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Diplomacy in Action

Newsletter: The INL Beat, December 2013


Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
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Date: 01/30/2013 Description: Logo for Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the Department of State - State Dept Image


INL’s Police Partner Connects with Bangladeshi Youth

Date: 04/24/2013 Description: PoPortland Police Bureau's Chief of Police Mike Reese along with a panel of young social entrepreneurs involved in justice and civil society issues, discusses community policing and law enforcement training between the United States and Bangladesh. First broadcast in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013 on Desh TV. - State Dept Image
Portland Police Bureau's Chief of Police Mike Reese along with a panel of young social entrepreneurs involved in justice and civil society issues, discusses community policing and law enforcement training between the United States and Bangladesh. First broadcast in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013 on Desh TV.

During INL Police Week events in May 2013, Assistant Secretary Brownfield acknowledged and thanked the criminal justice professionals in attendance from across the United States, not just for their efforts in countering transnational crime, but for their work as “honorary diplomats” overseas. An example of this unique diplomacy was recently displayed in Dhaka, Bangladesh where police officers from Portland, Oregon met with Bangladeshi youth at the Embassy’s American Center.

Portland Police Bureau joined the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) to implement INL’s community policing program in Bangladesh. The program was launched in 2010, and takes place in Rajshahi Division of northwestern Bangladesh, an area previously identified as vulnerable to violent extremism. The program supports a model of policing that emphasizes the establishment of police-community partnerships and a problem-solving approach that is responsive to community concerns. Program objectives include: 1) teaching Bangladesh police officers and citizens community policing strategies and assisting them with implementation; 2) providing hands-on instruction, modeling and mentoring to Bangladesh police officers and citizens using an embedding strategy and; 3) supporting the overall community by identifying additional stakeholders with the Rajshahi Metropolitan Police.

Portland Police Bureau has been sending three police officers at a time for a period of three weeks since September 2011 to train, mentor, and work with the Bangladesh National Police. Though the officers provide training in standard areas such as case management and human rights, they also customize trainings in response to the requests of the Bangladeshi police. For instance, in 2013 they provided arson investigation courses to both police and firefighters in response to a 2012 Bangladeshi factory fire that claimed the lives of 175 people. They also offered training in areas such as working with social media, respecting human rights, and combating transnational crime to meet the needs of their communities throughout the district.

Portland police officers convened in Dhaka on November 12 to greet students at the Embassy’s American Center. Led by Captain Chris Uehara, the officers gave a presentation to over 50 students about the objectives of INL’s law enforcement program in Bangladesh. They stressed the importance of trusting police with the problems of their communities and working with them to develop tailored solutions. The team instilled in the students that each of them has the potential to positively impact their communities and act as agents of change to secure a better future for their country.

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: Captain Chris Uehara of the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau addresses Bangladeshi students on community policing. - State Dept Image
Captain Chris Uehara of the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau addresses Bangladeshi students on community policing.

Uehara also spoke to the notable impact that the program has made not only the communities of Bangladesh, but on their own personal lives and careers back in Oregon. “By immersing ourselves in Bangladeshi culture,” Uehara stated, “we are able to apply what we learn to our interactions with Portland’s growing Muslim populations as well as our city’s other minority communities.” He stressed to the students that the program is mutually beneficial for the Americans and the Bangladeshis, as they are always learning from one another.

The messages resonated with the students, many of whom were personally interested in a career in law enforcement or civil service. The students engaged the police officers in a lively discussion following the presentation, and many of them expressed interest in attending similar events in the future. U.S. Embassy Dhaka is currently working with ICITAP and INL to create more outreach opportunities for the visiting officers from Portland, particularly at the soon-to-be opened American Corner in Rajshahi.



Strengthening Costa Rica’s Borders

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: Trainees learning close-quarters defense skills. - State Dept Image
Trainees learning close-quarters defense skills.

In 2012, more than half of the primary flow of the cocaine trafficked to the United States first transited through the Central American corridor. Costa Rica’s use as a drug transshipment point is credited to its strategic geographic location, linking narcotics-producing countries in South America with the United States and the challenges of patrolling its extensive Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.

INL is taking steps across Central America to assist countries like Costa Rica to improve their capabilities through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). CARSI programs seek to disrupt crime that operates cross-regionally without regard to national borders, while also helping national governments take greater responsibility for their own security with professional, effective law enforcement.

A key pillar of the CARSI program is its capacity building for law enforcement. Since 2010, INL has partnered with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Central America, and CBP first offered land interdiction training to the Costa Rican Fuerza Publica, or National Police, in 2012. That training highlighted Costa Rica’s need for a dedicated Border Police force that could recruit cadets to work far from home in the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica’s border zones, and provide a career path that rewarded these specialized officers.

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: Costa Rican trainees use a fiber optic cable to check the gas tank for hidden compartments. - State Dept Image
Costa Rican trainees use a fiber optic cable to check the gas tank for hidden compartments.

This necessary border police force was created by the Costa Rican government in 2013. On September 13th, 2013, Fuerza Publica officers began a basic border course taught and designed by Costa Ricans with input from CBP. At the end of the course, 170 officers went north to begin putting these lessons into practice, while 30 officers remained for an advanced course taught directly by CBP. The advanced course will give these officers specialized skills in mobile patrols, border post management, inspection of fraudulent documents, as well as day and night tactical operations.

In the weeks following their deployment, graduates of the basic course have made national headlines across Costa Rica with their discovery of ten helipads built on ranches owned by suspected drug traffickers and corrupt local officials, depots of military-style weapons, bulk currency, and stolen aviation fuel hidden in the remote hills along the border with Nicaragua. Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigative Police are now using evidence collected by the Border Police to build a case against the criminal network linked to the discoveries, while the 27 graduates of the advanced course head to the border to add an even greater level of advanced techniques to the efforts already underway.


INL Kabul celebrates first anniversary of Gibson Training Center (GTC)

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: Female Correctional Officers speak to CSSP Chief of Team, Bill Davis, at a graduation ceremony.  - State Dept Image

Female Correctional Officers speak to CSSP Chief of Team, Bill Davis, at a graduation ceremony.

Over the past year, INL planned and hosted 71 trainings, workshops, and graduation ceremonies at the Gibson Training Center (GTC) in Kabul in support of our counternarcotics, corrections, and justice programs. These events trained1517 Afghan professionals, including 280 women. The GTC hosts a variety of INL-funded trainings in partnership with the Corrections System Support Program (CSSP), the Ministry of Counternarcotics (MCN), and the Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP). Each GTC program offers opportunities for practitioners working to combat the narcotics trade and build capacity in the justice system to deepen their knowledge on a range of issues through training and networking opportunities.

 

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: GDPDC prison commanders at the National Prison Commanders Conference.  - State Dept Image
GDPDC prison commanders at the National Prison Commanders Conference.

In addition, the GTC platform enables senior Afghan officials to meet with their provincial ministry staff and discuss national issues. In most instances, these workshops and trainings were the first opportunity for the provincial staff to meet their senior leadership. The GTC has hosted eight nationwide conferences and eight Minister-level officials. In late May, the General Directorate for Prisons and Detention Centers (GDPDC), in coordination with CSSP, brought together the prison commanders from all 33 Afghan provincial prisons, as well as senior officials from GDPDC, the Ministry of Interior, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Ministry of Justice, for a four-day National Prison Commanders Conference. This conference enabled the prison commanders to engage with each other on solutions to the many challenges facing Afghanistan’s corrections system.

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: Former Counternarcotics Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani speaks at the Gibson Training Center. - State Dept Image

Former Counternarcotics Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani speaks at the Gibson Training Center.

A key component of INL’s transition strategy is support for Afghan government-led trainings. In December, the Ministry of Counternarcotics hosted a capacity building training seminar for 160 civil servants from 34 provinces at the GTC. The training focused on the National Drug Control Strategy, the Drug Demand Reduction policy, the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the civil servants’ law, regulation of personal affairs for civil servants, monitoring and evaluation, procurement and finance issues, and intoxicants and drugs control law. GTC’s support enables the MCN to implement a capacity building seminar aimed at improving the knowledge and skills of their civil servants in the provinces, and increasing coordination between the provinces and the headquarters in Kabul.

In just one year, the GTC has grown into a fully functioning facility capable of providing a safe and comfortable learning environment for our Afghan partners. As the GTC looks towards Afghanistan’s transition, INL will continue to support training sponsored by our implementing partners and Embassy sections (including Public Affairs and the national Lincoln Learning Centers’ Conference) at our facilities. The opportunities provided at the GTC have served to build capacity and foster communication with our Afghan partners, empowering them to lead their country to a safe and stable future.


Joint Training for Pakistani Women Prosecutors and Investigators


Date: 12/30/2013 Description: U.S. Consul General Michael Dodman making remarks.  - State Dept Image

U.S. Consul General Michael Dodman making remarks.

Officials from INL and the Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Women’s Police Support Program, conducted the first ever joint training for female prosecutors and police investigators in the history of Pakistan. The Women Police-Prosecutor Conference, held in Karachi on November 19-21, brought together police investigators and female prosecutors from Karachi and interior Sindh Province to receive specialized training from Pakistani and American experts in forensics, interview techniques, trial preparation, and crime scene analysis.

Speaking at the conclusion of the seminar, U.S. Consul General in Karachi Michael Dodman praised the participants with the following statement: “Female police officers and prosecutors face unique challenges, and I admire the courage and professionalism that you display every day in facing those challenges to pursue justice in your communities. I hope that the skills you learned in this first-ever joint prosecutor and investigator training for women in Pakistan will give you additional tools for success as you pursue your important work.”

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: A trainee pauses to view a photo of her newly networked colleagues. - State Dept Image
A trainee pauses at the conference to view a photo of her newly networked colleagues.

The training seminar format presented the participants with a simulated crime and then asked them as a group to evaluate the crime scene, select the best investigative techniques, and develop a case for effective presentation in court. In addition, the women received instruction from Pakistani and American experts on case evaluation, police-prosecutor cooperation, and sexual harassment issues in the workplace. Following the seminar’s conclusion, the participants agreed that increased coordination between police and prosecutors from day one of an investigation is vital to building quality cases and increasing conviction rates at trial.


In the News: Anticorruption Day

Date: 12/30/2013 Description: Protestors denouncing bribery in a demonstration parade. - State Dept Image
Protestors denouncing bribery in a demonstration parade.

“The United States joins the international community today in saluting individuals, governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and international organizations dedicated to preventing and combating the scourge of corruption.” – Statement by Secretary of State John Kerry for International Anticorruption Day (December 9). 

The United States devotes roughly $1 billion annually to support anticorruption and good governance reforms around the globe. INL is one of the leaders on this critical foreign policy and national security issue. This year, over 80 U.S. Embassies joined us in raising awareness on International Anticorruption Day.

Check out our blog about the Conference of States Parties held near the 10th anniversary meeting of the United Nation Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Write to anti-corruption@state.gov for more information.

 



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