Published April 30, 2020
Countries around the world are being confronted with rapidly changing health, safety, and security situations generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 30, the World Health Organization reported 3.1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in more than 214 countries and territories. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a truly global crisis that requires strong leadership, coordination, and innovation in order to control and combat the spread of the virus. In a letter to alumni, ILEA Roswell Director John Chavers noted, “Crisis Leadership always starts with good leaders and their willingness to be bold and courageous through difficult times.” Director Chavers used the opportunity to ask ILEA Roswell alumni: “How are you mobilizing your team or local communities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?”
In response, ILEA Roswell alumni shared inspiring stories of their efforts to launch public awareness campaigns, demonstrate leadership in the midst of this crisis, and share best practices with members of the alumni community. Many alumni highlighted the importance of leadership in response to COVID-19, like Captain Ahmadou Tidjani of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit of Niger, who noted, “Wherever we are, it will be imperative to show leadership after having had the privilege and the chance to be a member of ILEA, especially in this period of health crisis which has hit the whole world hard.”
ILEA Roswell alumni are using their roles within their law enforcement institutions to protect and inform their populations through communication of clear coronavirus safety messaging. For example, Assistant Superintendent and Public Relations Officer for the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Junior Simmons, noted, “My team and I have been collaborating with other partners to produce COVID-19 awareness raising videos, advisories, and other bulletins; and have shared them with the populace via social media and other media outlets.”
In Honduras, there are currently less than 800 COVID-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization as of April 30. The Director of Strategic Communications for the National Police of Honduras, Jose Jair Meza Barahona, is leading the communications efforts for the nation’s police force. He noted, “The Honduran National Police has become a benchmark and leader in the crisis of this pandemic.” He continued, “From my management we have made government announcements, informative videos, guides that serve our community.”
Alumni also shared their experiences of exchanging best practices with the ILEA Roswell alumni network. Manuel Mata Avendaño, an Alternate Magistrate and Criminal Circuit Judge for the Judiciary of Panama, noted, “Since arriving in Roswell, New Mexico, Class 38 has been tight knit; almost 4 years have passed since we met and we still maintain a group of WhatsApp; where it is a forum for exchanging experiences of what is happening in all countries; plans that have been implemented and a voice of mutual encouragement that we give ourselves every day to continue forward with the Faith placed in God that we are going to overcome this situation.”
Similarly, in Senegal, Police Commissioner Mamadou Ndiaye Fall of the Border Police Directorate highlighted his interactions with fellow delegates, noting, “We were able to relay some good practices from other countries to our authorities, after having become aware of them through daily exchanges with comrades from Sessions 77 and 78 of ILEA Roswell.”
Alumni also shared examples of how their work has been adjusted to respond to the threats of the novel coronavirus. For example, in the Republic of the Congo, the Honorable Gervais Ebilika noted, “In my capacity as Dean of Investigating Judges, I am part of the commission in charge of managing the issue of unclogging the prison population of our remand center in this period of crisis.” In Senegal, Commissioner Fall noted the importance of establishing clear communication strategies to convey coronavirus safety procedures. He highlighted the role of law enforcement in conducting outreach with community and religious leaders to limit large community gatherings.
Alumni also shared how they are personally assisting and supporting their communities during this time of crisis. In the Republic of the Congo, Hon. Ebilika launched a campaign to distribute essential food- including rice and oil- to vulnerable community members. To date, the campaign has ensured access to food for more than 400 households. Hon. Ebilika noted, “We are determined to perpetuate this operation and express the shared values in this ILEA spirit.”
ILEA Roswell commends the alumni community for the strong leadership and solidarity they continue to demonstrate in the face of this global crisis. In his letter to ILEA Roswell alumni, Director Chavers noted that through the sharing of these stories, “We will encourage one another to persevere to even greater success.” Alumni are encouraged to share their success by filling out a Success Story Form on the ILEA Global Network (IGN) website.