by Jack Swickard, 505.624.7729
ROSWELL, N.M., Feb. 22, 2006 — The grand opening of a $5.4 million building to house the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) was held on Wednesday, February 22, by members of the state’s Congressional delegation and top officials of New Mexico Tech.
See ILEA homepage.
U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and Daniel López, president of New Mexico Tech, were the featured speakers at the event, which was held at the Roswell International Air Center.
Thirty-four senior law-enforcement officers from the African countries of Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland attended the grand opening, along with government officials from throughout the state.
(Left to right: Dr. Daniel H. López of New Mexico Tech; Rep. Steve Pearce; Mrs. Joseph Skeen; Sen. Pete Domenici)
After the grand opening speeches, Domenici, Pearce, López and Mary Skeen, wife of the late U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen of New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, flipped switches and cut the ribbon with a small explosion.
"My friend Joe Skeen and I began our efforts to bring ILEA to Roswell in 1999. I know Joe would be very proud to see this project come to fruition. ILEA helps bring strong international partnerships and sound law enforcement strategies to combat crime across the globe. By training foreign law enforcement officials in criminal justice matters, we are benefiting both our partner nations and our own country through future alliances and opportunities to work together," Domenici said.
On Tuesday, Domenici and Representative Steve Pearce applauded a decision by the State Department to extend the New Mexico Tech team's contract to operate ILEA another five years. The pair wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in May of last year advocating the extension. ENMU-Roswell, Sam Houston State University and SAIC partner with New Mexico Tech to operate ILEA.
"It is fitting that with a new building comes a new operating agreement. This extension means that the same great team headed by New Mexico Tech will continue to provide their expertise to law enforcement around the world. Not only is it good for our efforts to fight crime and terrorism, but its also good for the local economy and diversity of Roswell," Domenici said.
Dignitaries attending the opening included Roswell Mayor Bill Owen; Iris Chavez, representing U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman; Thom Browne of the U.S. State Department; Judy Armstrong, provost of ENMU-R; Richard Ward, dean at Sam Houston State University of Huntsville, Texas; and David F. Williams, Jr., vice president of Science Applications International Corp.
Ground was broken for the Academy’s new classroom and administration building in January 2005.
The 24,500-square-foot building will enable as many as 100 students to receive instruction in up to six languages, plus English. The building’s unique features include high-tech interpretation booths, a high-speed, wireless computer network, and a fountain that runs inside and outside the building.
When the International Law Enforcement Academy opened for classes in September 2001, it operated from temporary quarters at the ENMU-R Performing Arts Center. The classroom at the center could accommodate up to 35 students.
The following year, the Academy moved to remodeled quarters at the former Walker Air Force Base NCO Club just south of the new building on Gail Harris Drive. This structure included a classroom that could seat 50 students.
The Academy has shared the building and grounds with the Youth Challenge Program.
To date, 1,866 students from 68 countries have attended senior management courses at the Academy. Classes have been taught in 25 languages through the use of simultaneous interpreters assigned by the State Department’s Office of Language Services.
Some of the countries that have sent students — mid- and senior-level law-enforcement officials — to the Academy are Latvia, Uzbekistan, Swaziland, Croatia, Costa Rica, Russia, Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China, Cambodia, Uganda, Moldova, Paraguay, Mauritius and Hungary.
Students at the Academy have included the head of environmental law enforcement for Brazil, an art theft investigator from Poland, prosecutors from Namibia, and a member of the core group reforming Philippine National Police.
The senior management courses taught at the Academy are divided into four modules:
- Criminal Justice in a Global Environment
- Modern Policing Strategies
- Key Issues in Policing
- Global Trends and Emerging Issues in Transnational Crime
Classes range from discussions on leadership and human resources to ethics in policing and the effects of corruption. Human rights receive strong emphasis in the program.
Van Romero, vice president for research and economic development at New Mexico Tech, oversees the Academy program. Frank Taylor, retired New Mexico State Police chief, is general manager of the Academy.
The Academy was established in Roswell and New Mexico through the efforts of Sen. Domenici and Rep. Skeen.