Canvasser
Mr. Tarek Silmi
Board member at-large
Mr. Hilal Karaali
Board member at-large

We look forward to their leadership in moving MELOA forward.

Open Call for Board Elections


The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association will be holding an election of the board of directors.   All positions, including President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and ten (10) at-large board positions are open for election.  The Election will be held on Thursday, December 21, 2017. 

Board Nomination/Election Eligibility: 
In order to be eligible to run for a board position, a member in good standing must submit an email to no later than Friday, December 17 at 11:59 PM (EST) for the positon he/she in interested in running for (At-Large board member, President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer). 

Members in good standing must be employees, or retirees of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security without regard to race, gender, color, creed, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, marital status, political affiliation, disability status, or membership in a labor organization. 

In your email, please provide your full name, home and (If currently employed by the Department of Homeland Security) email address, agency affiliation, and a telephone number where you can be reached along with the position you are seeking election for. 

The election will be held on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 7:00 PM during the general membership meeting of the Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association. 

The meeting will be held at the Blue Moon Lounge located at 6125 N Telegraph Rd., Dearborn Heights, MI 48127.

Membership in good standing will be verified, along with DHS affiliation. Nominee need not be present to run, members can be nominated by another member in good standing.

Acting Deputy Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Confirmed Speaker at MELOA 2017


Dearborn, MI; Acting Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ronald D. Vitiello will be speaking at the Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA) training conference that will be held on August 23-24 at the University of Michigan- Dearborn. 

This is MELOA's second annual conference which draws together law enforcement officers from across the nation and community members to discuss issues of community-police relations, resiliency, youth and other issues. 

"We're excited that Acting Deputy Commissioner Vitiello has agreed to join us this year, it truly shows the commitment and support we get from CBP." Said MELOA interim president Leann Lugashi, "Last year, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson headlined the conference, and we expect to have an excellent showing of DHS officials this year as well" Lugashi continued. 

Early registrants for the conference can take advantage MELOA's of early bird rates through June 30th. More information on the conference can be found at



President's Message



I would like to take a moment and introduce myself as your new Acting President of the Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA). My name is Leann Lugashi and I have been proudly serving our country as a United States Border Patrol agent for nearly 7 years. I am a first generation born to middle eastern parents, and experienced the majority of my childhood living in the middle east. I have experienced firsthand the struggles and misunderstandings the Middle Eastern community face

As one of the founding board members I have been so very passionate about this organization, and the reason I have been so passionate about it was because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make a difference in the Middle Eastern community and I wanted to make a difference in the law enforcement community. As a member of both communities, I was aware of the struggles and lack of knowledge both of them were facing. My goal with this organization was to tighten up the relationship and understanding between those communities, and MELOA was created to do just that. Now we are here, nearly 3 years after its making, and I couldn’t be more proud. I am proud of the Executive Board members, the board members, the members, and the community for making this all happen and being a part of something that has touched my heart and has been so important to me. 

Our previous and founding President, Steve Francis, has done an outstanding job in promoting and introducing to the DHS family along with our communities the beautiful organization we are all so proud of. I hope that serving my time as your Acting President I will portray the same dedication and pride as our previous President did. I thank you all for your hard work and dedication for this outstanding organization and I look forward to meeting you all at our Second Annual Conference this year.
Thank you,

Leann Lugashi

A message from MELOA President Steve Francis


Dear Members,

The past couple of years serving as the president of the Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA) have been a remarkable, and humbling experience. I have had the opportunity to interact with many great law enforcement professionals from across this great nation, and work with their respective agencies to help promote MELOA’s mission and vision with pride. However, there comes a time when transition is necessary to ensure the continued success of a great organization.

I recently informed the board of directors of my tentative selection as the Special Agent In-Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Detroit Field Office. In this new role, I will be responsible for the day to day operations of HSI in Michigan and Ohio. While I am looking forward to this excellent opportunity, it is bittersweet to be moving on from an organization that I have been privileged and honored to represent.

I have appointed United States Border Patrol Agent Leann Lugashi as the interim president of MELOA, which will be followed by elections in July, the two year anniversary of MELOA’s establishment as an organization. The MELOA board and I are confident in Leann's leadership abilities and know Leann will continue the forward momentum of the organization.

This has truly been an amazing experience, and I will continue to work with and support MELOA in any way that I can. I would like to thank everyone who has supported what was initially just an ambitious idea that later transformed into a great and influential organization in such a short time. I look forward to seeing all of you at MELOA’s Annual Training Conference in August.


Steve Francis

Arab and Arab American Cultural Awareness Law Enforcement Training


The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association invites you to join us on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 to attend our Arab and Arab American Cultural Awareness Training program at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI.  

Hear from the following subject matter experts: 

Jamal Aliah, Intelligence Matters, LLC
A retired 20 year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, who has served at five field assignments as a Chief of Base, a Deputy Chief of Station, and as a Senior Operations Officer leading or conducting intelligence activity in 20 countries over five continents. 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Will provide a Community Awareness Briefing (CAB) from the DHS.  The CAB is designed to help communities develop a holistic understanding of tactics, techniques, and inspired recruitment efforts by various violent extremist organizations potentially impacting individuals in their community.  Due to the increased number of Western-based fighters traveling to foreign war conflicts, the CAB now includes information relating to the foreign fighter recruitment narratives and the myths versus realities of the situation on the ground.  A law enforcement specific version of the CAB has been developed, giving the increasingly important role of first responders.  

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Diversity and Civil Rights
will provide training on ways to recognize and address implicit bias by law enforcement officers.

All fees for this training have been absorbed by MELOA in an effort to provide our law enforcement partners with this important educational opportunity.  Due to limited space availability, we are limiting the training to two representatives with decision making authority from your respective agency.  Please register by November 30, 2016 to secure your spot.

9:00 am – 9:15 am       Coffee / Refreshments
9:15 am – 9:30 am       MELOA Overview
9:45 am – 12:00 pm    Jamal Aliah - Cultural Awareness Training
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm    Lunch (Provided by MELOA)
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm      DHS CRCL/CAB Training
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm      ICE Implicit Bias Training
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm      Arab American National Museum tour
4:00 pm – 4:30 pm      Closing Remarks

Please note: This event is open to law enforcement only.


MELOA Teams up with LAHC to distribute 1,000 Turkeys to Families in Need



Dearborn, MI The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA) recently teamed up with Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities (LAHC), a non-profit human services organization committed to community development, to hand out 1,000 turkeys to community members in-need.  

“Partnering with community organizations is what MELOA is all about.” said MELOA president Steve Francis who participated in the turkey drive.   We care about our friends and neighbors who are less fortunate and we are always looking for ways to give back. This was the ideal opportunity to work with a great organization and help them with such a great endeavor.”  Francis added.

MELOA members representing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s; U.S. Border Patrol and Office of Field Operation were on site helping package and deliver thanksgiving meals.

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MELOA Members Show Some Love to Students at Riverside Academy East


Dearborn, MI; Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA) members representing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), along with the Dearborn Police Department recently had a chance to visit Riverside Academy East in Dearborn, MI to talk to third, fourth and fifth graders about the importance of good citizenship, along with having a little fun with the students.

Nearly 250 children rotated through various stations where they learned about internet safety, had a chance to see CBP K9 demonstrations, trained with CBP Less Than Lethal Force instructors and tested their officer skills with the Red Man and simulated oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray.

“This event was a great success.  Students and faculty really enjoyed interacting with our officers.” Said MELOA Vice President Fadia Odeh A Watch Commander with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Odeh stressed the importance of law enforcement presence in the community. “It’s important to engage the youth in the community to develop positive relationships that encourage them to feel like they’re contributors to society.”

The event was coordinated in partnership with Riverside Academy East, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and The Dearborn Police Department.


The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (MELOA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) employee association recognized by the Department of Homlenad Security.  MELOA works to strengthen ties between community and law enforcement agencies.  More information about MELOA can be found at

 File Photo

File Photo

MELOA Receives Game Changer Award


Washington, DC;  The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association was recently awarded the Game Changer Award at the DHS Inaugural Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity Training Conference on September, 14th.

"As DHS personnel, we're privileged to serve our country in our official capacities," MELOA President Steve Francis said. "Our membership extends its service to the communities in which we all live and work. We're extremely honored to be recognized with the Game Changer Award. It's a real testament to our membership's commitment to improving our communities."

DHS' Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) presents the Game Changer Award to recognize individuals who relentlessly work toward a solution with a positive impact on EEO, civil rights, diversity or inclusion despite obstacles or resistance.

MELOA earned the award in recognition of their inaugural year's culmination of work; including recently hosting it's inaugural training conference in Dearborn, MI in August which was attended by more than 200 law enforcement professionals from across the country, and played host key DHS figures from CBP, ICE, TSA and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.  Read more


MELOA Members participate in School supplies giveaway


Dearborn, MI; MELOA members from the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement partnered up with the Dearborn Police Department, and Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities (LAHC), a not for profit human services organization committed to community development, which organized this spectacular back to school event.  Every student receive a backpack with school supplies to start the school year off right.  MELOA is proud to partner with groups and orginizations that serve the communities our members live and work in.  


MELOA Hosts Successful Inaugural Conference in Detroit


Dearborn, MI;  The Middle Eastern Law Enforcement Officers Association (MELOA), group comprised of DHS employees that works to build trust through community engagement, held their first annual conference.

Secretary Jeh Johnson traveled to Dearborn where he spoke about the Department’s commitment to communities.