Recently completed barracks renovation work at the Gjorce Petrov Police Compound in North Macedonia’s capital city of Skopje is the latest project delivered in a program geared toward building and improving training capacity for counternarcotic and other law enforcement professionals in North Macedonia and from countries throughout the region.
The work is funded through the U.S. European Command, or EUCOM, and is being carried out through a collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program team based in the U.S. Embassy in Skopje. The ICITAP works with foreign governments to support and develop law enforcement institutions, providing international development assistance that supports both national security and U.S. foreign policy objectives.
The barracks renovations provide additional lodging for those traveling to the compound for training. It is the latest in a series of projects delivered by the same partnership, including a small arms firing range that opened in 2015 and indoor shoot house that has been in operation since 2018.
“The newly increased accommodation capacity from this latest barracks renovation project, combined with the recently built small arms shooting range and shoot house projects add up to a modern tactical training facility, open and ready for tactical training of the North Macedonia Police forces, and law enforcement agencies, as well as for regional and international events,” said ICITAP Project Coordinator German Rusev with the U.S. Embassy.
North Macedonia’s strategic location in the middle of the Balkans, connecting the Middle East and the rest of Europe, means it, along with the rest of the region, can be used by drug traffickers as a conduit for moving illicit goods like heroin, cocaine or other illegal substances back and forth.
The site in Skopje serves not only as a training hub for North Macedonia law enforcement professionals, but also regularly hosts their counterparts from nearby countries including Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Greece and more for training and exercises. These training and exercises are geared toward improving capabilities as well as improving interoperability as these professionals from multiple nations work together to combat the narcotics networks that cross borders and impact the larger region.
The recently completed barracks improvements involved the renovation of quarters for law enforcement personnel visiting the compound to participate in training courses and exercises. The renovations included room updates including both private single unit rooms and larger capacity rooms with bunks. Building infrastructure as well as kitchens, laundry and restroom facilities were also overhauled as well.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is glad to be able to deliver projects like this barracks renovation in North Macedonia in partnership with the Department of Justice to help combat the drug trade in the region,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District Project Engineer Chris DePooter said. “The building looks beautiful, the team there did an amazing job on the areas renovated and we’re excited to turn it over to North Macedonia to support their training efforts there.”