For some time now, Liberia’s men and women in blue, the much maligned Liberia National Police – LNP - have been at the receiving end of persistent allegations of professional impropriety and downright corruption by observers at home and concerned institutions abroad.
These allegations have unfortunately proved accurate by the unwholesome behavior of some bad apples within the ranks of the over worked and underfunded LNP.
The once shining prestige of the LNP has over the years lost its luster, to the point where even commercial motorists plying the country’s deteriorating roads in towns, cities and on the highways, continue to treat Liberia police officers with disdain.
On any given day one can watch with incredulity, uniformed police officers not only turning a blind eye to traffic violations by particularly taxi and commercial bus drivers obstructing traffic at sensitive areas such as the Broad and Johnson Streets intersection and at the Point Four - Tweh Farm corridor in Duala’s overcrowded market enclave.
Some of these officers can even be seen audaciously ‘loading’ cars in the Redlight district, on upper Randall Street and in Duala to the consternation of onlookers.
These absurd situations have not been helped with the arrests of some of these so-called police officers for their alleged involvement in the very crimes they were supposed to prevent.
“These ‘gremlins’ are the ones creating all the negative labels for the police force,” remarked a veteran member of the force.
It is this appalling show of disrespect for the very statutory badge that some of these ‘officers’ wear on their shoulders that prompts a resounding welcome to the appointment of Gregory Coleman as the new Director of the LNP.
Thankfully Greg Coleman is no new comer to the LNP. He had worked through the ranks with an inside knowledge of how the police force operates.
Now that he has been placed at the helm of the LNP, Liberians at home including the stressed up inhabitants of this overcrowded city called Monrovia, will be expecting him to clean up the prevailing awkward performance of the men and women under his charge.
These expectations will be buttressed with knowledge of his impressive credentials and his legendary ability to get things done the right way.
Granted, the new police Director will have his job cut out for him in a country where old bad habits die hard.
He will also be expected to institute new regulations against vehicle operators using their mobile phones while driving, a habit that continues to increase the disturbing high rate of road accidents in the country, some of which have proved fatal.
The use of roads by vehicles that have long passed their road worthiness and the resultant practice of repairing these museum pieces on the already congested roads should be robustly discouraged by the traffic division.