News & Noteworthy

Simone Johnson-Smith

Recent Posts

Engaging and Empowering Communities through Community Policing

Posted by Simone Johnson-Smith on Dec 28, 2016 1:29:34 PM

In November, the West Africa Regional Training Center (RTC) launched the first of a three part series of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) courses on Countering Violent Extremism. The series focuses on three key areas: community policing, threat finance, and a seminar focusing on the role of executives. The Community Policing pilot course was designed to engage local communities in efforts to promote public safety in crime prevention. Often times, international police agencies miss opportunities to develop relations with the communities that they police. This allows criminals and violent extremists to gain footholds in the affected communities. Following a criminal incident, law enforcement actions and a lack of effective public communication will often alienate these very communities, making the job of law enforcement more difficult as a result.

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Update from the RTC - September 2016

Posted by Simone Johnson-Smith on Sep 15, 2016 12:58:07 PM

Just as the summer heat cools, so too have activities at the West Africa Regional Training Center (WARTC) after a busy summer schedule. Since its inception in 2012, approximately 3,399 Law Enforcement professionals have passed through the halls of the WARTC. An important pillar of the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI) is to facilitate lasting relationships to buttress the future impact of our programming. For this reason, CTP actively invests in employing Alumni Coordinators to foster connections formed while at the center. One of the outreach tools to facilitate collaboration and information sharing among participants is the Alumni portal found on the WARTC website. Over the past several years, WARTC staff has engaged alumni through daily emails and via a monthly newsletter featured on the West Africa Regional Training Center website (, which has paid great dividends for the program. We are elated to hear stories of cross border collaboration leading to successful investigations and the resolution of cases, as a result of connections made while at the WARTC. We would like to highlight the invaluable contributions of one WARTC staffer, Ms. Sarah Dadson who recently departed to pursue a master’s degree at New York University. Sarah kept alumni activities up and running during a staffing gap and her contributions were key in helping to double the staff handling alumni coordination activities. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors and hope our paths may cross again.

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Topics: West Africa Regional Training Center

Update from the RTC

Posted by Simone Johnson-Smith on Aug 18, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Greetings from the RTC! We’ve been in full swing despite it being the rainy season here in Accra. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) sponsored two courses on Advanced Narcotics Investigation and Equipment Training while the Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (DoS/INL) sponsored a course on Fisheries Enforcement and Prosecution.

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Topics: RTC

Focusing on Voluntary Principles in West Africa

Posted by Simone Johnson-Smith on Jul 12, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Our Regional Training Center (RTC) in Accra, Ghana recently wrapped up a four day workshop focusing on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs). Established in 2000 as a collaborative effort by governments, multinational companies, and NGOs, the VPs provide guidance to local companies on tangible steps that they can take to minimize the risk of human rights abuses in communities near gold extraction sites. In 2016, Ghana became the first African country to become a participating member of the VPs initiative after it submitted a National Action Plan to monitor the activities of companies in the gold mining industry. Thus, the VPs course at the RTC was an ideal opportunity for the country to walk the walk.

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Topics: RTC