This video is available with closed captioning on YouTube.
So without further ado, over to the Assistant Secretary and the Commissioner.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Thank you very much, Dr. V, and I realize we are in competition with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the White House, and a number of international events. But I do thank you for giving us this opportunity for a brief conversation. I am Bill Brownfield and I do narcotics and law enforcement here in the Department of State, joined by, to my immediate right, probably the best known police official in all of the United States of America.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, as you should know – even if you don’t – is the first day of National Police Week in the United States of America. Today will conclude with the annual vigil at the National Law Enforcement Memorial, where they will enter the names of all U.S. law enforcement officers who gave their lives on active duty in the course of this year.
Here in the Department of State, we are doing our own Police Partnership Appreciation Day. The day started this morning when the Secretary of State signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commissioner of the Boston Police Department, Ed Davis, by which the Boston police, like the New York police, like another 50 police departments around the United States, are able to participate in and deploy personnel in overseas missions with the Department of State.
We then went on to a second event, where we awarded eight awards to important partners at the federal, state, and municipal level, both in police, corrections, and prosecutors’ offices, who have worked with the Department of State in supporting programs overseas for the past year.
And finally, as Pat just mentioned, we concluded with the dedication of our memorial wall, a wall that recognizes 86 individuals, men and women, who have lost their lives while deployed on law enforcement and rule of law missions overseas since the year 1989. We were honored to have with us the families of 22 of them, and we are going to hang that wall – or install it – here in State Department headquarters, where it will be a permanent reminder to all of us of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to support law enforcement, corrections, and rule of law operations overseas.
Our message in each one of these events was very simple: What happens overseas has an impact on us, our homes, our streets, our communities. And if we did not learn that lesson on September 11, 2001 or – in the city of New York – or a month ago at the finish line of the Boston marathon, perhaps we can learn it again every time we walk past our memorial wall.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, may I offer the microphone to the distinguished Commissioner of the New York Police Department?
MR. KELLY: Thank you, Ambassador. Yes, we’re here, or I was here this morning, to receive a recognition award from Secretary Brownfield for the NYPD participation in the State Department’s international program. I think it’s fair to say, in the reality of the world in which we live, that if you are going to combat terrorism, if you’re going to combat transnational crime, you’re going to have to cooperate and be able to operate across borders and cross the jurisdictions.
Now, the NPYD has been doing that for a while. I think our diversity is particularly helpful in that regard. We have police officers who have been born in 90 countries, and in our last seven police academy classes of a thousand or more recruits, we have had graduates born outside the country from 50 or more countries in each of those classes. We see it as being mutually beneficial, certainly beneficial to the New York City Police Department. We police probably the most diverse city in the world, so it enables us to, I think, better interact with those many, many communities.
We’ve been working in Haiti under an agreement with the State Department since 2010, and I believe we’ve had a positive impact there. I myself worked in Haiti in 1994-1995. I was the director of the international police monitors. And since we’ve deployed our officers in 2009-2010, we focused on training the Haitian police in investigating kidnapping and to help them sort of organize their records, and we also helped them with their high-profile kidnapping case, the Brandt case, which took place last year.
After the earthquake, we sort of redoubled our efforts. Besides putting additional resources on the ground, additional personnel, that’s when we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the State Department. That memorandum calls for us having NYPD officers on the ground. All of the officers that we send there are Haitian-born, they’re Creole speakers, and we’ll have at least six on the ground at any given time. So far we’ve had 68 New York City police officers cycled through that program, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the State Department and work with Haitian Government in that regard.
Also, thanks to a State Department grant, we’ve been working with the Jordanian police, focusing primarily on domestic violence. We’ve had judges come over. We’ve had people involved in domestic violence intervention come over. And not only have they seen what we do in the police department, we’ve seen other city agencies as well. So we look forward, as I say, to continuing our relationship with the State Department and with the various governments with which we’re working now.
MR. VENTRELL: Okay, we have time for a couple of questions here.
Go ahead, Scott from VOA.
QUESTION: How have you seen the Haitian police recover since the earthquake? Obviously, they were affected, as was everyone in Haiti. That would provide a challenge to any law enforcement.
MR. KELLY: I think it’s a slow process, no question about it. We believe – talking to the Ambassador about this, we believe that the Haitian police have to be increased. We are helpful with their training. Certainly, INL is helpful with the training as well. But they just need a larger police force, and they need to continue the training regimen that they’ve been receiving, both internally but also from the U.S. personnel as well. So they’ve got a ways to go. I’ve seen improvements, certainly improvements since I was there in the mid-’90s, but still a work in progress.
MR. VENTRELL: Jill from CNN.
QUESTION: Hi. I just wanted to ask – I was struck by that figure of the 86 people, Mr. Ambassador, dying since 1989. Could you remind me again, who are they? And it seems extraordinarily high. Are they – do they actually participate in dangerous operations?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Yeah. Yeah. Jill, it – in fact, it not only seems very high, it is very high. It’s almost frighteningly high. More U.S. law enforcement personnel have died while deployed on U.S. Government police advising, training, and assisting missions overseas in the last 24 years than have U.S. diplomats or Foreign Service officers. And this would incorporate the Kenya and Tanzania bombings. It would include some of the attacks in the Middle East as well, obviously, as Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a very high number. We have lost them nearly 50 percent in Iraq and Afghanistan, all obviously in the last 10 years. But that constitutes between them only a bit more than half. You might be surprised to learn how many we have lost in places like Bosnia and Kosovo. We lost one in Haiti. We’ve lost several in Colombia, several in Peru. The truth of the matter is this is a far broader package than just Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the end of the day, we are erecting this wall to memorialize them because, due to the nature of the other possible hosting organizations, the Department of State and the Foreign Service, of which I am a part and quite proud of it, as you know, has a wall, or several plaques on a wall at our C Street entrance, where we recognize those of us who have fallen while serving our nation overseas. These were police advisors. They were not Foreign Service officers, so they did not meet their rules. We went to the National Law Enforcement Memorial. Their rule is active duty U.S. police. Most of these were retired police who were deploying on missions for INL and the Department of State. They did not meet their test. So after several years, we made the decision that we will erect our own wall to recognize them. And they are kind of a combination of diplomats and Foreign Service officers because they are deployed on embassy missions overseas, and law enforcement officers because that is what they all are or were before they deployed.
I just had a ceremony. It lasted nearly an hour. And of course 25 of the families were there with us. And that should remind all of us that while we are talking about numbers and places, for them they’re talking about the loss of a mother or a father, a husband or a wife, a son or a daughter. And speaking only for myself, it was a very moving ceremony.
MR. VENTRELL: We’ve got time for one more question. Go ahead.
QUESTION: I’m going to do it in Spanish.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Is that for Commissioner Kelly?
QUESTION: Brownfield. (Laughter.) For Mr. Brownfield. (In Spanish.)
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: I am going to speak in English, of course, since I am here in the State Department’s press center, and respond to the question about concerns by some in the United States Congress about passing immigration reform until such time as there is assurance that narcotics trafficking across our borders is more effectively controlled. And my response, ma’am, is to say I obviously do not have a voice or a role or an opinion on this matter that is pending before the United States Congress. It will reach its decisions in accordance with its own rules and procedures and the decisions of the 535 members of the United States Congress.
I am committed, as the Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, to strengthen and support our efforts to control, reduce, and eventually eliminate the flow of illicit drugs into the United States of America; support for efforts by other countries to address the flow of illicit drugs; support by law enforcement and other institutions in other countries to combat the violence and the crime that is produced by the flow of those drugs. I am committed to that mission regardless of what happens on the matter of immigration, which is obviously a matter to be determined by the United States Congress.
MR. VENTRELL: I know the Commissioner has a flight, so I guess we have time for one more question.
QUESTION: Okay. And this is for either of you to answer. With regard to just the impact and effectiveness of U.S. presence on Latin American soil, can you speak a little bit about the kind of training that U.S. law enforcement can provide that maybe local officials are benefitting particularly from that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Do you want to start with Haiti and then I’ll follow more generally (inaudible) countries, if you don’t mind, (inaudible)?
MR. KELLY: Yeah. I think as a nation and society, we do democratic policing very well. And it is something that I think we can export effectively. When we go to these other countries, and Haiti – because we both had experience in Haiti – we can see how much appreciated it is. We also see how much they need and how much we have to give. We have experienced law enforcement people, some of them certainly retired, have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and it’s very much appreciated. The whole series of things – the use of force for instance, the proper interrogation procedures, the maintenance of evidence, just the gathering of evidence – some things that we consider very rudimentary in this country simply are not in many of the places of the world. So we as a nation, in my judgment, have an awful lot to give when it comes to teaching democratic policing in many corners of the world.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: And I’d just add more globally, I mean, as you all know, this is not a one-size-fits-all world. In some countries, some governments, some law enforcement communities, the engagement that we do with them is very focused, very specialized, dealing with specific issues. In others, countries are starting from a very, very low base, and you are in essence working with them to create from scratch a law enforcement community and a law enforcement profession.
Our challenge, obviously, is to put the right resources, the right talent set and skill set, into the individual country to reflect its reality. Sometimes those countries are in the midst of tremendous security crises, and that affects what we can do and where we can do it. Sometimes those countries are, in fact, quite peaceful but have institutions that do not work particularly well. Sometimes the countries are small, sometimes the countries are big. There is no one-size-fits-all model.
The four words that we use that cover virtually everything that we do in terms of law enforcement engagement is: train, equip, advise, assist. And we will do one or more of those missions anywhere that we are deployed. And in some cases we might do all four; in others it might be nothing more than just one element of them.
Where are we engaged right now? We have dramatically drawn down our police engagement in Iraq along with the rest of the United States Government’s activities in Iraq. You will still find a substantial amount of engagement with law enforcement in Afghanistan and its partner – or its neighbor Pakistan. We are substantially engaged in West Africa. We are building more relationships in Southeast Asia. And it will not come as a surprise to you at all; the region of the world where we are most engaged in law enforcement activities is here in the Western Hemisphere: Mexico, Central American, South America, and the Caribbean. And that in and of itself probably comprises nearly one half of all of our support and engagement with and for law enforcement throughout the world.
MR. VENTRELL: Okay. Thank you very much.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Thanks very much.