When the Director of the Liberia National Police, Chris Massaquoi, on July 13 during the ‘Class Seven Graduation of the Police, vowed to dismiss any officer or group of police officers caught in acts of misconduct and corruption without salaries and benefits, many took it very lightly. A day following Director Massaquoi’s warning, three officers of the Police Support Unit or PSU Liberia National Police who may have taken the Director’s warning as a ‘mere joke’ became victimized.
The officers are reported to have been arrested in the ghetto in their official police uniforms ‘smoking marijuana. Massaquoi, who described the situation as very grave, cautiously reiterated his warning to police officers against engaging in acts of misconduct such as drugs abuse and corruption, not compatible with the modus operandi of the force. The action of the Director was taken amid numerous reports of abuses of various sorts perpetrated by officers of various units of the LNP.
While we may appreciate and commend the Liberian Chief of Police for the action against the three men, it is also fair to note that it is belated judging from the persistent misconduct, theft and acts of corruption over-shadowing the operations of his men in the field. Had such action commenced upon assuming the office of Director of Police, Chris Massaquoi and the hierarchy of the LNP would not have been confronted with the current embarrassment they face.
In as much as we join the authorities of the LNP in decrying the deviant and unprofessional attitudes of some officers of the National Police, it is also important for the leadership of the force to employ an effective and efficient mechanism, wherein the activities of the men and women in the field, most especially those in the traffic and others who assign themselves on the “hustle” on the various highways will be monitored. This, when instituted, will discourage most of the misconduct and corrupt attitudes and save the image of the Liberia National Police.
While the hierarchy of the LNP considers such monitoring mechanism, the need for capacity-building, in terms of logistics for the men and women in the field, cannot be over-emphasized. In addition to logistics, these officers must be highly motivated with attractive salaries and benefits so as to avoid the professional dark cloud over that noble organization. What is due the men and women in the field must be given to them because it is also possible that the ugly behavior of police men and women could be the failure of the police administration to provide the necessary logistics and parodies to facilitate field movements.
While we do agree with Police Director Chris Massaquoi that “those in the LNP did not join the force to amass riches”, these men and women too have families and relatives that they must cater; they too need to survive and live better life even if it is not at the level of senior officers. All of the necessary actions may be very good to ensure disciple and professionalism in the Police, but the basic and professional needs of the men and women in the field must also be met.