INTERPOL Washington Director Michael A. Hughes Delivers Remarks at "INTERPOL at 100: Celebrating a Century of Transnational Police Cooperation"
For Immediate Release
Yesterday, INTERPOL Washington hosted a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the world’s largest police organization. The ceremony included remarks from Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock, and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security John Tien, reflecting on the challenges, successes, and future of international law enforcement.
Video of the event can be viewed here: Celebrating One Hundred Years of Interpol
INTERPOL Washington Director Michael A. Hughes's remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Secretary General Stock, for being with us here today. During your time as Secretary General, you have brought INTERPOL to new heights and better equipped our 195 member countries with the means and abilities to detect and interdict crimes around the globe. And, thank you Deputy Attorney General Monaco for your leadership here at the Department of Justice and to you, Deputy Secretary Tien for all of your work at the Department of Homeland Security. You both have been steadfast supporters of our INTERPOL mission, and it is your support and confidence that we are able to have so much success.
Acting Assistant Attorney General, and former INTERPOL Executive Committee member Jolene Lauria, your ongoing commitment to INTERPOL is invaluable and has added much value to our domestic and international missions. There are so many important people in this room who have made a positive impact on our INTERPOL work, that we would be here all day if I called you all out. So I will say thank you to everyone for being here today to celebrate 100 years of INTERPOL.
It is an honor to address this distinguished audience on such a momentous occasion. It is an even greater honor to represent the men and women of INTERPOL Washington, who stand watch each day to keep our country safe and build a better world. As Director of INTERPOL Washington and as one of the 13 elected INTERPOL Executive committee members, I see the great work being done each day by the INTERPOL organization in fighting all forms of transnational crime and terrorism.
Since its founding in 1923, INTERPOL has been instrumental in promoting global law enforcement cooperation and fighting transnational crime. But today’s criminals have since evolved. They are increasingly anonymous, increasingly transnational, and increasingly dangerous. Thanks to INTERPOL, 100 years later, information on the worst of the worst transnational criminals and terrorists from anywhere in the world can be shared directly with frontline police officers, investigators, and border security agents in any one of our over 18,000+ police agencies across the United States.
And, as part of INTERPOL’s network, we have direct communication with all of the other member countries, to exchange vital information that is crucial to our public safety and national security. At INTERPOL Washington, we are proud to be at the forefront of this effort.
Our team of dedicated professionals work tirelessly every day to support our partners across the United States and around the world, leveraging cutting-edge technology and intelligence-sharing to disrupt transnational crime and protect our communities. The United States realizes the value of the INTERPOL network and, as such, continues with our strong engagement in various INTERPOL projects. You have heard many examples of INTERPOL successes in combatting transnational crimes, but the secret to the organization’s success is our ability to compile and exchange actionable information in all our INTERPOL 195 member countries.
Realizing this, the United States has been leading many member country capacity building projects with INTERPOL. For instance, through Project Terminus and Project Gemini, we are helping to extend INTERPOL’s I-24/7 secure global police communications system to high-risk areas around the world.
This helps deliver solid, actionable criminal intelligence in a secure manner to countries where it’s needed most.
These programs provide certain member country National Central Bureaus with updated equipment to access INTERPOL data and, our personnel provide training to our partners to assist them to effectively utilize INTERPOL connectivity at border-control points of entry and in other areas. This helps strengthen the ability of law enforcement and border security agencies to detect and interdict the illicit international travel of transnational criminals, as well as Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
This has proven to be quite effective. For instance, in Indonesia, which began as a test case a few years back, has since enabled connectivity to INTERPOL data to and from over 170 of its Ports of Entry. Also, in Nigeria, we were successful in adding over 147,000 critical Nigerian records to the INTERPOL database within the first hour of implementation, and those numbers continue to grow exponentially.
And, following our Project Terminus efforts in the Maldives, we were able to increase their queries of INTERPOL information by nearly 300%, and in Panama, the number of Stolen and Lost Travel Documents entered into INTERPOL holdings increased by nearly 50,000 records. These are significant successes that benefit the United States and all member countries. With information sharing at the heart of INTERPOL, we must continue to ensure connectivity of member countries to combat all transnational crime and terrorism. INTERPOL Washington is one of the Department of Justice’s five law enforcement components, and the key to the success of our agency is our people.
We are very proud of our diverse workforce consisting of extremely talented full-time employees, other agency detailees from across the government, and contractors. This mix of experience and skill make INTERPOL Washington very effective in providing top-notch service to our many customers and stakeholders across the United States and around the world.
The success of INTERPOL Washington is due to our incredible people, the true backbone of our agency, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, to ensure our missions are accomplished. I thank all of our INTERPOL Washington personnel, many of whom are here today, and all of our personnel who worked diligently to put together this INTERPOL 100 year commemoration ceremony. Let’s have a round of applause to show them our appreciation. We have made many advances and had many successes throughout INTERPOL’s 100 years.
But, our work is far from done. As transnational criminals and terrorists continue to evolve, we must remain vigilant and adaptable in our law enforcement response. Now, more than ever, we must continue to work together, domestically and internationally, and remain committed to building strong partnerships, harnessing the power of ever-changing technology, and investing in our people to ensure that we can stay ahead of the criminals and terrorists that threaten our communities. We need to ensure that our INTERPOL organization remains faithful to its foundational principles of respect for human rights, the rule of law and neutrality by continuing to strengthen the governance of the organization and ensuring strong leadership that values democracy.
As we sit here in the Great Hall of the Robert F. Kennedy building, I am reminded of his words: “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
Everyone in this room is contributing to making things better - even by celebrating this 100-year INTERPOL milestone. Your presence here builds the bridges, builds the relationships, and builds the partnerships that advance our mission in countless ways. I hope you will walk out of these doors today inspired by what international police partnerships and collaboration do to keep our families, our communities, our country and the world safe.
On behalf of the men and women of INTERPOL Washington, I want to express my deepest gratitude to our all of our partners, both here in the United States and around the world, for your unwavering support and collaboration. Together, we have accomplished so much over the past century, and I am confident that we will continue to make progress in the years to come.
Thank you once again for the privilege of speaking to you today, and for your ongoing dedication to the cause of global security and justice. Happy 100-year Anniversary, INTERPOL!
INTERPOL Washington Deputy Director Marc A. Zimmermann's remarks as prepared for delivery:
Good morning everyone.
Thank you for joining us today in celebration of INTERPOL’s 100th anniversary. Happy Birthday! From my perspective, 100 never looked so good! I am honored to speak with you about INTERPOL and what the organization means to law enforcement.
The International Criminal Police Organization has unparalleled reach, with 195 member countries, it is the largest police organization in the world. INTERPOL has a hand in nearly all facets of law enforcement – from border security and fugitive apprehensions, to child exploitation investigations and efforts to dismantle transnational criminal organizations. INTERPOL is at the center of so much of what happens in the global law enforcement community and that is no different here in the United States.
Through INTERPOL Washington, the over 18,000 law enforcement agencies here in the US are connected to a global network of law enforcement professionals, each one working to make the world a safer place. INTERPOL Washington provides law enforcement personnel, whether in remote locations or in big cities, with access to data to inform their decision making. This is all of you….federal, state, and local law enforcement working at INTERPOL Washington with partners from around the world, many of whom are represented here today.
While we are here to celebrate 100 years of INTERPOL, we are also celebrating 20 years of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security co-managing INTERPOL Washington. As the senior DHS official at INTEREPOL Washington, I can attest that the DHS commitment to partnership is in fact evident in everything that we do across the INTERPOL network. We partner, domestically and internationally, to share best practices and leverage expertise in our never-ending quest to bring criminals to justice throughout the world and increase the safety and security of the communities we serve.
Before we kick off the festivities here today, I want to take a moment to thank the women and men of INTERPOL Washington for the extraordinary work they undertake in support of law enforcement operations. And I want to thank all of you for being here today and for your commitment to INTERPOL. Working together, we can make a difference.
Updated May 23, 2023