The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Police Chief Backs Corrupt Cops

In the midst of continued public criticisms over alleged corrupt practices by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Deputy Police Director for Administration Rose E. Stryker has argued that low salaries being paid patrol officers could prompt corruption.

While alluding in her comment on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at the National Police Headquarters that low salaries could not serve as justifiable reason for officers' corruption, Dep. Director Stryker cited numerous constraints facing police officers in meeting their family's needs, including high rental fees, tuition, among others, and that their salaries could hardly settle them in a tough environment.

"For instance, the salary that is being paid a patrol officer - let's take for instance US$150; we live in a tough environment. When our officers go out to rent, US$75.00 monthly for their family; they ask them for six months to one year...

They are to save for six or seven months, without using anything for food, for tuition for their children in order to rent for $75.00... what do they do in the mean time?," Stryker asked rather rhetorically.

The Deputy Police Chief said, "You hear a lot of reports about corruption - corruption in the police. W we are saying that there is situation that is created for some of us, which makes it easy for some of us to do things... that are not pleasant."

She admitted that indeed, the action is not right for officers to "put their hands down to taxi drivers (that is to collect money from drivers),but she suggested that lawmakers and other relevant authorities in government should do something about improving salaries and incentives for police officers to prevent corruption.

"I'm not making excuses about that. How can we prevent this, we can empower the men and women in the unit to stop putting their hands down... this is just food for thought," said Deputy Director Stryker.

She made these comments when a group calling itself Society for the Promotion of Peace, National Reconciliation and Reunification (SPNRL) honored the Deputy Police Chief for her sacrificial and diligent efforts in the promotion of peace in Liberia.

Rose Stryker among other things said the LNP is still striving for excellence, "but we haven't gotten there yet." She however assured that the LNP is ready and prepared for the task ahead, as the police take over from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Later during a joint honoring program held for Police Director Chris Masssaquoi and Rose Stryker on Wednesday by the Women for Change, the Police Chief Massaquoi vowed that the organization will do everything possible to assure that lives and properties are protected in the country in the midst of limited logistics.

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