Interview with INL Program Officer Mr. Nightingale

Mr. Nightingale at the RTC during the CVE Community Policing Course

We are pleased to feature one of INL’s Program Officers to the RTC Program - Mr. Nightingale. It was a pleasure to host him during our recent Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Course and engage him in a conversation on the training program. Let’s hear what he has to say!

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I am a program officer for the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) program. There are six (6) ILEA academies worldwide including the RTC – we provide all of the assistance to implement the training programs worldwide.

You've been a Program Officer for the RTC since its inception. Over the years, we've seen the program evolve to meet emerging security trends. Could you speak to that evolution and what fuels that process?

The evolution of the training and curriculum is largely driven by the administration in power and also the leadership within the program. Courses have stayed fairly consistent overtime. Several years ago the program was a bit stagnant with little to no innovations to the curriculum; however, thanks to strong leadership on the program we have increased the amount of innovation to be able to address many security related issues and trends.

Building on my previous question, we are seeing more courses under the CVE theme. Is this a new direction for INL? Where does that leave the traditional investigative courses which are still critical in combatting transnational organized crime?

The traditional investigative courses are always going to be a priority.  Essentially these courses are no different from the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) courses. To some extent we’ve been developing new CVE courses but also re-branding what is already being done to meet policy priorities. INL is focused on the preventive side of CVE. We are looking at the drivers of violent extremism such as grievances and corruption within the community. Those are some of the drivers that lead community members to want to commit acts of violence. So we are offering this course this week on community oriented policing with emphasis on how the police can interact with the community to mitigate violent extremism within the community by building relationships and trust. If law enforcement has a good relationship with the community, they gain additional information from the community to prevent and deter criminal activity.

Let's talk about sustainability. As long as there is criminal activity, there will be the need for law enforcement. Where do you see the RTC program in the next five years?

Absolutely! 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. We are training thousands of law enforcement officers annually and there is a strong desire to gauge the impact of our training on the participants we are serving. The in-country needs of our participants are growing. Criminal activities transcend borders, cultures and languages. Criminal activities are international in nature; we know for example that narcotics produced in South America are trafficked to West Africa and delivered to consumers in Europe. How can West African countries build partnerships with South American countries to gain operational knowledge in criminal activity? So expect to see the program expand to establish linkages with partners across the globe.

Having been in existence for over 5 years now, the RTC has built a solid alumni database within the region. Do you think the RTC is doing its best to leverage its alumni database in a way that builds on the program?

Mr. Nightingale on a visit at the RTC

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 need to do better. We know that there is a lot of work going on in the countries of the officers being trained. We have seen how the ILEA trainings 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.

Does INL consider local content and context when building these courses? Is there room for local instruction to complement existing USG resources?

Yes, it is definitely something worth considering.  At some of our other academies we do have local instructions. In San Salvador we have the government of Colombia teach a course on kidnapping investigations, so we are not be opposed to having a government come in and teach a course. There is the need for a validation process and a strong justification for why a particular government is best suited to instruct. We can work with our federal and state local law enforcement partners in the U.S, to partner with local resources in implementing training courses at the RTC to ensure that they can incorporate local instruction into the courses. We hear that repeatedly on our end of course evaluation that whiles the U.S instruction is great; it needs to incorporate more local capability. We definitely want to advance our curriculum so that we do incorporate local resources.

What are your thoughts about the new RTC facility? Should we anticipate additional training to be added to the current course schedule?

I think we have an excellent facility. Because we now have a larger training space we have been aggressively pursuing external funding from our other partners that work with federal law enforcement agencies like DEA/CBP to offer law enforcement focused trainings at the RTC. Additionally we have consulted with the U.S embassy and with the support of the Ambassador, we will allow outside law enforcement partners come in and use the facility as well. So we have a lot of partnerships that we have developed and we can use those partnerships to our advantage to fill the space at the RTC.

In conclusion, I would like to express my appreciation to all the Ghanaian people, who always go out of their way to make my visit pleasant.


Thank you Mr. Nightingale for your continued support to the program. It was pleasure hosting you at the RTC and we hope to have you back soon!