Haiti: Preparing new breed of police officers

Sunday, August 05, 2012
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Port-au-Prince: Forty  Haitians aspiring to be police officers have begun their physical tests for the recruitment to the Brigade of Intervention and Research (BRI) of the Police Nationale d'Haiti (PNH).

Provided at the Police Academy by a joint team of trainers of the PNH and UN Police (UNPOL), the training consists in tests of physical ability, shooting practice, medical tests and an oral interview.

Asiera Auguste, one of the candidates, says, "I consider the police as a sort of career ladder. I would like to experience as many units as possible. Since there is the recruitment process now at the BRI, I participated. Everything concerning the Haitian National Police at the highest level I would like to be confronted with."

He is among the first group of Haitian National Police officers participating in the Police Academy physical endurance tests.

The first test, the Cooper test, measures how many kilometers the candidates can run in 12 minutes. This is quite a tough start for Asiera who is currently working in an administrative position at the police station in the Port au Prince.

"I do not really have time to run because of my work schedule. Since my graduation at the police academy, it is only now that I can go back to my running habits. My work schedule absorbs all my time," he says.

During three days, morning and afternoon, 150 applicants who have already passed written tests,  were divided into several groups will have to show their endurance during the physical tests.

"The BRI is an elite unit within the police, this is why we have all these requirements. The aspirant for this unit must be in perfect physical condition, he must be motivated and like this unit," briefs Ludwige Bertrand, BRI at the Central Directorate of Judicial Police.

Unlike the SWAT unit, which is an elite group that performs only interventions, the agents of the BRI are doing intervention and investigation.

The current recruitment will triple the operational capabilities of the BRI.

Francene MOREAU, Chief Commissioner, Chief of staff at the Central Directorate of Judicial Police says, "Since joining the CDJP, director Godson Aurélus has made it as a priority to restructure the BRI unit. Because without the presence of the BRI, the CDJP operates at only 20 to 30% of its capacity. So it cannot provide full support to other police units. The answer that we expect to encounter the phenomenon of crime is not quite adequate. The Haitian population expects to establish a climate of security in the country."

The aspirants are fighting, they are giving everything. The test is not yet finished. They all want to succeed.

"Honestly, the level is a bit disappointing. I thought the level would be better, especially for the Cooper Test, the test of endurance for 12 minutes.  I thought I would see better, but we will see the other groups. For the moment this is just the first group," informs Frédéric Etienne, UNPOL Chief of Training at the Police Academy.

Once all the groups have undergone the physical endurance test, the 50 best candidates will be chosen, but still they will have to undergo specialized 2 week training.

UNPOL Chief of Specialized Unit at the Police Academy, Jean Marc TANGUY,  tells, "As soon as we have these 50 candidates, we will organize a preparation course that will last 15 days and during this course we will make again the tests as part of a physical training. Those who do not follow this course will be sent back to their service, we will not keep them. This is a course that will be difficult with physical tests, with technique, shooting exercise, arresting techniques, self defense. During 15 days they must follow the rhythm, if they are not able to arrive here, we will ask them to leave the group."

"The horizontal bars were the hardest part for me but still I managed to do whatever was required. In my opinion, I think I have done everything even though it was difficult. In any case, I could give my best, I hope for good results for this part, at any cost, I will succeed!," says Asiera who along with his colleagues arrived at the final stage of the physical tests. 

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