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Diplomacy in Action

Newsletter: The INL Beat, Summer 2011

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

In This Issue:

From Hunted to Hunter

 Date: 2011 Description: Photos show 45-foot former trafficking boat that was fully rehabilitated and rechristened ''Cazador'' (Hunter).  - State Dept Image
Photos show 45-foot former trafficking boat that was fully rehabilitated and rechristened "Cazador" (Hunter). Left photo: before the modification. Right photo: after the modification.

It was the boat that couldn’t fly fast enough to elude Panama’s Aero-Naval Service (SENAN). Back in July 2010, DEA and the U.S. Embassy’s Tactical Analysis Team (TAT) alerted SENAN to the presence of a suspected narcotics vessel near Colon on Panama’s Caribbean coast. Using a USG-donated boat maintained by the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) Panama with CARSI funding, members of SENAN found the vessel in a small bay three miles east of Colon.

As they closed in to intercept the boat, the four suspects operating it opened the throttle and jumped overboard. Hitting a dirt ramp in the village of Puerto Pilón, the driverless boat flew out of the water and landed 100 feet inland, crushing a makeshift home. One of the occupants, an 11-year-old boy, suffered a broken leg in the crash. Meanwhile, SENAN seized 2,477 kilograms of cocaine and captured one suspect—a Colombian national.

The story could have ended there, but for the bright idea of a SENAN base commander and the funding and mechanical expertise of NAS. The 45 foot former trafficking boat was fully rehabilitated and rechristened “Cazador” (Hunter) I for narcotics interdiction operations. For just over $43,000—a fraction of the cost of a new interceptor—NAS Panama helped SENAN equip Cazador with a modern radar system and a new navigation console. Under the oversight of NAS Maritime Advisor Jorge Medina, a team of six SENAN mechanics also repaired the boat’s four outboard motors; installed engine guards, aluminum fuel tanks, and a machine gun mount; armored the key components; painted the entire craft; and updated its electronics.

The result was not only a new look, but a new life—as a drug fighter. And it didn’t take long for the former narco-craft to prove its worth. Within 48 hours of its commissioning at SENAN base Flotilla del Pacifico Vasco Nunez de Balboa on May 17, the “Cazador I” had already bagged its first seizure: 241 kilos of cocaine. It scored a second cocaine seizure on June 3: 173 kilos of cocaine. Given these early successes, NAS promptly agreed to SENAN’s requests for further remodels of seized vessels and has issued orders for work on a “Cazador II.” Medina says SENAN has many more seized vessels, including three more 45-foot craft and at least 10 smaller boats, that would be good candidates for retrofitting. His teams are currently working on two of those smaller craft, repairing the flat-bottomed fiberglass hulls that permit them to enter the shallows of Panama’s many inland waterways.

Judicial Security Unit Protection of the Afghan Supreme Court

As part of The Judicial Security Unit (JSU), which falls under the Ministry of Interior, and is a specialized unit of the Afghan National Police, assumed responsibility for security at the Afghan Supreme Court on June 8th. This assignment demonstrates the accomplishments of the JSU and the U.S. Marshal Service tasked with mentoring the JSU. The JSU training program, which began receiving students in October 2010, has trained 655 JSU personnel to date. At the Chief Justice’s request, approximately 160 JSU police are now providing court security and secure transport for Justices to/from their residences. INL supports this initiative by providing international JSU contract trainer/mentors, operations and maintenance of the JSU headquarters, and material support to U.S. Marshals Service mentors responsible for assisting the JSU with development and sustainability planning. 

Bolivian Counter Narcotics Regional Canine Training Center

Date: 2011 Description: A handler with his K-9. - State Dept Image
A handler with his K-9.
During a 90-day training course, El Paso K-9 Training Center carefully matches K-9 handlers and dogs to form drug detection teams. With an on-sight veterinarian and an in-house breeding program, the Center can draw from German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Malinois, Cocker Spaniels, and in the near future, Belgian Shepherds. Funded by the INL’s Narcotics and Affairs Section (NAS) at the U.S. Embassy, the school has trained more than 300 teams to date, ensuring that officers understand both the philosophy and methodology of the latest detection techniques. The curriculum includes principles of dog training, environmental effects on scent, and canine care. In addition to Bolivian National Police, the center has trained teams for Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador and Chile. The school also offers drug detection recertification for handler/K-9 teams and explosive detection handler/K-9 team courses. For more information, please visit the school’s web page .

Pilot Project in Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast Builds Safer Communities

Date: 2011 Description: Atlantic Coast All-Stars girls softball team. - State Dept Image
Atlantic Coast All-Stars girls softball team.
The U.S. Embassy in Managua, and its Nicaraguan non-governmental organization partner FADCANIC, are promoting a girls softball league as part of the Organization for Safe and Healthy Communities pilot program. As girls in the Atlantic coast region of Nicaragua are especially at-risk for domestic abuse and even human trafficking, this softball league aimed at young girls is just one component of a broader citizen security pilot program, under the auspices of Managua’s INL office.

 The project’s key goals included: spurring public dialogue among often disparate national, regional, and local governments, private citizen groups, and educational institutions about the influence of transnational organized crime, trafficking, substance abuse, domestic violence and a myriad of narco-fueled violent crimes; providing alternative outlets to At-Risk Youth; and building a strong social network in those Regional Autonomous Area South (RAAS) communities.

Participants come from the RAAS communities of Bluefields, Haulover, Pearl Lagoon, and the Corn Islands. The top players competed against all-girls teams from around Nicaragua in tournament play May 27 to 29.

The Atlantic Coast All-Stars, ages 15–17, were very excited to be part of this experience that pits them in friendly competition against teams from Chinandega, Estelí, Granada, and Managua Girls sports is another way Embassy Managua is teaming up with the Nicaraguan people to keep kids off drugs—“Estamos Unidos!” (We are united!) 

Iraq Police Development Program Places First Advisors on the Ground

Date: 2011 Description: Map of Iraq. - State Dept Image
Map of Iraq.
In June 2011, INL began an early deployment of the first U.S. senior police advisors to Iraq in preparation for the Police Development Program (PDP) scheduled to begin this fall. These advisors arrived ahead of the original July 1 schedule for initial operating capability. The civilian program, in partnership with the Iraqi government, will begin a new phase of police development focused on strengthening the management, leadership, and technical skills of high-level Ministry of Interior police forces throughout the country. Mentoring and advising by U.S. police advisors will encourage community policing through prevention and detection in partnership with the community. The PDP seeks to establish a leading role for civilian police in providing public security.

In addition to advising, the PDP will include an instructor development or train-the-trainer program, and support training at Iraqi Regional Training Academies to assist the Ministry of Interior’s national police professionalization curriculum across the country.

Within the U.S., the INL program will provide training for select Iraqi police through partnerships with well-respected academic institutions, organizations, and state and metropolitan police academies. The courses are designed to meet the needs of the Iraqi police services and provide greater exposure to a community-based policing culture.

Other agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice’s FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Department of Homeland Security, will provide advanced and specialized training in Iraq and the U.S. for Iraqi mid-level leadership under the PDP.

Tajikistan Police Work with Community Leaders to Implement Community Policing

Date: 2011 Description: Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) representatives and Community Policing Working Group members developing community policing implementation plan for Tajikistan. - State Dept Image
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) representatives and Community Policing Working Group members developing community policing implementation plan for Tajikistan.
In May, INL and The Emergence Group (TEG) delivered a three-day workshop for senior-level commanders from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and mid-level community policing managers from the District Internal Affairs (DIA) to develop a strategic plan for institutionalizing community policing in Tajikistan. The sessions focused on leadership, police reform, and planning for change through community policing. In his opening remarks, the Head of the Public Order Directorate, General Mumin Zinatov said, “The workshop is a great opportunity for the police and community members from the districts to exchange experiences, find ways to address challenges and concerns, and help each other to ensure success and sustainability of community policing throughout Tajikistan.”

Five community leaders from the district-level CPPTs in Rasht, Qairoqqum, and Qumsangir joined their police counterparts on the second and third days to develop local community policing implementation plans. The plans define the roles, responsibilities, and activities of the police and community members for preventing crime and improving safety.

At a presentation on police reform in Tajikistan, the Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Colonel Khaidar Mahmadiev, announced that the MIA had established a working group to revise the Law on Police, which will underline the importance of community policing. He remarked, “Changing the name from ‘militia’ to ‘police’ is the first step towards increasing trust and improving cooperation between the police and the people. The MIA must take ownership of community policing and institutionalize it as part of the police reform process.”

On April 8, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) office in Tajikistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Police Reform with the MIA. The goal of the police reform is to assist the MIA to develop its policing based on internationally recognized democratic policing principles. The U.S. Embassy Dushanbe will support the reform through INL’s law enforcement reform and capacity development programs, including community policing.

Refugees in Uganda Learn about Local Laws through INL’s Community Policing Initiative

Date: 2011 Description: IP Agnes Ndegemo moderates a community meeting. - State Dept Image
IP Agnes Ndegemo moderates a community meeting.
“It’s the first time the police have come just to talk to us!” Residents of the refugee camp in Kyaka expressed surprise that all these policemen and policewomen were not there to arrest anyone. Thirty-five men and women from the Uganda Police Force’s Police Training School in Kabalye including Police Commissioner Felix Ndyomugyenye, Director of Human Resources Training, converged on Kyaka to learn about the settlement and to ply their newly developed Community Policing skills.

The INL project using Section 1207 funds has furnished the Uganda Police Force with a Police Academy Advisor to help them develop their academy. Dr. Nicholas Walling, Ed.D., CPP, assists academy staff in their vision of building a world class school by providing guidance and advice in curriculum development and training concepts related to community policing initiatives. Dr. Walling accompanied the trainers to Kyaka to give them support and to promote INL’s 1207 Community Policing program.

The model of community policing that the trainers brought to Kyaka uses the S.A.R.A. model (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment) of problem solving, in which police moderators facilitate forums where the citizenry identify the problems found in the community and agree upon resolutions for the problems. This method provides residents with greater control over the safety and security of their villages. The settlement consists of seven areas loosely characterized by the refugees’ country of origin. These areas were consolidated into four meeting sites, each one attended by a mix of nationalities. In spite of the “integration,” citizen participation was lively and enthusiastic.

The four community meetings at the Kyaka refugee camp were lauded by both refugees and camp managers who expressed their gratitude for the visit, claiming that the meetings had enlightened them regarding the criminal justice system and given them new direction for addressing the problems they face. They said that the new relationships created will help to improve the quality of life for the refugees. Follow up contacts reveal that the forums are still main topics of conversation among the residents and that the news of the meetings bringing a new style of policing has spread to the refugees and staff of the camp who were not able to attend.

NAS Bogota’s Photo Contest Addresses Narco-Trafficking

Date: 2011 Description: Photo Contest: Left photo-Category: How Narco-trafficking Harms Society. Title: ''Consequences of Narco-trafficking: Our People.'' Winner: Lorena Sanchez Cardenas. Right photo-Category: Colombia's Natural Beauty. Title: ''Nothing to Envy of Africa.'' Winner: Leonardo Arango.  - State Dept Image
Photo Contest: Left photo-Category: How Narco-trafficking Harms Society. Title: "Consequences of Narco-trafficking: Our People." Winner: Lorena Sanchez Cardenas.
Right photo-Category: Colombia's Natural Beauty. Title: "Nothing to Envy of Africa." Winner: Leonardo Arango.

During the month of April, “Colombia, Pais de Contrastes” (Colombia, Country of Contrasts) received 2000 photos from 7500 fans across Colombia. The goal was to highlight the incredible environmental richness of Colombia, the world’s second-most biodiverse nation, as well as the damage done by the cultivation and business of coca. There were four themes—the natural beauty of Colombia, the social and environmental damage caused by narco-trafficking, and what ordinary Colombians are doing to support their country and the environment. INL’s Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) Bogota organized the contest, together with its partners at the Government of Colombia’s Ministry of Interior & Justice and El Tiempo, Colombia’s largest daily newspaper.

The first of its kind in Colombia, the contest’s entry-phase received coverage from nearly every major media outlet in Colombia. “Environmental Ambassadors”—prominent Colombian actors and journalists committed to spreading the message of the environmental damage, like deforestation and chemical contamination, done by coca cultivation—filmed a number of promotions for the contest, aired throughout Colombia, and appeared at events to encourage participation. 

Date: 2011 Description: Photo Contest: Left photo-Category: How Narco-trafficking Destroys the Environment. Title: ''The Present Blind Country Will be a Future Unconscious Country.'' Winner: Cano Ana Maria Palacios. Right photo-Category: What do I do? Title: ''Colombia and Her Ancestors.'' Winner: Amador Rodriguez Esmeralda Nidia.  - State Dept Image
Photo Contest: Left photo-Category: How Narco-trafficking Destroys the Environment. Title: "The Present Blind Country Will be a Future Unconscious Country." Winner: Cano Ana Maria Palacios. Right photo-Category: What do I do? Title: "Colombia and Her Ancestors." Winner: Amador Rodriguez Esmeralda Nidia.

A jury of Embassy representatives and prominent photographers selected 15 finalists, spanning the four thematic categories and all ages. The final result was put to popular vote on Facebook.

The four grand-prize winners shown here received an all-inclusive trip for two to the National Park of Isla Gorgona, an uninhabited island off the coast of Colombia that resembles the Galapagos in its biodiversity and Alcatraz in that it was once used as a prison. They and the finalists were honored at an Earth Day Celebration, April 29.

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