By David S. Menjor
Justice Minister Cllr. Frederick Cherue has called on police officers to avoid brutality while discharging their duties to the Liberian people.
Speaking at the program marking the joint graduation ceremony of 133 senior police officers at the Liberia National Police Training Academy (LNPTA) in Paynesville recently, Minister Cherue said police officers should use patience, compassion, discipline and love while serving the people.
“We are aware that there are several challenges in maintaining law and order, but you have to equally understand that the people you serve need your professional care, protection and love. Be gentle and responsible in your job,” he admonished.
The Justice Minister said that changing the public’s negative perception of the justice system must begin with how well police officers behave, apart from their knowledge of issues that affect the people, including knowing law violators and ordinances.
“No police officer has any right to use a gun, baton or any other weapon against a person only because he or she is insulted. Police officers must have patience and understand that they too are not above the very laws they are protecting,” Cherue noted.
He said attitudes are difficult to change and that those who break the law do so because of indiscipline. Cherue then cautioned that a law enforcer should not perceive the people he or she is supposed to protect as lawless.
“We are not prepared to live in the ugly past and as police officers you need the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, and the strength of Sampson in biblical times to get the job done,” he said.
For his part, the Ambassador of Japan accredited near Monrovia, H.E. Kaoru Yoshimura, said his country is impressed with Liberia’s progress in the maintenance of peace and respect for the rule of law.
“This project forms part of activities under the project to strengthen the policing and arms control capacities of the government of Liberia post UNMIL drawdown, which is funded by the government of Japan in collaboration with the UNDP and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center,” Ambassador Kaoru said.
“In the TICAD VI, which took place last year, our leaders committed themselves to support the realization of three main pillars, and they are: economic diversification, enhancing resilience of the health sector, and promoting social stability.
“Fortunately Liberia has worked hard to remain a stable nation though there are many areas of security vulnerabilities due to the high rate of unemployment and other systemic weaknesses.”
He said that because of such conditions, including the UNMIL drawdown, the LNP will have to play a more crucial role in this year’s elections, and in the coming years.
“This training program, which we consider very timely and relevant in contributing to stability in this country, is to build the capacity of police officers so as to allow them to effectively and professionally discharge their duties,” the Japanese envoy added.
Also speaking, Col. Gregory Coleman, the Inspector General of the LNP, congratulated the Japanese government for supporting the endeavors of the security sector and promised that his office will not rest in the execution of what is expected of it.
“It is our prayer that the challenge of not having all the required logistics to do our job be mitigated adequately so we may have more advantage to serve in all the neighborhoods, quarters, zones, communities, districts and counties of our country,” he added.