Program Manager, International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program
Internal Accountability, Training
community policing, complaint collection, demilitarization, depoliticization, donor relations, external accountability, incentives system, information management systems, integration and amalgamation, recruitment, UN policies, vetting
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sat Apr 5 2008
Jim Tillman discusses recruitment, politicization and oversight of the Bosnian police from his perspective as program manager for the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program. The previous network of police high schools, in which students committed to police work at age 14 or 15, was dismantled in favor of an application-only process beginning at age 21. He discusses how the United Nations took measures to prevent corruption in the recruitment process, such as giving preferential treatment to familial relations or requiring that cadets pay bribes for admittance into a police training school. Each Bosnian policeman received training in human dignity as part of an effort to reorient the police from a mission of protecting the state to protecting the citizens. Tillman says the Yugoslav police served to protect the interests of the state rather than the interests of the citizens, and the old guard that occupied positions of leadership in the Bosnian police were less amenable to the new community policing ethos than were the new, younger recruits. In addition to human-dignity training, ICITAP stressed in training that the police carry a polite demeanor and neat dress to facilitate daily interactions with their communities and set up an anonymous complaint bureau to improve accountability. Tillman explains that ICITAP set up crime databases to allow the Bosnian police to track crime rates by type and region, in order to develop more targeted and better informed policing strategies. He says depoliticizing the police was a struggle because the old guard was still in place. One innovative approach to shielding police commissioners from political influence and from cantonal ministers of the interior in particular was the establishment of independent panels to recommend candidates for the position of police commissioner.
At the time of this interview, Jim Tillman worked in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a program manager for the U.S. Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program. He began his career as a plant manager for the American textile firm Brown Group, after which he became a police officer in the U.S. His first international policing experience was in Haiti, where he worked on police reform and development. He later worked in Azerbaijan, Ukraine and throughout the Balkans.