STUTTGART, Germany -- Representatives from U.S. European Command (EUCOM) Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) office and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), recently partnered to conduct an initial engagement with the law enforcement organizations of Kosovo in order to identify areas of collaboration in the future.
This engagement was a continuation of the EUCOM WPS office’s efforts to build solid interagency collaborations between EUCOM and its interagency partners to implement all aspects of the WPS Act of 2017.
The EUCOM ICITAP office works with foreign governments within Europe to develop professional and transparent law enforcement institutions that protect human rights, combat corruption, and reduce the threat of transnational crime and terrorism. The EUCOM WPS program addresses how war, conflict and natural disaster affects men, women, boys and girls differently and how organizations that support security can leverage this knowledge to increase the mission effectiveness.
During the visit, EUCOM representatives hosted a workshop that centered on the theme of building partner capacity through constructing better policies around recruitment and retention of women police officers. This effort plays into a key WPS tenant that the more law enforcement reflects a population demographically, the more effective security providers they are. “When possible, law enforcement agencies and security forces should reflect the communities to which they serve while inviting diversity, gender equality, and ethnic integration”, according to Kimberly Riffe, the Kosovo ICITAP Program Manager. The workshop brought together key members of Kosovo's law enforcement, corrections, public safety and emergency management organizations in order to take a design thinking approach to solutions building for the security forces of Kosovo.
“By discussing the participation barriers women and men have within their own organizations in the law enforcement sector, we identified opportunities to build capacities and improve the security structure of Kosovo as a whole,” said Samantha Turner, head of the WPS office for EUCOM. “These challenges often disproportionately affect women within an organization, and by building solutions that focus on women, the entire organization can reap the benefits created with women as equal partners in law enforcement.”
The workshop served as a starting point for the partnership that ICITAP and EUCOM WPS hope to eventually expand regionally. “This collaboration will introduce concepts and ideas to public safety agencies to meet Kosovo’s needs. Although gender balancing and equality is an international issue and concern, customizing the approach to fit each country is imperative for setting the stage for success,” said Riffe.
Looking forward, this collaboration will serve as one of EUCOM WPS office’s signature interagency cooperation projects to leverage the talent and expertise of the whole of government to meet the intent of the WPS Act of 2017. Leveraging the unique capabilities of the interagency enables experts to build more inclusive and effective solutions that work for the whole of society, and empowers our allies and partners to adapt to the complex and dynamic strategic environments that we face now and will operate in, in the future.