The New Dawn (Monrovia)

8 April 2014

Liberia: Police Win U.S. Confidence

Former UNPOL Commissioner, now Senior Liaison Officer at the American Embassy near Monrovia, Mr. John Nielsen says Liberia has every reason in the world to be proud of its police service, judging from the police's past and present performances.

In a brief comment on Capitol Hill at the formal departure of Ex-police commissioner for operation Mr. Darlington George, and elevation of other senior police officers Monday, Mr. Nielsen applauded the two selected officers Mr. Gregory Coleman and Mr. Robert Saah as two of the finest young men.

Having interacted with the police here since 2007 when he worked under the UN Peacekeeping mission as UN Police Commissioner, he says Liberia has every reason in the world to be proud of its police service as many have seen the things that have happened to the agency over the period of time.

"... That I can go to someone, the deputy secretary of state and tell him like I did last night, that Liberia has every reason in the world to be proud of their police service. I have been doing this for many years; I know good police men, I know good managers as soon as I see them," he told police authorities including Director Chris Massaquoi at the National Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill.

He further told the Liberia National Police or LNP, "You have good managers; you have good officers; you have an excellent police service and you have won, and make no mistake about this- won good to give credit for the accomplishment ... "

He concluded that the LNP will be where it needs to be when it is led by its own competent leadership, and that the UN and donor community can now go by their business somewhere else.

As Mr. Darlington George moves to the elite Executive Protection Service or EPS, Mr. Gregory Coleman has been elevated to the post he (George) previously occupied as the new police commissioner for operation or 104; while Mr. Robert Saah now becomes commissioner of police for operations. In his parting comment, Mr. Darlington George made a recommendation that the leaders of the security apparatus here coordinate to effectively run national security; while at the same time urging his fellow security colleagues to be committed to the job and not come to the service with the mindset to chase riches.

"As I leave the Liberia National Police, I just want to say to you guys that while I'm up there, I will also make sure that if there's a problem that I need to chip in the President's ear, I will do that," he assured the LNP.

Liberia's Police Director Chris Massaquoi, recalled that when the police was restructured, everybody was gotten rid of including arson investigators, homicide investigators and people in professional areas were layoff, which gave the police and nation difficult time.

"... Very difficult time, because we didn't have experts in the police anymore; at one time you could even realize that when our cases went to court, they threw it out of court because the young people that were coming in didn't even know how to open a case file," he said.

But having gone through that for a very long time, Director Massaquoi said the police got back on track by encouraging the old experts to come back as advisors.

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