Cedar Rapids police officers will be paying a visit to Nepal in 2014 to offer training to police officers there.
While details are still being hammered out, Cedar Rapids police Chief Wayne Jerman said his department was tabbed by the Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program to participate in an exchange program with Nepali police departments.
Cedar Rapids's Nepali population makes it uniquely qualified to take part in the venture, Jerman added.
"Cedar Rapids is one of the top five destinations for citizens from Nepal," Jerman said.
Just ahead of Cedar Rapids is Madison, Wis. Jerman said U.S. Department of Justice officials toured both departments earlier this year to get a sense of what the departments could offer to police departments in Nepal.
"They've decided they want us basically to team up together and begin the exchange program," Jerman said.
Officers from the Cedar Rapids and Madison police departments will travel to Nepal in teams for three weeks at a time to teach various subjects to officers there. Jerman said some topics could include internal affairs investigations, domestic violence or crimes against women.
The Justice Department will have the final say on what will be taught.
"They're telling us what topic areas they want covered, and we're going to supply the officers that have expertise in those areas," Jerman said. He added that planning for the exchange program is still "fluid."
"No timelines have been established," he said. "At some point yet to be determined, officers from Nepal are going to come here. They are going to view first hand how we police."
Jerman said earlier this year he and representatives from the Madison Police Department met with officers with the Portland, Ore., Police Department, at the behest of the Justice Department.
Portland officers have participated in a similar exchange program with Bangladesh.
"They wanted us to meet their officers and hear firsthand the success stories and different angles of the program," Jerman recalled.
The Justice Department will make arrangements for all the officers' accommodations, including vaccinations, transportation, housing and interpreters. They'll also be footing the bill.
Jerman said he believes the program reflects positively on the CRPD's reputation and will put local officers on the "international stage.""This is something that speaks highly and does put the Cedar Rapids Police Department pretty high up on people's scales," he said.