Home News Stories 2004 February Budapest International Law Enforcement Academy, Part 1

Budapest International Law Enforcement Academy, Part 1

Strengthening the Global Rule of Law, Part 1
A Remarkable Partnership Is Born In Budapest

02/04/04

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The Cold War had just ended. Suddenly, entire swaths of Europe and central Asia were freed from the yoke of communism and set out to build new societies based on democracy and human rights.

Just as suddenly, aggressive criminal enterprises, likewise freed from totalitarian restraints, sprang up to capitalize on new freedoms and more open borders by setting up transnational criminal operations.

In the early 1990s, progressive government leaders in central and eastern Europe began discussions with the FBI and others about how to build modern, democratic policing systems that would value freedom and civil rights and yet be capable of responding strongly to these transnational criminals.

Out of those discussions, an innovative idea was born: the International Law Enforcement Academy, or ILEA. The plan? To teach police managers in these fledgling democracies cutting-edge leadership skills, anti-corruption strategies, human rights, counterterrorism investigative techniques, major case management approaches, and other issues critical to building the rule of law in their countries. And to do it through unprecedented partnerships—engaging dozens of U.S. agencies and organizations to make it happen in concert with the Hungarian National Police and drawing in experts from around the globe to conduct the training.

In April 1995, this concept was brought to life in the historic city of Budapest.

Since then, the Budapest ILEA has been a resounding success, training more than 2,000 professionals from 27 nations (from Albania to Lithuania to Uzbekistan) in an intensive eight-week training program modeled on the FBI's National Academy and another 7,100 police in various specialty courses and regional programs. It has also spawned other ILEAs—in Bangkok; Gaborone; and Roswell, New Mexico, with more planned.

The benefits to the U.S.? Plenty. Stronger legal and police systems overseas mean fewer attacks on the U.S. from abroad. And law enforcement partnerships built in Budapest and elsewhere are instrumental in helping the FBI and its colleagues track down fugitives, share information, and turn back serious criminal and security threats in this global age.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about an important new addition to the Budapest ILEA and how it will further cement international partnerships.

Photo of ILEA classroom courtesy of the U.S. State Department.