The state-owned University of Liberia (UL) President Dr. Emmett Dennis, has urged graduating officers of the Liberia National Police to "lead the dirty, but rewarding work as we pursue security and prosperity" in post-conflict Liberia.
"Somebody must lead the dirty, but rewarding work. I'm afraid you have no choice- this is your choice. There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the LNP is living up to the challenge by being very proactive," said Dr. Dennis.
Delivering the keynote address on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at the graduation of 99 newly trained police officers held at the National Police Training Academy (NPTA) in Paynesville, Dr. Dennis observed that at present, the LNP is operating in a ...post-conflict environment of mixed circumstances of unusual lawless behavior, coupled with tremendous developmental progress.
Sensitizing the graduating officers of numerous challenges that they stand to encounter in the service, Dr. Dennis cited the high percentage of unskilled and unemployable youth, who have difficulty in meeting the qualifications or have not the resources to enter tertiary educational institutions.
"The absence of sufficient vocational/technical schools in themselves exacerbates the fragility of our peace and stability. This poses a challenge for the new police force," said Dr. Dennis.
Compared to the pre- 1980s security situation in the country, Dr. Dennis told the graduates, referred to as "Class 40" that they have to deal with ...mental aberrations ... which have resulted in significantly increased armed robbery and theft, drug trafficking and addiction, murders, rape and prostitution, and transmission of STDs, among others.
He informed the officers that they find themselves in a very fragile environment, emerging from a generation of soldiers that destroyed its fabrics. As government gathers with daunting challenges of reconstructing and rehabilitating the society, Dr. Dennis believed that the LNP is dependent upon to provide the kind of security and stability that will allow for the return of stability and prosperity in Liberia.
"Two generations of lawlessness exacerbate the difficulty yet, the importance of your task. No development can successfully take place in the absence of peace and security, for which you have responsibility," he said.
He however said after many years of civil unrest, the police force is regaining an appreciable level of respectability especially over the past years of the progressive leadership of Director Massaquoi and his abled lieutenant.
"In 1979, the year of the rice riot, the LNP had the strength of 1,782 with 1,364 officers deployed in Montserrado County. I understand that currently, the LNP has recruited and successfully trained and graduated 4,200 officers assigned throughout the country at 151 police stations. This is indeed commendable," Dr. Dennis said.