The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Context and Challenges:
Though Senegal is a stable democracy, it continues to face governance challenges related to increasing citizen expectations for responsive security and justice, particularly in the face of growing violent extremism in the region. Strong political will and citizen engagement have created a window of opportunity for Senegal to focus on reinforcing good governance, stability, and its role as regional leader.
The United States is helping Senegal establish effective and legitimate police, justice, and corrections institutions to improve governance and promote long-term stability. INL supports Senegal’s criminal justice sector reforms to improve citizen security and increase transparency and accountability. INL law enforcement programming targets efforts to improve road safety and public order management, two security challenges jointly identified by police and community representatives. INL activities have been primarily funded through the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP).
INL’s police efforts have brought together Senegalese communities and law enforcement to discuss shared security challenges. For example, a workshop related to security in university spaces in the northern Senegalese city of St. Louis was the first time representatives of the student unions and security services met face to face to discuss security issues. Previous interactions had been largely limited to confrontations during student demonstrations. Since the workshops, there has not been a major outbreak of violence related to student demonstrations.
In 2017, INL partnered with Senegal to host the first West-African prison professionalization prison exercise and competition. Inspired by their experiences at the annual Mock Prison Riot in West Virginia, Senegal’s Prison Administration took the initiative to host this event, which included scenario-based training, skills competitions, and regional dialogues with delegates from Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, and Senegal. This event catalyzed regional sharing among the countries related to prison reform, including the creation of a regional network that it is used to share best practices in managing prisons.