LIBERIA: Policewoman breaks digital barrier with new Crime Statistics and Information System

Monrovia, Liberia; March 14, 2023: Police officer Carmenia Zotaa has worked manually in all her professional life.

The officer who doubles up as an investigator and statistician, has been recording and compiling investigation reports and crime statistics from her area of jurisdiction on paper before dispatching them manually to her superiors, who would in turn take weeks to review before returning them to her to make corrections and amendments. In retrospect, it was a long, arduous process.

However, today she is one of the Liberia Police digital trail blazers thanks to an online Crime Statistics Information System (CSIS), developed with support from UNDP. When the system was rolled out in January 2021, she was the only woman among five men selected to pioneer the use of the system in Montserrado County, the seat of the capital city Monrovia.

“Being able to use this technology has put us at par with our male colleagues. One came to me just the other day asking how I managed to learn to use the system. This makes me feel very accomplished … that I can reassure my male colleagues there is nothing to worry about …”, she said.

She expressed the difference digitalization has made to her work. The CSIS system had two components – a smart phone or tablet and an online portal which aggregates and analyzes crime information, easily generating reports for decision-makers in the LNP.

“Now I input information into the tablet as crime reports come in and before I know it the work of reporting is over, and I no longer have to struggle with bad handwritten reports,” officer Zotaa said.

She said she directly inputs alleged criminals’ biodata, their photos and other particulars of the crime including GPS locations even before they make an arrest. Previously they had to wait until a matter is heard and concluded in court, which often takes years, before submitting their final reports on crimes committed.

Being part of the rollout of digitalization of the police crime statistics information system has catapulted herinto the digital stratosphere.

“I know how to use social media, but I did not know how to send an email,” she said. “The CSIS system requires us to not only compile reports digitally, but also to submit them by email.”

As she deepens her digital prowess, she is happy to be able to connect and share experiences with colleagues nationally and regionally about her experiences and inter-agency collaboration.

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About Joel Cholo Brooks 14065 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.
Contact: Website

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