By Staff Sgt. Lance PoundsJanuary 7, 2016
VICENZA, Italy - Col. Darius Gallegos has been a lot of things throughout his life; a star athlete, a scholar, a police officer, and currently the only American serving at the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units.
Gallegos serves as the deputy director for the CoESPU, as well as a liaison for U.S. Army Africa. His mission is assisting training civilian police forces from 96 countries worldwide for pre- and post-conflict engagements to better conduct stability policing operations during United Nation missions.
"Right now we are focused on the African continent," he said.
Gallegos said CoESPU parallels and supports the efforts of U.S. Africa Command and USARAF.
"It's been my job to synchronize those efforts and to support one another for the final end-state of our missions," said Gallegos.
According to Gallegos, the civilian aspect of UN policing missions helps stabilize partner nations.
"Without civilian police and law enforcement, the rule of law, we would just have chaos," said Gallegos.
Gallegos said CoESPU trains police officers to keep good order and discipline within their countries, cities, and regions.
"That is how we support USARAF," said Gallegos.
Gallegos' position at the CoESPU is relatively new and unique in nature. He is the only American serving at an Italian facility. The CoESPU is an international organization, managed by Italian officials and funded by the U.S Department of State.
He was specifically selected to serve as the center's deputy director by the Provost Marshal General of the Army, Maj. Gen. Mark S. Inch, while serving on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
"This job allows me to work internationally and strengthen bonds with our partners and allies, as well as the bilateral agreement we have with Italy," said Gallegos.
Gallegos is no stranger to overseas assignments. More than 15 years of his life have been spent living in European countries.
In high school, and throughout college, he was a football player and more notably a wrestler. Gallegos was a European wrestling champion.
"Winning the European championship was self-gratifying," said Gallegos.
"It is a one-on-one sport, but you wrestle on a team for a school. As I was the team leader, it meant a lot to me to lead by example," he added.
Gallegos said leadership is what he knows, "it's in my blood."
He hails from a military family with nearly a century of service to the U.S. Army combined.
Gallegos said his family is what makes him strong, referring to them as his cornerstone or his foundation.
Gallegos said he frequently travels in support of various courses offered by CoESPU. Currently, the center provides 12 courses, all taught to UN standards.
"A great course right now, is our Train-the-Trainer course," he said.
The course consists of an initial four weeks of classroom and field training and an additional four weeks of mentorship as attendees return to their home country to share what they learned within their organizations.
"Recent graduates of the course were from Uganda. They are back home now, preparing for the final four week mentorship portion of the course," said Gallegos.
He added the UN Diplomatic Peacekeeping Operations would later validate the Ugandans, allowing the Ugandan police forces to conduct UN missions.
Gallegos said he also intends to travel to each combatant command and inform leaders about the CoESPU and its capabilities.
"People from 96 countries attend training here, a great portion of them from the African continent," said Gallegos.
He added, the civil disturbance training site located in Longare, approximately 20 minutes from the CoESPU, enables instructors to train attendees in hand-to-hand combat, pat down and search techniques, room clearing and tactical movements, firearm qualifications and riot control, to include reacting to crude incendiary devices, such as Molotov cocktails.
"And all that training happens here." Gallegos said.