The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Gregory Coleman has called on communities across Liberia to build trust in the security sector, especially the police, in light of the October elections.
Speaking in Ganta on Saturday, April 15, as part of the LNP’s nationwide dialogue series held under the theme, “Yes to peace, no violence,” Coleman assured the public that the police will handle the elections professionally, and urged citizens not to take part in any violent behavior that would derail the hard won peace in the country.
“Don’t allow anybody to use you to get into election violence before and after the elections,” he said. “The police will be open and professional and also be connected to your communities.”
He added: “If you can trust other nationals for your security in the past elections, then put the same trust in us, as we are your children and from the same society.”
During a well-attended interactive forum in Ganta, the Inspector General revealed that the LNP started planning for the elections two years ago – comparing the past two elections, knowing the pros and cons, and have done surveys on elections across Africa, looking at the good and bad and to where to improve on.
He assured the public that ballot materials will be highly protected from their arrival to the end of the elections.
This is the first open forum between the Inspector General and citizens, where the citizens freely expressed themselves and asked questions about issues affecting them.
The IG, who traveled with his most senior officers, informed the public that the police is a neutral body and does not belong to any one party, “it is rather for all Liberians.”
The interactive forum started with a ground parade along the principal streets of Ganta by LNP officers; immigration officers (LIS), those of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), auxiliary community watch forums, motorcyclists and ordinary citizens.
Most of the people at the forum said they were happy with the LNP initiative, adding that they were also excited to see security officers marching and dancing together on the streets of Ganta.
“This is my first time to witness such a colorful event; we thank God for the level of peace that has been restored in our country,” said an onlooker.
Speaking on an issue of interest, the Mayor of Ganta, Benjamin Dokpa, extolled the LNP for bringing to book the alleged perpetrators of the recent murder of a NASSCORP worker and her ward.
He said the situation brought a dark cloud over Ganta that created fear in residents. He, meanwhile, asked for logistical support for the LNP Ganta detail.