25 EFIS forges cooperation via exchange program

Members of the Burkina Faso National Police attend to a crime scene during the practical exercise portion of the Law Enforcement Investigative Skills Exchange Program, the first-ever Air Force Office of Special Investigations strategic engagement in the West African country, formerly known as Upper Volta. (U.S. Air Force photo/25 EFIS)

Members of the Burkina Faso National Police attend to a crime scene during the practical exercise portion of the Law Enforcement Investigative Skills Exchange Program, the first-ever Air Force Office of Special Investigations strategic engagement in the West African country, formerly known as Upper Volta. (U.S. Air Force photo/25 EFIS)

Attendees at the inaugural Law Enforcement Investigative Skills Exchange Program conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in the West African country of Burkina Faso display their certificates. (U.S. Air Force photo/25 EFIS)

Attendees at the inaugural Law Enforcement Investigative Skills Exchange Program conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in the West African country of Burkina Faso display their certificates. (U.S. Air Force photo/25 EFIS)

QUANTICO, Va. --

From Feb. 20 to 23, 2017, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Expeditionary Detachment 2502, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and members of AFOSI’s 25th Expeditionary Field Investigations Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, conducted the Law Enforcement Investigative Skills Exchange Program, the first-ever OSI strategic engagement in Burkina Faso. 

Special Agents Sheridan Moon, Joshua Carethers, Cory Marion and Helen Marino, joined 31 officers from the Burkina Faso National Police, to share methodology and best practices for criminal investigations. 

“The objective of the 25 EFIS Strategic Engagements program is to build partnership capacity,” said SA Marino, 25 EFIS operations officer.

Split into two, two-day events, AFOSI special agents and Burkinabe Police Officers shared techniques for criminal case management, evidence collection and preservation, crime scene sketching, latent fingerprint collection and crime scene photography. 

The event also enabled AFOSI language-capable agents Moon, Marion and Marino to leverage their French language skills to communicate key topics to Burkinabe counterparts. 

“By leveraging the unique language capability we have organic to the squadron, and by approaching these events with an open mind, we can posture ourselves to cooperate effectively in the event of a real-world investigation SA Marino said.”

The practical capstone exercise required AFOSI agents and Burkinabe officials to cooperate and process a realistic crime scene. Their success was measured in how well they were able to apply the techniques and lessons learned from the program. The exercise allowed U.S. and Burkinabe law enforcement personnel to work together. 

Following the program, Burkinabe attendees provided feedback on the curriculum.

“This program was more than necessary for us, because it is useful in practical application,” one attendee said. “We wish the program could be extended, so all our colleagues could have the chance to participate. We also hope to have future engagements on the subject. Overall, the practical exercise was my most exciting moment!” 

Approximately one week after the LEISEP, Special Agents Moon and Carethers were approached by two Burkinabe Police officers while on the way to a meeting with law enforcement partners. The two Burkinabe officers, carrying their LEISEP notebooks, told the agents they just returned from the scene of a robbery. The officers said they were able to use the crime scene processing skills they practiced during the LEISEP. They discussed the amount of documentation and evidence they obtained, and said they believed the cooperation between the Burkinabe National Police and AFOSI improved their ability to conduct an investigation.

The efforts of EDET 2502 personnel and their counterparts in the Burkinabe National Police, laid the foundation for future LEISEP engagements. 

“Events like these increase OSI’s professional standing and highlight our unique skillset to our counterparts,” said Col. Shan Nuckols, 5 FIR commander. “It is my hope the LEISEP will pay dividends for ongoing efforts in Burkina Faso.”

(Editor’s Note: Slightly larger than Colorado, Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Its neighbors are Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo and Ghana.)