In recent times, the Liberia National Police has been at the centre of various discussions on the unwholesome and unprofessional behavior of some of its field and operations personnel.
As if the current administration of Liberia and international community, including the United Nations did not spend huge sums of money to give them all of the requisite trainings that a modern-day police force needs in dealing with or handling conflict and crime situations at the national Training Academy, most of the field and operation personnel have become very violent in their relationships with citizens during crisis.
Situations are even worst at the various checkpoints and ports of entry where business men and women, as well as passengers and drivers are harassed and intimidated without any regards to their human rights.
As usual, these allegations were always denied until of late when the Director of the Liberia National Police acknowledged most of these reports during a news conference at National Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill. Thank God that he really admitted and promised to put into place mechanisms aimed at curtailing such unwholesome practices by “our Life protectors and criminal fighters.”
Whether or not Director Marc Amblard and his Liberia National Police were able to determine the reasons behind such attitudes by our brothers and sisters in the police on the streets, at parking stations and in the various communities, our only hope is that whatever steps they’ve taken would be monitored “24/7” and backed by the appropriate actions to deter any recurrence as a way of upholding standards in the LNP.
This, again, will require the efforts of not only Marc Amblatd, but his chief lieutenants and other senior officers at “Central” or elsewhere in the country.
These chief lieutenants and senior officers must be able to set the right examples by adhering to the standards/ethics of law enforcement or criminal justice for other low grade personnel of the police to follow.
We say this in reference to the recent behavior of the Deputy Director of Police for Operations, Colonel Al Karlay exhibited against the Court system in Monrovia.
Director Karlay had deliberately chosen to initially defy justice by ignoring a citation of summon issued to him by Criminal Court ‘A’ to explain his role in the impoundment of a cement truck with registration numbers: TT-163 at the Zone Five Police station in Paynesville on October 1, 2010.
Like anyone would, Karlay attributed his delay and ignorance of the court’s summon to the failure of his ”immediate boss”, Colonel Marc Amblard to deliver the citation to him, when he finally appeared before Judge James W. Zota of Criminal Court ‘A’ just recently.
Perhaps because Karlay could not justify his action when the truck had earlier been arrested, investigated and cleared of any violations by an Assistant Commissioner of police, he was ordered by the Court to immediately release the truck, and having realized that the law was above him, the vehicle was released on Monday 18, October.
What’s most appalling is the decision of a senior law enforcement officer to defy or ignore justice until he’s either persuaded by some higher ups or threatened by the court.
His behavior only reminded us and other well-meaning Liberians about his recent past at the Sinkor fish market residence of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative when he exhibited attitudes unbecoming of a law enforcer before multitudes of Liberians and other onlookers, including journalists while pursuing him.
We are further reminded about his previous days at the LNP as Deputy Director for Administration when he was dismissed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for allegedly misappropriating hundreds of gasoline coupons.
He must understand that it is through his behavior and those of other high ranking officers that the men and women of the Liberia National Police will exhibit the highest degree of responsibility in discharging their duties on the field.
Whether or not Karlay’s decision to ignore Criminal Court ‘A’ was heavily influenced as we have seen in past administrations, we think as a trained cop who worked in the United States, he should have exercised some level of professionalism by adhering to the rule of law.
As Deputy Police Chief, we had actually thought that Al Karlay would have done himself favor and respect by submitting to due process just as he would have had ordinary citizens of Liberia caught in violation of laws adhere to the jurisdiction of the Liberia National Police.
Such action, we believe, would have afforded him an opportunity to redeem his lost image in favor of the admiration and respect as a senior law enforcement officer of Liberia. But as he behaved, we see a very serious image problem for him and the police in the minds of ordinary Liberians.
Karlay must remember that there is always a tomorrow to any day, and that which one does today, would live after him or her. As Deputy Chief of the Liberia National Police Force, he must be setting examples as a so-called trained cop for others to follow.