For those of you who aren’t familiar with CIVPOL, that’s simply an acronym for Civilian Police, which was developed by the United Nations to train, mentor, and advise local police forces following times of conflict. Past missions have included Kosovo, East Timor, Sudan, Liberia, and Haiti, but the biggest number of Advisors have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, most of the United States’ support for CIVPOL programs is run through the Department of State’s Division of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Typically, both the US government and the United Nations contract the bulk of the work out to private companies, relying on them to vet (locate, interview, and hire) and actually employ qualified candidates to provide these services. Most CIVPOL positions require at least 8 years of policing experience in a civilian PD or sheriff’s office, with a requirement that you were actively employed within the last 5 years. Since the emphasis is on teaching policing skills to emerging democracies, military police experience does not count toward this requirement. Additional criteria include a psychological screening, a physical fitness test, firearms and driving qualifications, successful completion of pre-deployment training, and a background investigation for clearance at the high-risk public trust level.
Once you’re finally hired on and deployed in country (and keep in mind that you DON’T have a job until you’re actually in country), a generic description of your duties is to train, mentor, and advise the local police forces. If that sounds vague, it’s done that way intentionally. You could be doing anything from teaching classes in a formal police academy to making station visits to advise local leaders. The book “Roadside Bombs and Democracy”, by former police advisor Ron Little, gives a pretty accurate description of the wide range of tasks you’d perform, and it also gives you an idea of the varying workload you might experience.
Police advising usually starts in the high $90K range for lower risk countries like Haiti or Kosovo, but jumps to $120-130 for Iraq or Afghanistan. Most advisors that I’ve worked with like to use this as a great stepping stone, moving on to other opportunities after their initial one-year contract is complete. MPRI hires a lot of senior mentors with management experience for higher-paying positions, and both PAE and Dyncorp have static security and PSD slots which are much easier to move into once you’ve got that deployment experience under your belt.
Links to the major defense contractors are only a Google search away, so make sure to check them out for more information. Remember, just like any other position, these contracts change hands occasionally, so you won’t be seen as a resume shotgunner if you put your application in with a couple of outfits. As of this posting, all of the above companies have police advisors deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Without giving you the MBA-level rundown, Dyncorp was the biggest employer but their Afghan contract is being disputed and of course there’s an upcoming draw-down in Iraq. But should any of this stop you from applying? Of course not. When in doubt, mail it out.