Recruitment for new Police begins
…Chairman Bryant Wants “Educated” People

By: Morrison O. G. Sayon

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 6, 2004

As Liberia moves away from the 14-year old devastating civil conflict which ravaged every fabric of the society, the need for a new security apparatus has been of paramount concern to well-meaning Liberians as well as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Based on this observation by UNMIL and as stipulated in Article 8 of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, a new police force for Liberia - The Liberian Police Service has been launched by UNMIL which is expected to replace the Liberian National Police (LNP) soon.

Recruitment for the new police force (LPS) commenced on Wednesday with the launching program held at the Liberia National Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill. The total number to be recruited is 3,500. The program brought together government officials, including NTGL Chairman C. Gyude Bryant, UNSGSR Amb. Jacques Paul Klein, UN Civilian Police Commissioner Mark Kroeker, among others.

Addressing a major news conference at the end of the program, the UN Civilian Police Commissioner Mark Kroeker said, UNMIL in close collaboration with the rule of law committee has instituted a process that has as its primary objective, providing to Liberians a diverse police service comprised of qualified individuals of high integrity that place service to the public first and foremost, and above all, perform their duties with respect, compassion and dignity.

He said UNMIL has the ability to provide a mechanism that is transparent, impartial and quality-based, a mechanism that in the future can be readily integrated into the police service so that all of those qualified would have an equal opportunity for consideration of employment.

Commissioner Kroeker then noted that the aim of UNMIL is to provide to the people of Liberia a competent police force of the highest integrity, a force that exudes respect, tolerance compassion and dignity for their fellow man in the performance of duty.

Responding to a question, Commissioner Kroeker pointed out that the new police force will be a new organization with a new name and will have a new chapter and new members; stressing that members of the LNP and the newly-trained interim police will have to apply to form part of the new police.

Commissioner Kroeker among other things, noted that the qualification of members for the new police force includes high school certificate, be free of criminal record, be free of allegations, of crime against humanity, war crimes or human rights conventions, among others.

Meanwhile, Transitional Government Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant says the new Liberian Police Force that is expected to be established needs educated Liberians.

Chairman Bryant made the observation when he spoke at programs marking the recruitment for a new Liberian National Police Service which took place at the Central Police Headquarters on Capital High.

The NTGL Chairman urged the UN Police Commissioner Mark Kroeker to focus the ongoing recruitment efforts of the police on High School seniors and graduates as well as those enrolled at the University of Liberia by calling on them to join the police force.

Chairman Bryant said there is nothing subordinating about high school and university graduates joining the Liberian National Police stressing that educated police officers will help those who have not achieved that level of education to do so.

The NTGL Chairman added that the establishment of a new police force, has become necessary because of the abuses, insults, humiliation, harassment among others the police has brought on the people.

He said as the process of recruitment is being carried out to form a new police force, never again should Liberians experience the way they were treated by the police in the past.

He cautioned the new recruits to strive and earn their respect of the people but respecting their basic civil liberty.

Chairman Bryant used the occasion to urged Liberian women to take advantage of the opportunity.

Earlier, United Nations Secretary General Special Representative Jacques Paul Klein urged the NTGL to prioritize the issue of rule of law that will protect the people.

For his part, Acting Police Director Joseph Kerkula called on the UN police authority to not only focus the funds it has for the establishment of the new police force on man power development but on the facilities that they sit in or used to carry out their job.

Director Kerkula also appealed for better incentives and a good retirement scheme for office who are getting older. He suggested the need to carry out the formation of the new police in keeping with the Liberian Constitution.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.