All-female police team finds acceptance
A police investigation team in Seoul consisting exclusively of eight women is drawing public attention for its kind and sympathetic service to local residents, especially the elderly and women.
“Since the investigation team of policewomen was launched last month, we have received lots of compliments from local people,” said Hwang Gyeong-hui, the 46-year-old leader of the third economic crime investigation team of Jungnang Police Precinct. “Lots of victims have expressed satisfaction with our team. Many say they really want female police officers to handle their cases.”
Kim Jong-man, a senior police office at the precinct, said, “At first, we were worried about the women-only investigation team. Because of some tough cases, they could feel difficulties. But now, we are dealing with a number of phone calls from other police precincts that want to copy our team.”
The JoongAng Ilbo visited the team’s office on April 1 and saw one investigating a woman in her 50s without yelling or threats.
“I felt like I was visiting a bank, not a police precinct,” the suspect said when asked how she thought about the female officer.
“The goal of our team is not to interrogate a suspect to solve a case, but to provide a security service to local people,” Hwang said. “I think police officers should make efforts to satisfy their visitors, just like private companies satisfying their customers.”
Kim Hui-gyeong, a 34-year-old policewoman, visited a house last month in Myeonmok-dong, northeastern Seoul, where a 74-year-old woman was living alone.
The old woman, who had recently suffered a stroke, appealed to Kim that she had bought some worthless oriental medicine for 2.5 million won ($2,291) from a door-to-door salesperson.
After the woman said she had offered a drink of milk to the salesperson, Kim took the carton and requested a fingerprint and DNA analysis by the National Forensic Service.
“I really felt sorry for the old woman as if she were my grandmother and just kept listening to what she was telling me,” Kim said. “And I luckily got a clue. She hugged me and said she really appreciated my attention to her case.”
Kim is now waiting for the results of the analysis.
Jeong Yun-suk, a 34-year-old policewoman, said she received a text message from a suspect she had been investigating for three weeks, saying “I really appreciate your kindness and have a happy day.”
Jeon said, “It was very rare for me to hear such a warm comment from a suspect, not a victim. Regardless of whether they are guilty or not, all suspects want to seek emotional sympathy from female police officers.”
Hwang said all of the members of her team have a duty to serve a cup of tea to whoever visits the team.
“The initial purpose of investigating economic crimes is not to punish the suspect, but to reimburse damages to victims,” Hwang said. “So we have a principle of treating suspects in a humane way.”
By Shim Sae-rom [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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