Newsletter: The INL Beat, Fall 2009
In This Issue:
In Guadalajara, President Obama greeted students and instructors, including Detective Oscar Seledon of Chicago Police Department, from the Merida Initiative police investigator training course being conducted at the federal police training academy in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
INL Costa Rica Refurbishes Interceptor Boats
In 2001, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ office in the U.S. Embassy San Jose donated a 30-foot interceptor boat, dubbed “Scorpion 8,” to the Costa Rican Coast Guard (SNGC). While the boat has performed well for the Coast Guard in the years since, it was in need of a major overhaul to ensure continued quality service.
In March of 2009, Political/Narcotics Affairs Officer Robert Andrew and U.S. Navy Senior Chief Alberto Rios teamed-up to budget and plan the repairs and refit of this vessel together with SNGC maintenance technicians. Supporting with a budget of approximately $3000, the inboard motors of “Scorpion 8”were replaced with two outboard Yamaha 200 engines – the refit paid with INL funds and the engines coming from Costa Rican seized narco-organization assets. The Costa Rican maintenance technicians are most familiar with repairing and servicing Yamaha engines, and thus will be able to provide better maintenance for this vessel ensuring that its operational readiness rate will be higher than before.
Particularly rough sea conditions on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast pound interceptors, requiring regular hull repair and maintenance. Therefore, long overdue hull repairs were also performed on “Scorpion 8” that will enable the vessel to be fully sea-worthy once again.
Sr. Chief Rios, an experienced sailor with great knowledge of small boats and their repair, provided expert analysis and assistance to the SGNC and the INL office throughout the refit of “Scorpion 8”. With the possibility of further maritime interdiction funds coming to Costa Rica, U.S. Embassy San Jose anticipates being able to refit another previous donated interceptor soon.
Integrated Effort in Colombia Brings Rural Tumaco Communities “COMFORT”
Colombian National Police and patients outside a medical clinic in Boco Tomo.
A young girl suffering from burns in a cooking accident awaits medical treatment from the crew of the USS Comfort.
In June 2009, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) supported a week-long operation by the Colombian National Police to evacuate hundreds of patients from remote areas so that they could receive adequate medical care.
Working in conjunction with USAID and the U.S. Military Assistance Group, INL supported the Colombian National Police in transporting hundreds of patients from remote areas of the Tumaco municipality in order to receive treatment by the crew of the Unites States naval vessel “USS Comfort”, which was visiting the region. The operation is part of a broader effort by the Colombian government to bring security and economic opportunities to areas of the country most heavily affected by drug trafficking. In all, over 800 people received medical treatment.
The communities of Guayacana, Cajapi, and Descolgadera were chosen by the local Colombian National Police commander after three other USAID-supported communities withdrew out of fear of FARC rebel reprisals. However, even these villages were able to send around 300 people to Tumaco for medical attention with the help of USAID-provided fuel and INL-funded boat captains.
In another remote USAID-supported area of Bajo Mira, the Colombian National Police set up a clinic in Boco Tomo. Through the help of a locally employed INL medic, patients were examined so that those with severe injuries could be shuttled to the better equipped facility in Tumaco. Ailments treated ranged from vision loss among the elderly to children burnt in cooking accidents. One young girl, suffering from a particularly debilitating hand injury, was referred for surgery on the “USS Comfort”.
The ship visit provided a valuable opportunity for the Colombian police to make inroads in communities where security and social services are rare. INL is involved in other outreach opportunities in Tumaco, such as coordinating with the recently opened Justice House, supported by USAID, and continues to encourage regular police visits to these remote areas.
A Profile in Courage
High Point (NC) Police Patrolman Ken Leonard taking the department physical agility test—and passing.
International Police Advisor Ken Leonard had been serving in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ (INL) Iraq Mission for 16 months when his convoy was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device near Baghdad. He lost both of his lower legs in that explosion on December 30, 2005. After several operations and 15 months of physical therapy with two prosthetic legs, Ken was ready to go back to work. Back to work meant the High Point, North Carolina Police Department. Although many doubted that a former police officer missing his lower legs could return to the department, the Chief of Police told Ken that if he could pass the physical agility test, he could once again become a patrolman.
Ken took the test – and failed. He failed not because he wasn’t fit enough to pass, but because his prosthetic legs would get caught on the corrugated grooves of the pipe he had to crawl through. Not discouraged, Ken was fitted with new and more streamlined prosthetics and once again took the test. With the cheers and applause of his fellow police officers, Ken successfully passed the physical agility test on July 19, 2007, and has been serving honorably as a patrolman with the High Point Police Department since.
New Network Operations Center for Global INL"The new NOC improves GINL’s IT and communications capacity and increases information security and assurance protections."
After two years of planning and construction, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), officially opened its new Global INL (GINL) Network Operations Center (NOC), in Melbourne, Florida, in a ribbon-cutting dedication held on August 7, 2009. The new NOC improves GINL’s IT and communications capacity and increases information security and assurance protections.
GINL is primarily used to enable official INL communications and business. Core services include: Internet, intranet, email, voice-over-Internet and cell, custom business applications, and other IT/communications services. More INL users around the world in need of mobile and secure IT/Communications services will be supported as IM Division leaders anticipate that over the next year GINL’s scope will grow to 11 countries and over 100 sites.
INL Officer Wins Prestigious Annual Boren Alumni Award
INL Foreign Affairs Officer Tamara Crouse is the 2009 Sol Linowitz Award winner.
The Sol Linowitz Award was named in honor of Ambassador Sol Linowitz. Ambassador Linowitz was trained as a lawyer and became the General Counsel, and later Chairman of the Board of the Xerox Corporation. President Lyndon Johnson appointed Mr. Linowitz as Ambassador to the Organization of American States in 1966. He later served as a co-negotiator for the Panama Canal Treaties, and from 1979-1981 as President Carter’s personal representative to the Middle East Peace Negotiations.
This year’s winner, Tamara Crouse was awarded a Boren Fellowship in 2003 to study Uyghur in China. She earned a Master’s degree in Global Studies from the University of Denver in 2004. She has shown an outstanding commitment to serving our country through her work as an Intelligence Specialist within the U.S. Navy Reserve and as a Foreign Affairs Officer within the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). Ms. Crouse started with the Department of State in October 2006, and currently covers Peru and Ecuador with INL.
NSEP has awarded more than 3,500 scholarships and fellowships to U.S. students to study languages and cultures of the world that are less frequently studied, but critical to U.S. national security. NSEP is unique in the commitment of its award recipients to pursue public service, and pays tribute to the extraordinary contributions made by one Boren Scholar and one Boren Fellow each year with these awards.
Coast Guard Liaison Honored at State Department Award Ceremony
USCG Commander Phil Welzant was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Coast.
Eight Belizean Policemen in the U.S. for Advanced Training
Supt. Joseph Myvette; Asst. Supt. Simon Alvarez; Asst. Supt. Joachim Sabal; Inspectors Alton Alvarez; Bert Bowden; Cristobal Valerio; Andrew Ramirez; and Alden Dawson were selected to participate in the course.
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) sponsored eight Belizean police officers to study at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Roswell, New Mexico from September 14 – October 9, 2009. The Belizean officers joined officers from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Panama for the training session. This is the fourth time the Department of State, through the Merida Initiative, has sent participants from the Government of Belize to attend ILEA training in 2009.
The officers attended the Advanced Management Course which is designed for law enforcement personnel who are designated by their government as having responsibility for vital areas of national security. The challenging course focused on six areas, including: leadership; criminal justice in global crime issues; terrorist threats; technology; managing law enforcement organizations; and crisis management.
Educational Program in Nicaragua Aims to Curb Drug Use
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the United States Embassy Managua are working to expand a national pre-school education program by facilitating access to critical learning materials which could help reduce that country’s demand for illicit narcotics.
The “Segundo Paso” Program, which is part of the Merida Initiative, aims to curb destructive behavior and drug use in Nicaragua by addressing some of the emotional issues faced by young people. To relate to its young audience, the program uses puppets, video programs, and other materials to add a visual component to the learning environment.
INL and the U.S. Embassy Managua have helped facilitate access to the critical visual aid materials needed to run the program so that “Segundo Paso” could expand into new areas of the country and benefit a greater number of children.
The program, which costs around $10,000 a year, benefited approximately 500 children in 2008 and is expected to grow to about 900 beneficiaries over the course of the current year.
|Nicaraguan National Police and school officials readying INL-donated visual aids.|
U.S. Delivers Police Vehicles to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces
INL provided Dodge Charger police cruisers await deployment with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces.
This delivery is part of a larger INL initiative to assist legitimate, professional law enforcement institutions in Lebanon and is a symbol of U.S. support for the ISF, the Lebanese government, and the citizens of Lebanon. This assistance, which has included training for over 2,400 ISF officers and the refurbishment of ISF training facilities, will contribute to supporting a Lebanese Internal Security Force capable of protecting Lebanon’s territory and sovereignty.