Challenges: Located just eighty miles from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic’s proximity to a U.S. territory makes it an ideal transshipment point for drugs from South America to the U.S. Cocaine movement through the Caribbean corridor increased from 4 percent to 14 percent in the last two years, with the bulk of U.S.-bound drugs transiting through Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. Resource constraints and endemic corruption have handicapped the Dominican Republic. Inadequately trained Dominican law enforcement personnel hinder its ability to guarantee the safety of citizens. Against this backdrop, a growing number of government leaders recognize the urgency in addressing citizen security. The Government of the Dominican Republic (GODR) has made positive steps forward, and INL will capitalize on the Medina Administration’s strong commitment to restoring the state as a provider of security.
Goals: As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in the Dominican Republic focus on bolstering the professionalism and institutional capacity of Dominican law enforcement agencies, including the Dominican National Police (DNP), National Counterdrug Directorate (DNCD), Specialized Port Security Corps (CESEP), Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA), Specialized Border Security Corps (CESFRONT), and the Prosecutor General’s Office. Such efforts include the provision of training and equipment, support to vetted units, anti-money laundering technical assistance, and equipment and training for the establishment of an emergency 911 system, a vital tool to improve public safety.
Accomplishments: INL programs seek to strengthen the institutional capacity of the DNCD to interdict drugs through training in methods such as surveillance and investigation; provision of equipment such as vehicles, radios, and bullet proof vests; strengthening its canine academy; and provision of upgrades to its information technology and communication system. In the past two years, due to the GODR’s commitment to counternarcotics and the support of the United States in this area, drug seizures increased. In 2012, the Dominican Republic seized 9.6 metric tons of cocaine, a 40 percent increase over the amount seized in 2011. This increase in seizures contributes to decrease illegal drug availability and use in the United States.
Helping to establish law enforcement entities that are professional, capable, and responsive is one focus of the program. INL is strengthening the institutional capacity of the DNP by supporting train the trainer activities within the DNP’s mobile training units, which in 2012 trained approximately 2,500 police officers throughout the country in “Basic Police Intervention Techniques.” This training includes handcuffing, pat-downs, car stops, and building searches, the basic tools necessary for police to discharge their duties in the field.