In the effort to eradicate coca crops throughout Colombia as part of the U.S.’s War on Drugs, many Colombian police have been injured in the line of duty and have been forced to give up their jobs. Coca producing regions in rural parts of Colombia are often heavily mined areas, causing many Colombian police and civilians tasked with interdiction to step on landmines. Those who survive the explosions must give up their jobs, and often have no training in anything else.
The Colombia National Police Wounded Warriors Project addresses the re-education, employment, and rehabilitation needs of 350 members of the Colombian National Police (CNP) injured in the line of duty during coca eradication, interdiction, and rural security operations. The Polus Center and its partners are helping the CNP build national rehabilitation services capacity and create clear alternative training opportunities and career pathways for disabled police. The program also focuses on building community trust that promotes International Narcotics and Law and CNP's effort to combat the challenges of Colombian cultivation of illicit crops, production and trafficking of illegal drugs, criminal activities, and associated violence.
Polus is partnering with Colombia's Unidad para la atencion y reparacion integral a las victimas (Victims' Unit), the National Learning Service (SENA), Arcangeles Rehabilitation Center, and local municipal governments. U.S. subject matter experts in trauma, physical rehabilitation, career development, community policing, inclusive design, and job placement for people with disabilities will provide specialized training and evaluation of current services in Colombia.
The Polus Center’s Service Coordination Model, staffed by local outreach workers, helps guide individual beneficiaries on how and where to access services that help disabled police access entitlements, benefits, and rehabilitation services, in addition to identifying their training and employment goals. Using the existing infrastructure of the Victims' Unit and SENA, and implementing a proven person-centered Service Coordination Model, helps reach disabled police throughout Colombia, including remote areas where coca is grown. The Polus Center's well-established victim assistance program using this model have supported thousands of conflict survivors in Colombia (especially in Narino, Cauca, Caldas, and Antioquia); in Latin America (Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras), in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Jordan supporting refugees of the Syrian war.
Funding for this project is provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.