Police boss needs to step up

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Police boss needs to step up

The state of the police is a cause for concern. Within the police force there is strong opposition to a request by Lee Taek-soon, the commissioner general of the National Police Agency.
Lee wants to punish Hwang Un-ha, a senior police official of the Police Comprehensive Academy. Hwang argued in a message posted on an internal police network that Lee should resign over the handling of the affair involving Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn, who was given an 18-month sentence for attacking bar workers who brawled with his son. Lee’s reasoning is that Hwang violated the police code of conduct by writing a letter calling for the head of the police department to step down for publicly criticizing Lee in the media, creating mistrust in police leadership and staining the image of police prestige. While it is true that within an organization built on following orders, it is inappropriate for police officers to call for the resignation of their leader. The police commissioner must lead by example and show responsibility.
When the commissioner is shaken by current events, it is hard to uphold the chain of command. Commissioner Lee told the National Assembly that he did not have a phone conversation with Yoo Si-wang, his friend and an adviser at Hanwha Securities Co. It turned out, however, that Lee talked to Yoo on the phone, exchanged text messages and played golf with him. We may not know the exact content of the police code of conduct, but if there were any violations, they were committed by Lee first.
Despite pressure from the press to resign, Lee kept his seat due to support from the Blue House.
Last month he officially apologized to the public, saying he would promote a culture within the police that allows healthy criticism. But the fact that he won’t allow criticism aimed at him shows how narrow-minded he is.
The fact that the police is very much aligned with the Roh administration’s new press policy shows that Lee is paying back the Blue House and is getting back at the press that has criticized him.
Notably he may have lied about a case in which the police accessed information on presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak.
The police are paid to be the helpers of the people, not to act as tools of power. Lee should stop wasting efforts to punish his subordinates, and reflect on himself.
That is how he can become a true tool of the people.

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