New Models of Participation and Expertise in the United States and Europe
Edited by Thierry Delpeuch and Jacqueline E. Ross
Chapter 12: Within transnational policing systems: integration and adaptation mechanisms used by foreign liaison officers deployed in Washington DC
Trans-boundary liaison officers are actually police officers that are generally deployed as embassy attachés charged with managing judicial and intelligence requests from their home country or on behalf of their host county (Block 2008b). Usually, the foreign deployment of police liaison officers (LOs) follows two main principles: tackling geostrategic security issues and supporting national interests (Lemieux 2010a). On the geostrategic principle, liaison officers are often deployed in neighboring countries to address common and trans-border security issues. For example, LOs are sent into developing countries where security issues related to drug trafficking, human trafficking, and other threats are of predominant concern. In the name of the national interest principle, liaison officers are deployed in countries where significant treaties and agreements need to be enforced or to enhance police cooperation in supranational institutions (such as Europol and Interpol) that are supported by national legislation as well as international agreements. In general, the roles and duties performed by LOs are extremely diversified and often vary according to laws, organizational cultures, and politics. In reality, LOs have a critical mission of easing inter-agency cooperation and facilitating the exchange of information between foreign law enforcement agencies (Bigo 2000). Therefore liaison officers balance variable roles and assignments. For example, the same liaison officer can be simultaneously in charge of organizing an official visit of police commissioner, relaying information to foreign law enforcement agencies regarding illegal immigration, directly assisting criminal investigation of an expatriate’s death, organizing networking events, participating in professional conferences in order to educate host agencies on the law enforcement system in the home country, identifying/promoting opportunities for joint trans-boundary training, acquiring critical evidence from public and private entities abroad, and much more.
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