In an effort to take their mandate out to the people, the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) officials hosted the media at their base in Otse to make them appreciate and learn the academy’s operations and objectives on Wednesday. ILEA’s Programmes Director Joseph Augeri said it is important for the people to understand their mandate. Augeri said the goal of ILEA is to build law enforcement capacity by providing world class training as well as support criminal justice institutions. He said the main aim is to have a unified police force to combat transnational crime affecting different countries. Augeri said they strengthen cooperation among the law enforcement communities of Botswana, the United States and other countries. ILEA was set up under a bilateral agreement between the government of Botswana and the United States. It is headed by officials from both countries. The academy offers a wide range of courses on law enforcement skills that can assist to the combat of transnational crimes. These include among others forensics, prosecuting organised crime, wildlife investigations, customs interdiction and public corruption among others. Instructors from different US law enforcement agencies such as FBI, CIA and the others offer specialised training at the centre. ILEA’s Maseng Mathiba concurred with Augeri that Batswana need to know and understand what purpose the academy serves. Mathiba said ILEA’s purpose should not be misinterpreted for something that it is not. He reiterated that ILEA serve to buttress democratic governance by promoting citizen security and the rule of law to increase social, political and economic stability through stability.
During ILEA’s visit the media had an opportunity to tour the state of the art facility. They also met some of the instructors from the US Fish and Wildlife Services who were running the Wildlife Trafficking course. The Lead Instructor Sean Mann said they have been running the course since 2002. He said after realising that poaching and wildlife trafficking was a problem across countries they came up with a course to teach law enforcement officers from different countries how to combat it. “Poaching is an organised crime and it is a major problem across all the nations. This is the reason why we came up with this course to help combat it uniformly,” said Mann. He added that since the course started they are happy with it and how it has been received. ILEA is currently running the four weeks course for 34 participants from 32 countries. Since inception the ILEA has trained over 8000 law enforcement officials for 34 African countries. Mann said to make sure the course was effective they keep in touch with the participants even after the course. “It is not just a four weeks course but we also keep in contact with the applicants after the course. We continue to help them with whatever problems they might face as well as to check how they are doing,” he said.