OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University Criminal Justice professor Robert Wadman has spent much of his summer in Albania, where he has been working as part of a five-member commission to help the Albanian National Police write rules and regulations for their new force.
The overseas assignment is part of the U.S. State Department's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), an outreach effort designed to help promote democracy around the globe. ICITAP is funded by the State Department but administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. Wadman, who works part-time for the Justice Department, was accompanied by representatives from the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe.
"In former Soviet block countries, the police are a national organization," Wadman said. "With this in mind, the elected parliament is responsible for enacting laws that will direct their police organizations in a manner that supports democracy."
Wadman says that for many Eastern European nations, retraining and modernizing police departments is among the more difficult transitions involved in moving from a communist regime to a democratic form of government.
Albania is slowly emerging from 20 years spent as an isolated communist nation. At one point it broke ties with China and the Soviet Union because it felt those nations were becoming too progressive. After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, Albania experienced several years of political unrest. Today it is adopting reforms and laws, including those governing police operations, in an effort to meet the requirements necessary to become a member of the European Union.
Wadman has conducted similar work with police forces in Poland, Haiti and Nigeria. In fact, he returned to Warsaw in mid-August to conduct a community policing seminar for the leadership of the Polish National Police. The information he shared in the seminar draws on curriculum he has developed while teaching at WSU. Eventually, his course material will be shared with more than 120,000 officers in the Polish National Police.
Closer to home, Wadman hopes students enrolled in WSU's criminal justice master's program will have an opportunity, as part of their graduate course work, to review and evaluate the processes being developed by the Albanian police.
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