“Words can’t express how happy I am to have participated in this labor of love [and] how enriching and fulfilling it was for me.” This is the kind of heart-warming feedback I hear from local government managers and police officers who have shared their approaches to crime and violence prevention through professional exchanges with their counterparts in other countries.
As director of ICMA’s Latin America and Caribbean programs, I want to highlight an opportunity for U.S. cities and counties to showcase their own community policing initiatives and at the same time contribute to the improvement of public safety in the Caribbean region—specifically in the Dominican Republic (DR).
ICMA is inviting applications from cities and counties willing to share their best practices and lessons learned with partner cities in the DR. We have identified two municipalities that have demonstrated a commitment to crime prevention and are eager to learn from the experience and expertise of U.S. jurisdictions. They are Boca Chica, a beach community of about 123,000, and Santo Domingo Este, a community of about 700,000. Both are located in close proximity to Santo Domingo, the capital city.
In each city we are working to help create and strengthen multi-stakeholder committees to promote coordination among municipal officials and staff, police, community organizations, churches, private sector and national government agencies to prevent crime. Here’s what the partnerships involve:
- An initial four- to five-day visit by representatives from the U.S. city to the DR for an orientation to the program and the local public safety environment. The U.S. representatives on this first visit usually include an elected or appointed official/staff and a public safety representative.
- A four-day visit to the U.S. city by representatives from the two DR cities during which the cities formalize the objectives of their partnership. DR representatives include elected officials, municipal staff, police and community representatives.
- Development of a work plan (with ICMA staff support), based on mutually identified challenges in the DR city and an understanding of realistic solutions
- Two subsequent visits to the DR by technical staff from the U.S. community to provide guidance as the work plan is carried out.
The U.S. city needs to commit to making staff available on a pro bono basis, provide technical assistance as agreed in the work plan, and host the DR delegation.
ICMA covers all travel expenses and per diem and provides logistical and other support. For additional detail and to learn more about eligibility, selection criteria, and the application process, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cintya Renderos (email@example.com).
These partnership opportunities are made possible by the Municipal Partnerships for Violence Prevention in Central America and the Dominican Republic (AMUPREV), funded by USAID.