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Diplomacy in Action

Civilian Police Programs

Fact Sheet
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
January 20, 2009


Related fact sheets: Overview of Programs | Corrections Support


Civilian police (CIVPOL) from the United States and more than 50 other countries are deployed around the globe in support of international post-conflict stabilization and redevelopment operations. Their presence promotes peace and stability in areas recovering from conflict, and their efforts to reform and/or develop indigenous police forces into modern, democratically-oriented law enforcement services helps to ensure that peace and stability can be sustained even after international peacekeepers depart.

Many CIVPOL programs are sponsored by the United Nations (UN), but regional security organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) or coalitions of interested countries sponsor others. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) manages more than 1,600 U.S. police deployed next to their international counterparts in international CIVPOL missions.

Programs by Country

  • Afghanistan - INL funds more than 580 civilian police advisors who work in conjunction with the U.S. military to assist the Government of Afghanistan with the development of a democratic police force capable of enforcing the rule of law. INL civilian police advisors provide training and mentoring to the Afghan National Police as well as guidance to senior officials in the Ministry of Interior.

  • Haiti - INL funds 50 U.S. police officers and 3 U.S. corrections officers in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, screening, training and advising the Haitian National Police, as well as training and assisting correctional officers.

  • Iraq - In Iraq, CIVPOL officers are referred to as International Police Advisors (IPA). More than 600 IPA work alongside their U.S. military counterparts to train, mentor, and advise the Iraqi Police Service and Ministry of Interior in the largest post-conflict police development mission ever undertaken by the United States.

  • Kosovo - The United States deploys 222 civilian police to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the only mission in which the U.S. participates that carries the powers of executive authority. CIVPOL officers, dubbed International Police Officers (IPO), serve as mentors, monitors, and trainers, and have the ability to step in with corrective action if necessary. Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008, and its constitution went into force on June 15, 2008. The international presence is adjusting to Kosovo’s new status. The European Union plans to take over from UNMIK in 2008. The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) will serve primarily a mentoring, monitoring and advising role. Once the EULEX is stood up, the United States will downsize the UNMIK contingent and second 80 IPOs and add 8 judges and prosecutors.

  • Liberia - The United States seconds 15 civilian police officers, called UN Police (UNPOL), to the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). UNPOL train the Liberian National Police Emergency Response Unit (ERU), hold various positions within UNMIL, and occasionally support operations outside of the capitol, Monrovia. The Senior Advisors Team (SAT), consisting of four UNPOL officers – eight by the end of 2008 – come from senior level management positions in sizeable American police forces and provide one-on-one mentoring to the leadership of the LNP. The SAT works closely with other American advisors to strengthen linkages between the LNP and Liberian prosecutors and judiciary.

  • Sudan - INL provides assistance in Sudan to develop a secure and stable environment for future elections and referendums. INL provides a contingent of 15 police, judicial and corrections officers within the UN Mission in Sudan to facilitate comprehensive criminal justice sector development activities in support of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Separately, INL will deploy up to 10 police advisors to the AU-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur.

  • Palestinian Territories: West Bank - CIVPOL work with the U.S. Security Coordinator in Jerusalem to enhance the capabilities of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces in the West Bank. The assistance is focused on providing basic, leadership, and refresher training for the National Security Forces and the Presidential Guard; upgrading their training facilities and providing non-lethal equipment to support operations; and working with the Palestinian Authority to develop a Strategic Planning Directorate in the Ministry of Interior to enhance the Ministry’s long-term capacity for planning, oversight, and reform.

Hiring Mechanisms

The Department of State contracts with private companies to recruit, select, equip, and deploy subject-matter experts in policing, criminal prosecution, court administration, judicial adjudication, criminal appellate practice and correctional programs.

Following pre-deployment training in the U.S., criminal justice program personnel are sent to the mission area or are "seconded" to the UN (or other sponsoring organization -- such as OSCE). Within a mission, officers function under the operational control of the sponsoring organization, which also provides them with an allowance to cover food, lodging, and incidental expenses. The contractors maintain offices in the mission areas to handle administrative and support issues, and to assist with programs designed to improve quality of life.

Recruitment information for Civilian Police Programs can be found at these websites:

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Applicant must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Applicant must have a combined total of eight (8) years work experience with at least (5) years experience as a state sworn certified police officer with a full service police department.
  • Applicant must be an actively serving law officer, or recently retired/separated within nine (9) years of active employment.
  • Proficiency in English is required.
  • Applicant must be able to qualify with assigned weapon and operate a standard transmission vehicle.
  • Applicant should possess an unblemished background.
  • A valid U.S. passport will be required.
  • Applicant must pass a law enforcement physical and an agility test.

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