Looking for Heroes

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Article for Police Chief Magazine
February 2011

By Virginia Ramadan
Director for Iraq Affairs

We’re looking for heroes to build heroes – experienced law enforcement officers to develop the skills of police forces in post-conflict environments such as Iraq.

The U.S. Department of State has been working in Iraq since 2003 to train police personnel, border agents, police administrators, and academy instructors. Through its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the State Department helps the Government of Iraq fight organized crime, disrupt counterfeit rings, defeat trafficking operations, and prevent assassinations.

This operation is about to take on a new look. Beginning in mid-2011, INL will be the one on the beat developing law enforcement capacity in Iraq when the U.S. police training mission transitions from Department of Defense to State Department leadership. This shift from a military-led to a civilian-led effort means the skills and experience of U.S. law enforcement officers are more valuable than ever in Iraq. The change to civilian leadership will move the focus away from basic training and force generation, to an emphasis on community policing, senior-level police development, and specialized skills training.

As part of this work, the State Department recently awarded a Police Education grant to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). This grant will bring as many as 120 selected Iraqi police professionals to the United States to work with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to learn specialized skills. When they return to Iraq, these police leaders will bring new expertise and a better understanding of how to develop their own professional police force.

While the grant-funded project will be implemented within the U.S., the main focus of the civilian-led police development program is on the ground in Iraq at the Ministry of Interior, national and provincial police colleges and academies, and provincial police headquarters. In building a team of qualified and capable advisors, INL is actively recruiting for senior and mid-level positions to serve one-year missions in Iraq. This experience will provide U.S. police officers, both active and retired, with the opportunity to contribute to one of the largest post-conflict police development missions in the world and represent the U.S. abroad. As U.S. police officers partner with Iraqi ministers, commanders, and police chiefs who will have great impact on the future of the Iraqi police service, they will expand their personal and professional skill sets while learning from international partners and experiencing a diverse place and culture.

The State Department’s Office of Iraq Programs is actively seeking officers for the following positions:

Police Training Advisors, experienced in U.S. law enforcement operations, management, organizational development, planning or training, will plan and coordinate the delivery of a broad range of police training and development services, as well as provide technical and management oversight for police development, create police training curriculum, and mentor Ministry of Interior officials on effective management skills.

Senior Police Advisors will assume responsibility for the planning, development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of police development, providing law enforcement expertise and guidance in establishing strategic goals and objectives. Serving in a supervisory role, advisors will conduct ongoing reviews of programs, evaluating successes according to established operational goals.

U.S. police experts serving missions in Iraq receive training and an overview of the mission prior to traveling overseas, and the State Department covers the salary, travel, and training costs for each officer’s tour of service, releasing valuable financial resources for the home police department. Officers return to their agencies with enhanced credentials, international exposure, cultural and community knowledge, and Federal experience.

In addition to enriching your own career, your participation will provide expertise that is vital to Iraq’s future stability, and we invite you to join us as we assist in restoring a secure environment for the people of Iraq.

Those interested in learning more about these opportunities should contact Ron Dervish at dervishrj@state.gov or Brent Pfundheller at PfundhellerBO@state.gov in the Office of Iraq Programs.