Challenges: Cocaine and marijuana from South America transit the island of Hispaniola on its way to U.S. markets. In addition to posing problems for the U.S., the drug trade in Haiti undermines the rule of law in this developing country by fostering corruption and other criminal activity. As Haiti focuses on longer-term reconstruction and development following the 2010 earthquake, much remains to be done in ongoing efforts by the Government of Haiti to rebuild and improve the capacity of its law enforcement, corrections, and judicial organizations. Haiti’s overall infrastructure, while slowly improving, remains insufficient. The Haitian National Police (HNP), with assistance from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), is responsible for security in Haiti. Crime, emergency response, and crowd control, including managing periodic political or social protests, are key challenges facing the HNP.
Goals: Strengthening Haiti’s law enforcement capacity to meet these challenges is a key U.S. Government priority. This includes expanding the law enforcement capabilities of the Government of Haiti to maintain public order; effectively deter, respond to, and investigate crime; and impede illegal drug trafficking and trafficking in persons. INL is working with the Government of Haiti to help the HNP improve its capabilities through training and vetting existing and newly recruited HNP officers, and reach its goal of increasing the size of the HNP force to 15,000 by 2016. Programs focus on democratic policing standards to form the core of a credible, competent police force; enhancing the ability of the Haitian police to respond to reports of crime in a timely manner and to conduct effective patrols, direct traffic, and communicate effectively; and to improve administrative, strategic planning, and logistics. INL is also working to improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of justice sector actors, strengthen the judiciary’s capacity to monitor and oversee judges and clerks, and assist the GOH to develop a modern, secure, and humane prison system that protects the rights of both prisoners and the public.
Accomplishments: INL has provided support to cadet classes of the HNP Academy, including the current class of over 1,000 cadets -- the largest in HNP’s history. INL deployed five experts to advise on key issues such as internal affairs and sexual and gender-based violence. INL has embedded in the HNP experts in strategic planning, budgeting, career development and procurement experience to help develop these capabilities. INL also supports the deployment of Creole-speaking New York Police Department officers who for several months at a time work side-by-side with their Haitian counterparts providing mentoring and focusing on implementing successful community policing. INL has completed repairs to the HNP Academy and construction of a new police stations; other infrastructure work is underway.
INL has provided training for wardens at prisons across Haiti, including courses on prison maintenance and leadership. INL will be supporting the construction of new prison buildings in Haiti, with the goal of adding almost 1,000 new beds to address severe overcrowding issues.
INL provides cross-training to police, prosecutors, and judges and in the past two years has trained over 1,800 government officials on topics such as ethics, gender-based violence, and investigative techniques.
INL provided training and equipment to help the HNP Counternarcotics Unit (BLTS) triple in size, from 42 to 123 officers in 2013. INL renovated a seized property in Port-au-Prince to house canines and their trainers, and is supporting through infrastructure and equipment the expansion of the BLTS to strategic areas throughout the country.
INL collaborated with the Miami-Dade Police Department to train 74 BLTS officers, raising their professional skills through a series of train the trainers courses focused on drug investigations, surveillance, and operations. Increasing the capacity and skill of BLTS agents will improve their abilities to address and combat drug trafficking and drug transshipment in and out of Haiti.