Sitting on their hands

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Sitting on their hands

A string of sloppy and lax police responses at crime scenes have underscored various problems with police officers responsible for defending civilian lives. A female police officer and male officer, who arrived at the of a violent skirmish due to a conflict over noise among neighbors in Incheon, abandoned the murder scene.

The police failed to save a woman in her 30s, who was killed by a former boyfriend, while she was under police protection even though she repeatedly alerted the police through a smart watch. The police are inexcusable for failing to prevent a crime that had been foreseeable and reported by the victims.

But blaming female officers for the latest mishaps cannot be right. Lee Jun-seok, head of the main opposition People Power Party said the people anticipate that the police recruit officers who can protect the lives and property of people regardless of their gender. The police blame the male officer more for the Incheon incident than the female rookie officer who was in training. For the Yangpeyong incident, police arrested the armed attacker after gun shots.

The female officer who fled from the scene — as claimed by a YouTuber — was in the backup role, not a part of the offense team. It is groundless to attack female officers who make up more than 10 percent of the police force. The debate cannot help security, either. A district chief officer worried that female officers could be abused by civilians who record them through their smartphones.

A series of events, however, have exposed serious problems with the police. President Moon Jae-in apologized and National Police Commissioner Kim Chang-ryong vowed to set up a task force. One retired police chief complained that more field officers are taken away when a task force is established every time a big incident occurs. Minor opposition People’s Party floor leader Kwon Eun-hee criticized the government and ruling party who led the police reform. A senior police officer said the higher-ups ignored the field complaints about the flaws in the police smart watch.

The problems and concerns all must be listened to and reflected in making fixes to the realignment in field officers and revision of the manual in using weapons in crime scenes. There also must be measures to protect female officers from stereotype hatred.
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