Scores of Bahamian graduates from the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) were hosted to a first of its kind welcome reception at the residence of U.S. Embassy Nassau, Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts on Thursday, March 23.
ILEAs were established in 1995 by U.S. President Bill Clinton to combat international drug trafficking, criminality and terrorism through strengthened international cooperation and world class training opportunities.
The academies are a joint endeavor between the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury. They are based in Ghana, Hungary, Thailand, Botswana, New Mexico and in El Salvador. The latter serves Latin America and the Caribbean.
Over the years, 422 Bahamians from the Royal Bahamas Police Force; the Financial Intelligence Unit, Public Prosecutions; the Departments of Immigration, Customs, and Correctional Services have benefited from training offered by ILEA San Salvador, located in Central America.
Chargé Pitts commended those individuals for their accomplishments, noting that carving out time for training and professional development is vital to best serving their communities.
ILEA’s training of police, prosecutors, and judges on a variety of topics – from tactical to technical – have yielded impressive results.
“If you look at the ILEA program worldwide, we have well over $1 billion in seizures of illicit goods, hundreds of arrests, recovered kidnapped victims, recovered trafficked persons, you name it. Those are the stories we have to tell, and those are the stories we are here to share and to celebrate with my sisters and brothers from Bahamian law enforcement,” said ILEA director Dimas Jaen.
For Julia Cabus, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) and Assistant Director of The Diplomatic Security Service for Training Bureau of Diplomatic Security, The Bahamas’ 422 graduates are a good start. She noted, an investment in training from the U.S. government in the form of attendance at an ILEA Academy sponsored class is “the very least we can do for you.”
“I’d like to come back in the near future and see that number double, maybe triple, because the opportunities are endless,” she said.
With new investigative techniques and tactics acquired from ILEA, Bahamian law enforcement officers are better equipped to stem the tide of transnational crime.
RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander, a 2010 graduate of ILEA’s Law Enforcement Management Development Program, expressed his appreciation of the “high quality” training programs offered by ILEA.
He lauded the achievements of three distinguished alumni who have excelled in leadership: Assistant Superintendent Anthony McCartney and Chief Superintendents David Lockhart and Shanta Knowles.
ASP McCartney led investigations of public officials suspected of corruption. He now heads the Financial Crimes Investigation Branch. Chief Superintendent Lockhart oversees the Traffic Division, presides over the RBPF Disciplinary Tribunal and sits on the Junior Executive Leadership Team.
Chief Superintendent Shanta Knowles investigated, charged and gained a conviction in the country’s first human trafficking case. She is the first female officer to lead the Criminal Investigation Department and now heads the Eleuthera Division. She is also a member of the Junior Executive Leadership Team.
Commissioner Fernander congratulated all ILEA alumni on their commitment to service and country.