Significant amounts of cocaine 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 that fragile country by fostering corruption and fomenting armed violence perpetrated by criminal gangs and political opposition groups. The January 12, 2010 earthquake is having a tremendous effect on the way forward as the Government of Haiti (GOH) rebuilds and continues its efforts to improve the capacity of its law enforcement, corrections, and judicial organizations.
Strengthening Haiti’s law enforcement capacity is a key U.S. Government priority. This includes: restoring the law enforcement capabilities of the Government of Haiti to maintain public order and reduce the attractiveness of illegal migration and the ability of criminals to traffic drugs into the U.S.; training (and vetting) existing and newly recruited Haitian National Police (HNP) to 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, conduct effective patrols, direct traffic, communicate effectively, and conduct internal and criminal investigations; decreasing the number of incidences of human rights abuses by police; and helping the GOH to develop a modern, secure, and humane prison system that protects the rights of both prisoners and the public.
As recovery and rebuilding efforts move forward, it is important to continue our focus on improving the capacity of the HNP as a whole and to not neglect the reconstitution of key units such as the Haitian Coast Guard (HCG) and the HNP’s counternarcotics unit, La Brigade de Lutte Contrele Traffic de Stupefiants (BLTS). With Canada investing in the HCG and looking to increase its efforts in counternarcotics, U.S. assistance to these units can leverage the impact of other contributions by establishing much needed professional standards and guiding other contributions to the most critical needs.
Civilian Police (CIVPOL) - Continue support for approximately 100 police officers and 10 corrections officers the U.S. is contributing to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). U.S. officers will continue providing expertise in the areas of academy training, field training, patrols, community policing, investigations, traffic, crime analysis, forensics, police management, supervisory skills, police administration, and other specialized skills.
Haitian National Police - Support the HNP to recruit, select, and train qualified officers. Specialized units, including forensics, SWAT, and traffic will be strengthened and trained. HNP supervisory, management, and human rights training will be provided as well as periodic in-service training for existing HNP officers.
Police Accountability and Reform - Support the Inspector General’s office to enhance HNP capacity to perform internal police investigations, exercise effective command and control over the police force, and ensure adherence to policies and procedures.
Crime Prevention/Forensics - Support upgrades to police infrastructure and equipment combined with targeted training and vetting. Help establish a capacity within the HNP to maintain equipment, conduct crime analysis, and respond to civil disturbances in a manner that takes advantage of non-lethal police tactics.
Criminal Justice Development/Corrections - Renovate deteriorating structures that present security and disease threats to detainees and alleviate the serious human rights violations currently presented by jail conditions; equip and train Haitian prison personnel to operate a pre-trial diversion program and educate and rehabilitate some of the criminal population.
Counternarcotics Support - Support the restoration of port security and maritime interdiction operations by the Haitian Coast Guard (HCG); further the anti-money laundering and anti-corruption efforts of the Haitian Financial Intelligence Unit and Financial Crimes Unit; support deployment of BLTS officers to strategic choke points throughout the country, and establish an intelligence collection and analysis center within the HNP.
Merida Initiative Counternarcotics Programs - Support the HNP by providing a communication network which will interconnect rule of law activities, including law enforcement operations, investigations, case management, and information sharing. Provide training to Criminal Justice System Actors (police, prosecutors, and Judges) on proper investigative techniques, reporting, case preparation and evidence collection.