General Behar Selimi discusses the formation, structure, international aid relationship, and future of the Kosovan Police Service. He begins by explaining his personal involvement with Yugoslavian and then Kosovan public security service. General Selimi was part of the second class to graduate from the Kosovan police academy, which opened in 1999. He describes the original application process for the academy and the two systems of advancement within in the service, appointment and promotion. Appointment filled the higher ranks after examination by foreign supervisors and three weeks of senior management training under observation. Promotions filled vacancies in the service’s lower positions by selecting applicants from the rank below with the best combination of standardized test scores and interview evaluations. General Selimi then discusses the formation of the Kosovo Police Service, commenting on the roles of the UN Mission in Kosovo, International Police Officers, and Steve Bennett and others of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He explains the shortcomings of non-locals and high turnover rates in the international supervision of the Kosovan Police Service. While some International Police Officers greatly aided Kosovo’s effort to establish a security service, many inhibited the service’s development and delayed the transition of power to Kosovan officials, he says. He then expresses approval of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, hoping that they help Kosovo integrate into the European Union and other international organizations. He concludes by discussing lack of specialization and employee benefits as challenges still facing the Kosovan Police Service’s development.
At the time of the interview, General Behar Selimi was the Assistant Commissioner for Border Police of the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) and Acting Deputy Commissioner. He began his career in law enforcement in 1984 as a police academy cadet in the Yugoslavian system. He later organized a union of Kosovan ex-police officers who had been terminated during the political unrest of the 1990s. General Selimi became an officer in the Kosovan Police Service in 2000, serving as a traffic officer, public relations officer, and police service’s first spokesperson. In 2003, he became a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of VIP and vital facility protection. By 2004, he was the Deputy Commissioner of Administration, overseeing internal affairs, recruitment, budget issues, audit and control, departmental logistics, and more. He was appointed Assistant Police Commissioner for Border Police in 2007. General Selimi has also trained in Germany and the U.S.