Costa Rica Police, Coast Guard study WHINSEC courses and training programs

Costa Rica delegation leader, Col. Erik Lacayo, responds to a student question in the NCO Professional Development Course. To his left are Costa Rica Coast Guard Comandante Mario Barrientos and Costa Rica’s director of Border Police, Lt. Col. Allen Obando. The group visited Fort Benning to gain knowledge of WHINSEC’s operations and instruction methods. (Photo by Lee Rials)

Costa Rica delegation leader, Col. Erik Lacayo, responds to a student question in the NCO Professional Development Course. To his left are Costa Rica Coast Guard Comandante Mario Barrientos and Costa Rica’s director of Border Police, Lt. Col. Allen Obando. The group visited Fort Benning to gain knowledge of WHINSEC’s operations and instruction methods. (Photo by Lee Rials)

By Lee Rials, WHINSEC Public Affairs /

Costa Rica Police Col. Erik Lacayo, director of the National Police Academy, along with Lt. Col. Allen Obando Florez, director of Border Police, and Comandante Mario Barrientos Zuniga, director of the Coast Guard Academy, came to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation July 19 for two reasons: Review WHINSEC’s operations to aid in further development of their own training and education programs, and to increase awareness of the Institute’s training and education programs.

Although the Central American nation does not have an Army, it participates in Institute courses that are applicable to security operations, disaster relief or other subjects that are generally law enforcement responsibilities.

Lacayo and his team discussed their issues with the assistant commandant, El Salvadoran Col. Luis Viera, then participated in a conference with Institute leaders focused on WHINSEC operations and courses.

The Institute’s Staff and Faculty Development Division (SFDD), which prepares instructors to teach and assists them in developing into master instructors, drew special attention from the visitors.

Following the meetings, the delegation went to a basic instructor course session and then to an NCO Professional Development Course class. Costa Rican Col. Walter Navarro, an instructor in SFDD who has served at WHINSEC several times, led the discussions in the classrooms, sharing the students’ perspectives of the experience.

Costa Rica’s security forces have been valued partners of WHINSEC since it opened, sending students to courses and providing instructors to the Institute faculty.

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