Published March 24, 2020
We are happy to bring you the final part of our interview with our Program Officer. In this read out, Miss Mitchell shares with us how the RTC program has evolved to meet regional demands and emerging criminal threats. Stay tuned.
From a program officer’s perspective, how have you seen the RTC program evolve to meet emerging security trends?
Over the last five years, the RTC has undergone an incredible evolution in response to the changing environment in West Africa. The RTC’s relocation to its current facility is a concrete example of how the program has further placed itself as the premier training operation in the region. The program office coordinates very closely with both leaders in West Africa and U.S. law enforcement agencies to ensure RTC is focused on emerging threats. Director Lampley works very closely with senior officials in the law enforcement community in West Africa to identify their training needs. Additionally, the program office maintains a constant dialogue with our federal agency partners, like the FBI and DEA, to ensure what they’re seeing in their investigations is included in the curriculum. Together, we use that feedback to build the RTC’s schedule. When we find that there is a need that is not being met, we take the feedback and work with our U.S. federal agency partners to develop new courses that will address the gap. From traditional crimes such as corruption to high tech cybercrime, the program is poised to address the dominant threats identified by our partners. This includes developing advanced content and incorporating leadership training into the curriculum. As the RTC has broadened its reach and scope in identifying and addressing these training needs, the size and complexity of the program has grown exponentially and bears little resemblance to the curriculum just a few years ago.
Where do you see the RTC program in the next 5 years?
There will always be the need to address criminal activity and the ILEA program can assist with that. In Ghana we have an excellent host. The Government of Ghana (GOG) is very much engaged with the RTC. One area where we might deepen our partnership is sharing tactical space at Ghanaian law enforcement academies, so we might expand the catalog of courses that RTC can host. We are training thousands of law enforcement officers annually and there is the desire to gauge the impact of our training because that is the importance of the program. The needs of our participants in country are growing. Criminal activities transcend borders, cultures and languages. Another thing we’re looking at is possible intercontinental exchanges on topics including counter narcotics, where participants from RTC might converge with participants from ILEA San Salvador to address the intercontinental drug trade and flows of illicit finance. Finally, we would like to build on the great work of the team at the RTC to continue to keep our alumni engaged and active in the IGN by hosting alumni events across the region. This will be an opportunity for alumni to meet other ILEA graduates from their country and learn about their successes. In the next few years, we also plan to develop mentoring opportunities that will keep our alumni engaged well after leaving class.
How best can the RTC leverage its alumni database in a way that adds value to the program?
We often view the RTC as a model within the program for alumni outreach activities. It is worth commending the RTC for a lot of great alumni outreach initiatives through repeated newsletters and surveys. We have come a long way with our alumni outreach but we’re working on doing even more. We know that there is a lot of work going on in the countries of officers that are being trained. We have seen how the ILEA training have contributed to the success of our alumni. We have seen officers rise through the ranks and become heads of their organizations and so I anticipate that the alumni network will expand. With continued engagement with our alumni we will be able to measure the impact of the trainings on the professional development of the alumni and more broadly within their organizations. We expect to continuously build relationships between the U.S law enforcement and foreign law enforcement. One thing that we will look at doing is potentially implementing things like refresher trainings for our alumni. The refresher training will not replace traditional basic classroom training but our federal and state local law enforcement agency partners can be basically there to provide refresher training for our alumni and be a resource for our alumni. We are in a good position now but we need to keep strengthening our outreach capabilities. One of the best parts of the IGN is the ability for our participants to share their successes with us in the program office. This is critical because it helps us let out partners know how valuable their engagement is and why they should continue to provide resources to the ILEA program. While we can always report how many officers we trained, it is much more valuable to hear exactly which skills participants used to handle a case, if they worked with any of their contacts from the program, if they worked with their U.S. federal agency partners, and what was the final result. Stories like these help us make the case to increase our funding and, consequently, expand the reach of the RTC.
We appreciate the feedback Miss Mitchell. We are positive that alumni have a clearer understanding of the role they play and the value they add to the program.