Interview with John Klooger, ILEA Team Leader

This month, the RTC was privileged to host John Koogler and Neal Nightingale- ILEA Team Leader and Program Officer from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). This was their first visit to the RTC and I had the opportunity to sit with John for a quick interview on his general thoughts on the RTC program.

INL Global ILEA Team Leader

Global ILEA Team Leader

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is John Koogler and I am the Team Leader for the Global ILEA Program. The program is made up of five International Law Enforcement Academies as well as the Regional Training Center.


How important is the RTC program in the fulfilment of INL’s mission?


The RTC fills a unique place in INL’s training strategy, as an environment where key officers can train alongside regional international colleagues, on important issues related to Transnational Organized Crime. Courses and curriculum are specifically designed in part to build on the individual trainings that INL may sponsor in one particular country.


Where does the RTC fit into the global picture of INL’s foreign technical assistance efforts?


Each facility in the ILEA program plays a similar role in emphasizing the unique aspects of multilateral cooperation in fighting Transnational Organized Crime. The RTC plays a key role because it allows INL to focus a concentrated effort on the specific challenges faced by the West African Law Enforcement Community.


Thus far, how will you evaluate the success of the RTC program?


The alumni who complete their training at the RTC consistently reach back to share their success stories with us. While we do measure the immediate success of courses through testing, the true value and effectiveness of the training can only be conveyed through the alumnus’ communication with us once they return to duty. Our staff at the RTC put a lot of effort into building and maintaining the relationship and communication with alumni and it is through such communication that we are able to measure the successes of our participants and by extension, help them confront law enforcement challenges in their countries.


Looking to the future- How do you see the RTC program evolve to handle emerging trends and address new regional needs?


Every year, the program enlists the help of U.S. embassies and law local law enforcement agencies based in the region for input for courses that they would like to see at our facilities. With this constant input from the region, the RTC is always evolving. At the same time, there are certain fundamental skills that will always be key success in combatting Transnational Organized Crime. Leadership, Anti-Corruption, Counter Narcotics, Trafficking in Persons – these are only a few major examples of core challenges that endure year after year. The RTC then combines these core skills with the feedback we receive from participant countries on their emerging threats, to ensure that our training is always at the cutting edge of criminal justice sector reform.


Finally John, I know this is your first trip to Ghana. What are your thoughts on my beautiful country?


(Insert short laughter) Well I have in the past, travelled extensively to West Africa. English being my native language, this presented a unique opportunity to visit and not feel lost! It is quite unfortunate that I could not spend a longer period here to tour the country properly, but the little time I’ve had will ensure that I definitely come back!


It was a pleasure to have John and Neal visit the RTC and have a firsthand RTC training experience. We value their commitment to see the RTC chalk even greater accomplishments and develop strong law enforcement capacity in the region. I am delighted that John loved our famous chili sauce that will definitely bring him back next year! Do write to us at if you have any questions for our Team Lead and Program Officer and we’ll be sure to pass along your questions!


[Post by: Sarah Dadson. Sarah is the Delegate & Alumni Coordinator for the West Africa Regional Training Center. Email her at]