UNCLAS PANAMA 000508
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM MCAP PM
SUBJECT: NAS PANAMA MID-YEAR FY 2007 REPORT OF ACTIVITIES
REF: Panama 492
Â¶1. (SBU) Summary: NAS had a busy and productive first half of FY
Â¶07. Our assistance was vital to preparing the imminent launch of
DEA's Title III wiretap program. We completed several major
donations to the National Police (PNP) and National Maritime Service
(SMN), including projects that improved both the infrastructure and
response capability of both institutions. NAS initiated the Police
Executive Leadership Seminar Series (PELSS) with the PNP and began
beta-testing crime mapping and analysis technology. NAS also renewed
support to the Culture of Lawfulness (COL) program and the Omar
Moreno foundation as part of our efforts to focus on anti-corruption
and demand reduction. End Summary.
Excellent Cooperation and Results
Â¶2. (SBU) NAS support has been crucial to the success of USG-GOP
bilateral efforts to interdict cocaine shipments, prosecute major
criminals, and improve the quality of police. The Attorney
General's Office and the Technical Judicial Police (PTJ), both major
recipients of NAS funding, work closely with U.S. law enforcement in
support of ebbing the flow of narcotics to the U.S. The GOP has
been extremely helpful in assisting in detaining and expelling
fugitives wanted in the U.S. During the first half of FY 07, there
were no less than five such assists in the areas child molestation,
methamphetamine smuggling and distribution, kidnapping, and fraud.
Â¶3. (SBU) Panama regularly contributes to investigations that result
in large seizures of illegal narcotics even though the actual
seizure is not made in Panama's jurisdiction. In some instances, as
much of 80% of the leg work is conducted in Panama, while for
strategic reasons actual operations are realized in other countries.
We are attempting to development an accurate method for reporting
this type of assistance.
Title III Program
Â¶4. (SBU) NAS provided funding to complete the final preparatory
stages for the launch of a Title III phone intercept program. The
program, soon to be operational, will be a key instrument in
pursuing drug-related activity and crimes in Panama as well as in
neighboring countries. The operational/analytical unit is made up
of vetted Attorney General (AG) Office personnel who will operate
NAS-donated equipment, and will be under the direction of the AG
National Maritime Service (SMN)
Â¶5. (SBU) A key aim of NAS support is to improve the infrastructure
and operational readiness of the SMN, which is currently unequipped
to face Panama's maritime challenges.
Â¶6. (U) NAS was able to complete projects improving the
infrastructure at the SMN's Pedregal base in David, Chiriqui
Province. This is a key post due to its location close to the Costa
Rican border on the Pacific. Projects completed included the
construction of a floating pier and a boat ramp. The base previously
did not have access to launch its small boats in response to law
enforcement or humanitarian missions.
Â¶7. (U) NAS also built a small storage area for over $500,000 in
spare parts to be used in the rehabilitation of four U.S.-donated
82-foot patrol boats. The facility will also store parts for the
Donzi fast boats that were donated to the SMN and the National
Police (PNP). It is located at the SMN main base in Panama City but
the inventory under NAS control.
Â¶8. (U) The rehabilitation of the first 82-foot boat is underway and
we are hoping to complete work by August 1. We plan to rehabilitate
all four vessels, giving the SMN two patrol boats for each coast.
The first vessel is undergoing the replacement of approximately 30%
of its hull. Subsequently, it will enter into dockside maintenance
in order to rebuild both engines and generators.
National Police (PNP) - Border and Interdiction Efforts
Â¶9. (U) NAS donated 15 HUMVEEs (eleven regular and four ambulances)
to the frontier division of the PNP. The vehicles will be used to
increase the police's capability for moving troops in the rough
terrain areas of both the Costa Rican and Colombian borders. The
ambulances will provide medevac capability for both PNP troops and
local residents in certain humanitarian cases. We procured a
two-year supply of spare parts for these vehicles.
Â¶10. (SBU) We worked with the frontier division's S-II unit to set
up small information collection teams that will work along both
border regions. NAS and other US law enforcement personnel made
several visits to border areas with the head of the police's S-II to
assist in strategic planning for these teams. NAS also worked
closely with the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) to visit border
area police bases and decide on strategic locations for donations
that are to be made under DOD operation Enduring Friendship.
National Police (PNP) - Modernization
Â¶11. (U) We recently completed the first two installations of the
Police Executive Leadership Seminar Series (PELSS), which were held
in January and March, respectively (reftel). The PELSS concept,
developed by our NAS police advisor, is custom designed to help the
PNO become the first community oriented police agency in Latin
America. PELSS I & II were delivered to the 32 top commanders in
the PNP in a unique partnership with a team of top managers from the
Miami Dade Police Department. The key goals were to promote a
thorough understanding of the SARA model of problem solving and to
assign a practical SARA exercise to be performed by each student.
Â¶12. (U) PELSS also underscored the changes required in the
successfully transition from the military-style form of police
management towards that of community-oriented or democratic
policing. One of those key steps - the willingness of the PNP to
embrace and institutionalize this change - was evidenced by the
issuance of new vision statements, shortly after the launch of
Â¶13. (U) We also laid the groundwork for the second part of this
policing change initiative, directed at the executive level of
command, partnering with the Southern Police Institute (SPI) of the
University of Louisville. President Torrijos, who campaigned on
reducing levels of street crime, has reportedly taken a personal
interest in these educational initiatives and the resulting PNP
paradigm shift. PELSS and SPI mark a radical shift in USG police
assistance by substituting tailored management-change initiatives in
place of a one-size-fits-all training.
Â¶14. (U) NAS finished the majority of procurement for a new crime
mapping and analysis program (INCRIDEFA in Spanish) for the Ministry
of Government and Justice and the PNP. INCRIDEFA will give police
commanders the tools needed to spot problems and hot spots and
dedicate resources to problem solution. The result will be more
effective and efficient policing and enhanced investigative
capability. INCRIDEFA technology is presently in beta testing and
is due for a roll-out in May of 2007.
Â¶15. (U) NAS assisted the AG in getting control of their
accountability for seized assets (90% of which come from
drug-related crimes). We worked with the AG and a private company
to purchase equipment, design software and train personnel on use
and procedures. The system will allow for digitalized management of
assets seized as part of criminal investigations and connects all
offices involved in the process. In all, close to 100 employees of
the AG were trained and five servers and other equipment were
donated. The software to manage the process is a secure system and
will protect against seized items being altered or changed during
the legal process. Panama was scheduled to implement the system for
all of its seized property as of April 1.
Â¶16. (SBU) NAS worked with the Ministry of Government and Justice
and the AG to assist the GOP with the strengthening and
modernization of the Joint Intelligence Coordination Center (JICC).
The JICC is a central resource for GOP and USG inquires regarding
potential illicit activity and actors. Our assistance included
relocating the JICC office and donation of computers and servers,
and upgrades to improve physical security.
Â¶17. (SBU) NAS assisted MOGJ officials in creating written
agreements that were to be signed by relevant Ministries as
protocols for information sharing within the GOP. With our
assistance, the JICC is now directly connected to 15 databases and
is providing information to GOP and USG law enforcement and security
Â¶18. (U) A NAS-funded seed money grant to the Omar Moreno Foundation
continued to yield positive results. The Moreno Baseball Academy,
founded by the MLB World Series champion, offers free instruction in
baseball to at-risk, inner-city youth, thus providing a positive
daily alternative to involvement in illicit drugs and gang violence.
In addition to daily baseball training, reinforcement of positive
values and discipline are integral parts of the Academy curriculum.
Leveraging its partnership with the Embassy and AES/Panama, the
Foundation held its first fund-raising gala in January. Tens of
thousands of dollars were raised to guarantee the continued work of
the Academy. As a result, plans are underway for expansion of the
Academy program into the cities of Chitre, Colon, David, and Puerto
Â¶19. (U) Culture of Lawfulness (COL) training and development
continues within the PNP, at both the institution's academies. COL
is in the final stages of curriculum and trainer development use in
both public and private schools. Embassy Panama views this COL
program as a key element of our key goal of promoting transparency
and respect for rule of law in Panama.
Â¶20. (U) NAS provided training to dozens of GOP officials in a wide
range of areas. Topics included criminal investigations, fraudulent
document identification, dignitary protection, pilot certifications,
outboard boat mechanics, and DARE (anti-drug) leader training.