Ambassador Hovenier’s Remarks at the Hand-over Ceremony of Drones and Related Equipment for Kosovo Police and the Police Inspectorate

Ambassador Hovenier’s Remarks at the Hand-over Ceremony of Drones and Related Equipment for Kosovo Police and the Police Inspectorate, October 11, 2023

Kosovo Police General Director Hoxha, Police Inspectorate of Kosovo Chief Executive Officer Hodaj, Kosovo Police officers and staff, distinguished guests.

I am pleased to join you today in this ceremony to formalize the U.S. Government’s donation of seven unmanned aircraft systems to the Kosovo Police and to the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo.

Given the extent of criminal activity by organized crime groups in the region, these unmanned aircraft systems will be a vital resource for law enforcement in Kosovo to counter air and land based criminal activities.

These drones provide surveillance, tactical support, and perimeter security for police missions;

They can monitor sensitive and remote areas that are being used for migrant smuggling, clandestine narcotics trafficking, and other illicit smuggling activities; and,

They can gather evidence through recorded images and video footage which in turn can assist in resolving criminal cases within Kosovo’s courts.

The United States’ donation of these drones will also enhance public safety.

This equipment help can make incident response safer and more effective, support search and rescue operations, assist in disaster management, and in monitoring crowds and traffic.

Because drones can be deployed faster than conventional tools in an emergency, in the United States, our law enforcement officials consider drones to be a life-saving technology.

In the U.S., our police authorities use similar systems to manage dangerous situations, such as hostage rescue and high-speed car chase situations, allowing officers to engage perpetrators from a safe distance.

Better information leads to better decision making, especially in real-time tactical situations.

This donation and our continued support of law enforcement in Kosovo reflects our long-term commitment to the development of the Kosovo Police and the Kosovo Police Inspectorate and is an additional manifestation of the trust and confidence the United States places in the Republic of Kosovo to conduct independent counternarcotics and law enforcement missions.

Our support of the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo also underscores the priority we place on ensuring that law enforcement actions are transparent and that law enforcement officials are held accountable.

We also continue to work with the Kosovo Police to advance our shared commitment to the provision of accountable and transparent law enforcement services that benefit all citizens of Kosovo.

Over the past five years, the United States has provided more than $20 million in assistance, training, and equipment donations to modernize and improve accountability of law enforcement in Kosovo.

I would like to recognize the Kosovo Police and the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo for their enthusiastic and responsible partnership.

I also want to commend the KP’s coordination with KFOR on this project.

Finally, we also want to acknowledge outstanding interagency cooperation and support, including with the Information and Privacy Agency responsible for personal data protection.

On behalf of the entire U.S. Embassy team, I want to thank Kosovo Police General Director Hoxha and Police Inspectorate of Kosovo Chief Executive Officer Hodaj for their efforts to bring this project to fruition. We appreciate your continued, close collaboration.

Both the KP and PIK continue to demonstrate leadership in law enforcement reform and modernization not only in Kosovo, but across the region.

We deeply appreciate Kosovo’s efforts to contribute to transparency in policing and to strengthening your country’s civilian security.

Thank you!