Spreading Democracy & Justice For All


CivPol Alumni Association


To:  Letters to the Editor
       Newsweek Magazine

From:   Mark C Lewis, President
            CivPol Alumni Association

Date:   03.30.2010

Editorial Staff,

As I read a forwarded Newsweek article dated March 19, 2010 speaking to the problems of Afghan police readiness, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated and somewhat betrayed.  It was obvious to me upon finishing the article that there is a lot more to this story, unreported, that needs to be said.
First and foremost, as someone who has participated in foreign missions as an International Police Advisor and worked intimately with police from over a dozen different countries, nothing is more clear to me than overall, the police of the United States are among the best trained and equipped in the world.  There is no country’s police with which America’s finest cannot compete if not best.  When given a task, and the tools necessary in which to complete it, they will succeed every time.
As for the clearly expressed problems and frustrations with the lack of reported success in regards to the readiness of the Afghan police, it is clear this formula for success was more than tweaked.  American police are working with training and equipment parameters dictated to them by others under very difficult conditions.  When you then add to this the need to significantly educate and change engrained social behaviors of the student, you can begin to sense the difficulties they face.  In regards to the marksmanship training example, this proves my point.  A small unit assigned with autonomy to train a specific task has a good likelihood for success.  I would suggest a thorough investigation would identify the larger problems of process which placed these American police professionals in what many would describe as an impossible situation, rather than throw them under the bus as the easiest and most convenient targets to blame.
Our International Police Advisors are drawn from the ranks of our city, county and State police departments.  The US does not have a National Police Force; therefore, structural problems do exist with focus, clarity and aliment.  I know that each of those American police officers deployed in Afghanistan are exhausting every opportunity to teach the ANP.  Policing is not something you do, it is who you are and no one can provide a better example of that outside an American police officer. 

We have to get the ANP to care about their society, enforce their laws while at the same time get the Afghanistan people to appreciate and respect the ANP authority.  To protect and serve is always easier said than done.  To protect usually means that a police officer may have to give his or her own life, twenty-three International Police Advisors have made the ultimate sacrifice and hundreds have sustained serious debilitating injuries.  To serve usually means to participate in an organization that requires a certain level of altruism where the awards come often in the form of your article.  
The CIVPOL Alumni Association, although in its infancy stage, hopes to be in part a vehicle for International Police ethical standards, keeping the International Police Advisors fully informed on new training techniques, respective cultural law enforcement differences, employment opportunities and the national goals and objectives for International Police missions.

Mark Lewis, President
CivPol Alumni Association

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