The U.S. recently partnered with South African law enforcement officers to enhance capacity to respond to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive (CBRNE) incident.
The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) International Counterproliferation Program (ICP), in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the U.S. Mission to South Africa, delivered the Hazardous Materials / Weapons of Mass Destruction Crime Scene Operations (CSO) course in Cape Town in May. At the conclusion of the course, DTRA donated specialized crime scene equipment worth approximately R1,3 million ($100,000) to the City of Cape Town’s Fire Department.
This was the second time DTRA has conducted the CSO training in Africa, both times in South Africa, with a course held in Durban in 2016; during the Durban course, DTRA donated equipment worth about R5 million ($400,000) to the SAPS.
The CSO course is just one example of NCIS, DTRA, and larger U.S. Government’s partnerships with South African law enforcement and security officials to ensure the long-term safety of both South Africans and Americans.
Members from the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) explosive, crime intelligence, and investigative units, as well as Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services and Metro Police, participated in the training. Representatives from the South African Navy and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also attended.
The instructors included DTRA members, FBI Special Agents, and a SAPS official who participated in the Durban course. Groups discussed the investigative process, how to plan for a possible incident and examined the role of evidence collection and preservation. The course also showed participants how to identify CBRNE, using detection and monitoring devices, and how to collect evidence in a hazardous CBRNE environment.
Acting U.S. Consul General to Cape Town, Beth Bailey, attended the closing ceremony and also oversaw the handing over of the equipment. She was accompanied at the closing by Col. Mokhine, SAPS International Relations, Lieutenant Adam Dallas, U.S. Navy Officer Assigned to DTRA ICP, Brig. Govender, SAPS Paarl Academy, Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services Chief Ian Schnetler, and Richard Bosman, Executive Director for Safety and Security, City of Cape Town.
Recurring themes from all parties throughout the closing remarks focused on the professionalism and diversity of the participants and instructors; the need for continued interagency and bilateral teamwork; and the bilateral desire to partner together to build increased capacity to combat crime and other emerging threats.