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[FYI] FBI Training Eastern European Police

[ from: The Hungary Report #1.28, free weekly, direct from Budapest ]
[ retransmitted to list without permission to increase distribution ]

  FBI School Teaches New Tricks to Old Enemies

  By Susan Milligan   Copyright (c) 1995

  In matching navy blue polo shirts, the students sat transfixed as
  they watched slides showing the destruction of the Oklahoma City and
  World Trade Center bombings.

  "God forbid you should ever have anything like this happen over
  here," American instructor Ed Burwitz told his Central European
  class, outfitted with headphones for simultaneous translation of the
  lecture. "It is a tough task for any
  freedom-loving country to prevent terrorism," he added.

  The class on forensics is typical of what goes on in law enforcement
  academies across America. But in this classroom, the instructors are
  teaching crime-fighting tactics to students from onetime enemy

  "This could not have happened five years ago," said Laszlo Simon, the
  Hungarian director of the International Law Enforcement Academy here.
  "We don't preach or teach," said Leslie Kaciban, the American
  director of the newly-opened facility. Instead, the American
  instructors - culled from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies
  - share information and experiences with the students for them to
  adapt to their systems.

  Students from Hungary, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and other
  Central and Eastern European nations attend ILEA's 8-week sessions,
  the first of which began in April.

  The United States fronted $2.5 million to renovate the campus, which
  includes a brand-new gym, classrooms, dormitories and one of
  Hungary's few indoor tennis courts. The Hungarian government
  contributed $500,000 to renovate the facility,
  but the U.S. will pay the $3.5 million yearly cost to operate the
  center, which is modeled after the law enforcement training center in
  Quantico, Va.

  The facility looks like any other college campus - students go on
  field trips together, take "wellness" physical fitness class
  together, and will have a yearbook and alumni newsletter.
  The idea is to help the Eastern Europeans with their burgeoning
  crimes problems, as well as to foster cooperation on international
  crime problems.

  "I'm amazed at the freedom of travel that is possible" after the
  opening up of the Eastern nations, Burwitz said. But "that means
  criminals can travel as well," he said, allowing them to traffic
  drugs and contraband. "The more interaction we have with these
  countries in law enforcement, the better it will be for emerging
  democracies," Kaciban said.

  Class topics range from "human dignity" - how to treat a crime
  suspect - to undercover operations and fraud. April's bombing of the
  federal building in Oklahoma City is being used as an example in
  several classes.

  In "crisis management," students will learn "how to contain it (a
  crisis) and keep it from erupting," said instructor Stephen Brooks,
  who helped handle the Oklahoma City bombing. Big-scale bombings are
  not common to this part of the world, students said. But they said
  they learned a lot about how to fight organized crime, which is
  mushrooming in the aftermath of the fall of communism. "They told
  they have a lot of problems (with organized crime), and that it's
  better if we learn from their mistakes," said Hungarian student
  Vilmos Szeplaki.

  Organized crime is doubly damaging to the emerging nations, because
  it undermines their economies, Kaciban said. Investors are naturally
  reluctant to dump money into a nation if they believe there is
  rampant corruption. Some teachings do not translate for the European
  students. For example, there is no Russian RICO - the Racketeer
  Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that is one of the strongest
  American legal tools against organized crime.

  Eastern European crime syndicates tend not to be based in crime
  families, instructors said. And organized crime in Russia and Ukraine
  is so much a part of the society, that it's hard to stop it, said Amy
  O'Neil, a State Department official not involved in the ILEA. "Under
  the communist system, you basically did what you could get away with.
  Everyone broke laws," O'Neil said. "That's how you survived."

  Both students and teachers said there was a remarkable similarity,
  however, in the use of evidence and investigatory tools among the
  countries. Eastern Europeans are very familiar with the use of DNA
  testing, for example, to identify suspects, although they don't
  always have the money to do it, Burwitzsaid."There are different
  orders of laws between the U.S. and here," said a Czech student who
  would identify himself only as Milan. "But essentially, we have the
  same methods of investigation."

                                                * * *
  Susan Milligan <[email protected]> is a free-lance writer and
  stringer for the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Examiner, Business
  Central Europe and Hollywood Reporter.