BEIRUT: Lebanon must improve the capabilities of its security personnel to ward off political instability and will benefit greatly from U.S. expertise, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said as a cornerstone for a new Internal Security Forces training academy was set Wednesday as part of a U.S. assistance plan.
“This cornerstone represents a base in the process of consolidating security in the society and protecting citizens through developing the [policing] skills of the ISF,” Charbel said at the event attended by U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly and senior ISF officials.
“Lebanon is in dire need of advancing the capabilities of its security personnel so they are able to carry out their duties to preserve the security and stability [of the country],” he added, noting that the security body would benefit “from the expertise of the countries which have a long history of combating crime.”
The Aramoun Training Academy is a $9.7 million program that will provide modern facilities, policing and investigative techniques through a tactical training village, a forensics investigative laboratory and classrooms, a shooting range, and a vehicle maintenance facility, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy.
In the statement, Connelly stressed that the partnership with the ISF was part of U.S. efforts to work with Lebanese security bodies and people to build a stable, sovereign and independent country.
The tactical training facility will provide a realistic urban setting for the training of ISF officers and recruits. The complex will include replicas of schools, checkpoints and residential and commercial buildings to provide hands-on, scenario-based training to teach investigative techniques, firearm skills and modern police tactics.
Training scenarios at the academy will include domestic incidents, planning and making arrests, processing evidence at crime scenes, conducting interviews and searches, and clearing areas and buildings so they are safe to enter.
The vehicle maintenance facility will provide long-term maintenance and repair for the ISF’s vehicle fleet, including over 500 patrol cars and specialty vehicles provided through U.S. aid.
Since 2006, the U.S. has provided over $100 million to the Internal Security Forces through various assistance programs that provide training, facility upgrades and construction, vehicles and equipment.
The assistance program is coordinated by the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and is part of U.S. efforts to support the development of the ISF into a modern professional police force that is capable ensuring Lebanon’s security and stability while serving and protecting citizens.
In addition, through its Civilian Police mission, the U.S. has trained over 9,100 security personnel, including 610 females, in numerous basic cadet training courses.
“Basic cadet training teaches policing principles and concepts in order to familiarize new cadets with the concept of civilian policing and with the roles they will play in a larger police force. In July 2012, following the completion of a ‘train the trainer’ course, the [Civilian Police] mission fully transferred to the ISF’s cadre of police training professionals,” the embassy statement said.
It added that “the shared goal of the U.S. assistance program is to produce a police force that is publicly trusted, professionally trained, uses professional policing principles, and respects human rights. Such a force is better capable of protecting the people of Lebanon and ensuring the country’s security and stability.”
Over the past three years, the United States has provided over 500 police vehicles, prisoner transport buses – to assist with alleviating overcrowding at Roumieh prison – as well as the refurbishment of armored personnel carriers.
In 2012, the United States also provided $28 million in assistance to the ISF, which included the construction of the Aramoun Training Academy and the establishment of a nationwide secure radio program to help dispatch ISF officers quickly in emergencies.