The Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) over the weekend graduated 201 men and women as part of the training of officers the government initiated to augment the strength of the nation’s security sector ahead of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
Of the 201 graduates, 104 go to the LNP, with the remaining 97 going to the LDEA. This is the second batch of graduates the LDEA has put out since it was established in 1993.
Guest speaker and Deputy Justice Minister for Administration Cllr. Wheatonia Y. Dixon Barnes admonished the graduates to serve as ambassadors of peace at their respective assignments and in their communities, adding: “It is the duty of security officers to serve the people, and we must therefore do so with pride and dignity.
“You are going to be working with people in the community and it is important that you strengthen your relationship with the residents in places where you will be assigned, because the national security strategy recognizes the importance of community engagement.”
The graduation, Minister Barnes said, is a major step towards achieving the government’s target to increase the numerical strength of security forces until they reach the desired benchmarks.
For the exercise to be gender balanced, Minister Barnes called on the BIN, the LDEA and the LNP to encourage more females, at least 20 percent, to form part of their future recruitments.
According to Barnes, providing training, equipping the personnel and overseeing the appropriate deployment of additional LNP and LDEA officers in specific areas are some of the challenges facing the government.
Also speaking, Police Director Gregory O. W. Coleman commended the trainees for completing the basic requirements for graduating.
He called on the graduates to remain focused, noting that their responsibility to public service starts with the graduation ceremony.
“As you graduate today, you have assumed the responsibility to enforce the law especially for people who often violate the rights of others without seeking redress through the justice system.”
He reminded graduates to honor and respect the Constitution of Liberia as they move from being civilians to security personnel who serve the people, and not the other way around.
LDEA Deputy Director for Administration Gwee K. Porkpah said the ceremony marks another significant day in the history of the Association.