This article first appeared on In Public Safety.
By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, American Military University
I have been teaching online criminal justice courses for the past 11 years. In the past few years, I have gained a deeper understanding of the importance of international networking in the criminal justice field. What I have discovered is that both criminal justice practitioners and educators are mostly experiencing the same trends worldwide.
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By developing partnerships with other educators, college institutions, and criminal justice organizations, we can work together and learn from one another. For example, I attended an academic conference in Europe in 2018 that included intelligence experts from 11 countries. The academic conference was held by the International Association for Intelligence Education in Leicester, England. I heard presentations on how intelligence matters from an academic perspective are being addressed globally. The conference also gave me the opportunity to present my research in the United States.
In early 2019, I was invited to Belize as a guest of Galen University. What started as an opportunity to speak with the criminal justice students resulted in some larger events.
I Was Asked to Participate in a Workshop for Belize’s Police Officers
Prior to the speaking engagement and with the collaboration of my new international partners at Galen University, I was asked to participate in a workshop for Belize’s police officers. The topic of the workshop was how to effectively manage police stress.
I had conducted a two-year qualitative study on how successful police officers manage stress throughout their careers. I presented my findings to a large gathering of Belize police officers from all around the country. I discovered that the challenges associated with PTSD and police stress in Belize are the same as those experienced in police officers in the United States.
In addition to conducting the police stress workshop, I spoke at the university on human trafficking and narcotics trafficking in the region based on my research. Attendees included the Belize Defense Force, the Police Department, Immigration Officers, the Galen University provost, officers from the Belize Anti-Narcotics Unit, and the Mobile Interdiction Team. In addition, the CEO of the Belize Central Prison and a human trafficking representative from the Belize court system were in attendance.
I Learned of the Successful Prison Operating Model at Belize Central Prison
As a result of my presentation and networking opportunity, I learned of the successful prison operating model at Belize Central Prison, which over the past year I have repeatedly said should be the prison operating model throughout Latin America.
I was invited back to Belize in January to help train more than 250 staff members of the prison on handling riots, escapes, and hostage situations based on my research into strategies used in prisons around the world. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my academic career.
These events also gave me the opportunity to appear on Belize national TV news broadcasts on three occasions. They have led to long-term criminal justice partnerships in Central America.
In February, my AMU Program Director Dr. Charles Russo and I were invited as guests of the Colombian National Police to conduct research at some of the top Colombian police units dedicated to fighting transnational crime. The units included the Criminal Investigation Directorate, INTERPOL (referred to in Spanish as DIJIN), Colombia’s Police Anti-Narcotics Directorate (DIRAN), and the main judicial institution, the General Prosecution Office of the Nation.
This opportunity was made possible by National Police Major Efren Muñoz and is one of the highlights of my academic career. As a result of this visit to Bogotá, Colombia, academic and research collaboration and partnerships among AMU, Colombia’s Military University and National Police is likely to continue for years.
Developing International Partnerships Does Not Require a Complex Approach
Developing international academic networks and partnerships does not require a complex approach. In the case of Belize, it began with a short email to Galen University offering to work together as part of a visiting professorship. With the Colombian National Police, collaboration began as a simple LinkedIn message to Major Muñoz to suggest collaborating in research because of his experience in the United States. As an FBI National Academy graduate who earned a master’s degree from Boston University, Major Munoz is a leader at the Colombian National Police.
The development of international communication is one of the keys to solving global problems such as human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other criminal justice-related issues.
About the Author: Dr. Jarrod Sadulski is an associate professor at American Military University. He has engaged in speaking engagements in the United States, Central America, and Europe on the topics of human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, police responses to domestic terrorism, and various topics in policing. Most recently, he presented at the 2019 International Human Trafficking Conference. His expertise includes infrastructure security, police stress management, homeland security, contraband interdiction, and intelligence gathering. Some of his research was recently published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in their 2019 World Drug Report.
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