Interior minister makes his pick to head police agency
Interior Minister Lee Sang-min nominated Yoon Hee-geun, deputy commissioner general of the National Police Agency (NPA), to lead the agency on Tuesday.
Lee told reporters at a press briefing that he nominated Yoon as the NPA’s 23rd commissioner general at a meeting of the National Police Commission in Seodaemun District, central Seoul.
The commission is the NPA’s policy making and oversight body.
“I requested a special meeting of the National Police Commission to decide on a candidate for the position of commissioner general, and the commission reached an agreement today,” Lee said.
According to article 14 of the Police Act, the appointment of the police commissioner general is the responsibility of the president.
A candidate must, however, first receive the commission’s backing before they are formally nominated by the interior minister to the prime minister, who reviews the nomination before passing it onto the president for approval.
Nominees must also undergo a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly, but the appointment does not require the legislature’s approval.
The announcement of Yoon's nomination came a day after chiefs of regional police officers’ associations shaved their heads outside the NPA's headquarters on Monday to protest the interior ministry’s plan to establish a bureau to oversee police investigations.
The police agency is due to take over most investigative powers from the state prosecution service in September, when a law passed by the liberal Democratic Party comes into effect.
Yoon majored in law at the National Police University and was commissioned as an officer in 1991.
He is currently serving as the police agency’s deputy commissioner general, having previously served as a frontline police officer, chief of the Cheongju Heungdeok Police Precinct, head of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's information management department and chief of the NPA’s public order management bureau.
In comments to reporters, Lee expressed confidence in Yoon’s suitability for the agency’s top post, saying, “Yoon has a formidable reputation based on his wide-ranging career and diverse skills, which are derived from his abundant experience in intelligence, security and regional police work, and I believe he has the ability to lead 140,000 police officers.”
The interior minister added that the commission selected Yoon as their candidate for the commissioner general position based on his sense of duty.
“We judged that [Yoon] was the right person to carry out the police mission of protecting people’s lives and property and safeguarding public welfare and order in a fair and faithful manner that is grounded in a strong sense of national duty," Lee said.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]