On February 24, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Lisa A. Johnson toured the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Police Training College and Canine Unit with Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage and Commissioner of Police Mr. Ellison Greenslade. The purpose of the visit was to see the results of several ongoing projects funded by the Embassy’s International Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Section through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). In calendar year 2015, INL trained more than 420 law enforcement and justice sector officials through more than 50 different training and technical assistance programs and provided more than $2.17 million in technical assistance and equipment. One of the biggest beneficiaries of assistance was the Royal Bahamas Police Force. On Wednesday, the Chargé and Minister Nottage saw the results of several INL-funded projects, including: the upgrade of a model classroom with state-of-the-art video teleconferencing equipment; the installation, site-specific scenario filming, and train-the-trainer training for two firearms training simulators; and the provision of training, drug detection dogs, and canine transportation vehicles.
The first stop on the Chargé and Minister’s tour was a model classroom renovated in 2015 with support from the INL Section. The classroom houses state-of-the-art video teleconferencing equipment—called CBSI Connect—that enables the RBPF Police Training College to collaborate virtually both across the organization and with other police academies in the Caribbean. The project originated at a CBSI Technical Working Group meeting in Jamaica in July 2012, during which Caribbean countries expressed their interest in exploring the feasibility of using technology that would facilitate virtual regional law enforcement trainings. The technology is now operational in all CBSI partner nations. In The Bahamas, INL technology contractor MetroStar Systems has provided more than 20 RBPF officers with initial and refresher training on operating the system, collaborating with other police academies, and uploading on-demand training content.
To increase the RBPF’s capacity to provide initial and refresher use of force training for officers, INL provided two firearms training simulators, inclusive of site-specific scenario filming and train-the-trainer training, for the police colleges in Nassau and Freeport. The equipment—which arrived in January 2016—presents realistic, life-size, interactive use of force training scenarios that require officers to take action with their weapons; it also provides feedback for successful performance through hit detection. During the Chargé and Minister’s tour, Commissioner Greenslade noted that the equipment provided a completely new training capability for the police force.
Finally, the Chargé and Minister received a canine handling demonstration from one of four passive drug detection dogs previously donated by the INL Section. The drug-sniffing dogs were provided in conjunction with intensive canine handler training at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Front Royal Canine Academy from June-September 2014. Four RBPF Canine Officers attended the course, which aimed to enhance the unit’s ability to participate in counternarcotics operations. During the tour, the Chargé and Minister learned that one of the other U.S.-trained handler-canine teams were away on a law enforcement mission. INL also provided the unit with two Ford Expeditions complete with police and canine packages. The first was delivered in October 2013 and the second was delivered in September 2015. The Chargé noted that U.S. assistance for the Canine Unit is one small, but important, part of ongoing U.S.-Bahamas counternarcotics cooperation.
At the conclusion of the tour, the Chargé presented the Minister with plaques commemorating U.S. support for both the Police Training College and the Canine Unit. The two also discussed several INL-funded projects planned for 2016, including completing renovations at the college and providing updated furniture to enhance the learning environment there.