[EDITORIALS]A Put-Up Job by the Police?

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[EDITORIALS]A Put-Up Job by the Police?

The alumni association of the Korea National Police Academy recently issued a public statement about the violent police clash with demonstrators from the Daewoo Motor Company labor union. Reports that a chief secretary to Lee Moo-young, the commissioner general of the National Police Agency, was involved in preparing the statement shocked the public. The chief secretary reportedly phoned the head of the alumni association three days before the statement was issued, urging the association to take action. He reportedly attended a meeting of class representatives of the alumni association, though he was not a member. The alumni meeting was not held only because of the secretary's phone call, police explained, because there were other members who called for a meeting. But it will be readily inferred that any word spoken by the chief secretary represents the intention of his boss. Rumors about replacing Mr. Lee have been around, suggesting that the chief secretary might have been doing his boss's bidding.

The alumni body's statement referred to criticism of police violence as a method of "shaking up the police" and warned against "any action to use the recent incident as a political maneuver." It supports police reform, led by Mr. Lee, clearly indicating the association's opposition to replacing him. The police began to investigate the preparation of the statement only after the press reported the intervention of the chief secretary. The statement seems to be nothing more than a move to save some police leaders, rather than expressing a desire to restore the lost dignity of public authority. The people involved in it seemed to receive nothing more than written warnings. Such lukewarm action is intolerable, considering that the police are supposed to stand for high principles and order.

Public authority must never be undermined. But public distrust of the police will be only heightened if the police instigate such loyalty statements to protect higher-ups from dismissal. Saving someone's job can never be a priority; restoring the dignity of the police must be the first priority.
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