One hundred and thirty three police officers, ranging from Superintendents of police to Deputy Commissioners of Police have completed a Senior Level Management Training Course afford by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre based in Accra, Ghana, as a part of a capacity building program initiated by the leadership of the Liberia National Police in the wake of the drawdown of the United Nation Mission here in Liberia.
The program sponsored by the Japanese Government was implemented by the United Nations Development Program through the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre at the cost of Seven hundred thousand United States Dollars.
Severing as Keynote Speaker Justice Minister Fredrick Cherue called on the graduates to exercise the knowledge obtained from course for the good of the country and people of Liberia. Minister Cherue said the lack of professionalism was gradually killing Liberian institutions with the Liberia National Police being of no exception. The Liberian Justice Minister said capacity building for the Liberia National Police was crucial especially went the UN Mission was pulling out of the country thus leaving security responsibilities with the local security apparatus.
Minister Jerue cautioned officers to be professional and patience minded went executing their duty, adding that such virtues are important for peace officers serving their country. He said the government of Liberia was grateful to the Government and people of Japan for supporting the training of the officers, and described Japan as a true partner to Liberia.
In remarks the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police Gregory Coleman said his administration will take some hard decisions to professionalize the Police Department, stressing that only the merit system will be used to promote officers in the police. IGP Coleman said the lack of merit system has damaged the police over the past time, and was prepared to take some hard decisions that will put the LNP back on track with other police institutions in the sub-region.
IGP Coleman said the LNP Administration was currently working out modalities with the Government of Liberia to pension over one hundred long serving and over age officers from the LNP. He said the LNP over the years has been unable to progress due to the lack of system which he said has impeded the progress of the organization. He reminded the graduates of his commitment to reform the LNP, and called on them to prepare their emotions for the hard decisions that his administration will take in the future.
He said positions that will be vacant as the result of the pension program will be occupied by only officers that will meet the standard and qualification and not by favoritism .
“ our decision to institute the scheme is not intended to get at any particular group of officers, but to clean up the system to allow other younger and qualified officers to be promoted”, IGP Coleman said.
Coleman warned the officers not to be complacent in the performance of their duty, but practice the knowledge they acquired from the course.
The Liberian Police Chief praised the government of Japan for the support they continue to render the Liberia National Police, adding that Japanese support has helped the LNP addressed some of the logistical constrains it is facing.
For his part Japanese Ambassador to Liberia His Excellency Mr. Kaoru Yoshimura said the training sponsored by his government is part of activities under the project “ Strengthening Policing and Arms Control Capacities of the Government of Liberia Post UNMIL Drawdown”, in collaboration with the UNDP, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre and the Government of Liberia.
He said the program is aims at aiding the development of the technical and operational capacity of the Liberia National Police for effective law enforcement in view of the drawdown of the UN Mission.
Amb.Yoshimura told the graduates that the relevance of the course will however not materialize unless the participants commit themselves to ensuring that the rich experiences gain here are implemented in the discharge of their functions.
He said “ wherever you find yourself after this course make it a point to share your acquired skills and make an impact, it is only through this that we can all together make a difference in the quest to ensure the stability of Liberia,” the Japanese envoy said.
In conclusion Mr. Yoshimura re-affirmed Japan’s commitment to promote a stable Liberia and also commend the government and people of Liberia, the UNDP, KAIPTC, the LNP, and other stakeholders for supporting the program.
In a brief remark Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo who himself is a former police officer admonished the graduates to serve with hard degree of professionalism and honesty. He said police functions call for committed individuals that will put country and people over oneself.
He said as head of Security and Intelligence Committee at the Liberian Senate he will continue to work with the leadership of the Liberia National Police in addressing the capacity gap facing the police for better service delivery.