Community policing

"Everybody’s Business": Mobilizing Citizens During Liberia’s Ebola Outbreak, 2014–2015

Author
Leon Schreiber
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

When Ebola crossed into Liberia in early 2014, the West African nation had few defenses. Because no effective vaccine was available at the time, the only way to limit the spread of the viral disease was to restrict physical contact with those who were infected, what they had touched, and the bodies of victims. But that advice countermanded the most basic of human instincts: to comfort a sick child, hug an ill relative, or shake hands with a friend or coworker. The challenge of changing human behavior was especially difficult because Liberia was still recovering from a long civil war. Public distrust of government, persistent rumors, linguistic diversity, and limited communication capacity hobbled efforts to send a clear public message and win citizens’ cooperation. After top-down tactics—including forcible quarantines of whole communities—failed to stem the rate of infection, a small team of Liberian officials, supported by international partners, realized that effective steps to contain the disease would require active participation by citizens themselves. The officials engaged Liberians in developing an information campaign and recruited people throughout the country to visit their neighbors door-to-door, explain the steps people could take to protect themselves, and respond to questions. Although the complexity of the Ebola response and the volatility of the outbreak had made it hard to measure the success of the social mobilization effort in reducing new infections, an analysis of timing together with anecdotal evidence strongly suggested that the effort helped save lives and contributed to the disease’s decline during the final months of 2014.

Leon Schreiber drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Monrovia, Liberia in April and May 2016, with guidance and additional information provided by Jennifer Widner and Beatrice Godefroy.

Princeton University’s Health Grand Challenge supported the research and development of this case study, which is part of a series on public management challenges in the West African Ebola Outbreak response.

 

Timeline: West African Ebola Outbreak (poster infographic)

Timeline: West African Ebola Outbreak (page version)

 

 

The Hunt for Ebola: Building a Disease Surveillance System in Liberia, 2014–2015

Author
Leon Schreiber and Jennifer Widner
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

When the first cases of Ebola virus disease appeared in Liberia at the end of March 2014, a critical first step in preventing an epidemic was to identify those who had contracted the virus. However, Liberia’s disease surveillance capacity remained feeble in the wake of a 14-year civil war that had weakened the health system, and citizens’ distrust of the government sometimes raised risks for public health teams dispatched to carry out that vital surveillance function. In August, as the number of new infections began to escalate, the government and its international partners shifted to a proactive strategy. Rather than wait for families to call for help, they began to engage local leaders and community health workers in hunting the disease. They also developed data management practices to more effectively track and analyze the evolution of the epidemic. By year-end, most of the new Ebola infections involved Liberians who were already under observation. In another important measure of success, the time between patients’ onsets of symptoms and their medical isolations shortened markedly. The ability to hunt down Ebola slowed the spread of the disease and helped bring an end to the epidemic in May 2015.

Leon Schreiber and Jennifer Widner drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Monrovia, Liberia, in April and May 2016 and with international organizations from June to August 2016. Béatrice Godefroy provided initial guidance.

Princeton University’s Health Grand Challenge supported the research and development of this case study, which is part of a series on public management challenges in the West African Ebola Outbreak response.

 

Timeline: West African Ebola Outbreak (poster infographic)

Timeline: West African Ebola Outbreak (page version)

 

Johan Burger

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C
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
15
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Daniel Scher
Name
Johan Burger
Interviewee's Position
Senior Lecturer, Crime and Justice Programme
Interviewee's Organization
Institute for Security Studies
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
South African
Town/City
Pretoria
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Johan Burger talks about crime and policing in South Africa. To fight crime, he contends that the focus should be on its root causes, including, socioeconomic conditions, and the criminal justice system. He advocates the adoption of an integrated strategy that involves governmental and non-governmental departments to address these conditions and political factors. Burger discusses the National Crime Prevention Strategy that was adopted in 1996. The strategy failed due to lack of a shared understanding of crime and policing among politicians, lack of funding, a disregard for socioeconomic conditions, and the inability of police to deliver immediate and visible results on crime prevention. He also describes the various operations under the Community Safety Plan and the National Crime Combating Strategy, which focused on serious and violent crimes, organized crime, crimes against women and children, and improving service delivery. Burger recounts his experience working on the change-management team, which dealt with reforming the police. He talks about police demilitarization and rank restructuring. He describes the confusion and the decline in police morale and discipline that emerged as a result. Burger also challenges community policing. While he acknowledges instances of success, he argues that it is idealistic in terms of its expectations on how the police, in partnership with communities, can fight crime. He identifies sector policing as being more practical and tangible. Though it is still a joint effort between the police and the community, the police resolve only what they can and refer what they are unable to deal with to other government institutions.    

Profile

At the time of this interview, Johan Burger was a senior lecturer in the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria.  Before that, he was a lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology in the department of Safety and Security Management. Burger joined the police service in 1968 and retired in 2004 as an assistant commissioner.  Within the police force, he worked as a station commissioner and investigating officer. He was involved in policy and strategy development. Burger became a member of the change-management team that was created in 1993 as South Africa moved toward a new democracy. He later headed Strategy and Policy Development for the South African police service. 

Full Audio File Size
93 MB
Full Audio Title
Johan Burger - Full Interview

Clearing the Jungle Raj: Bihar State, India, 2005-2009

Author
Rohan Mukherjee
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

Nitish Kumar was elected chief minister of Bihar, India’s poorest state, in December 2005, when the state’s government was weighed down by two decades of institutional decline, widespread lawlessness and a society deeply divided by caste and religion. Improving law and order was a major priority of his new government. The main challenges were rampant criminal activity that curtailed social and economic life, a short-staffed and under-motivated police force, widespread corruption in the ranks, and the poor image of the Bihar police. Using innovative measures, Kumar and his top police officers set out to rid Bihar of its so-called jungle raj, or law of the jungle.

Rohan Mukherjee drafted this policy note on the basis of interviews conducted in Patna, Bihar, in July 2009.  Two separate memos, “Coalition Building in a Divided Society” and “Reviving the Administration,” describe Kumar’s efforts to build a coalition for reform and improve administration, respectively.
 
Associated Interview:  Abhayanand
 

 

Peter F. Zaizay

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J
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
18
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Peter F. Zaizay
Interviewee's Position
Deputy Minister for Administration and Acting Minister for National Security
Interviewee's Organization
Liberia
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Liberian
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Peter F. Zaizay gives a detailed account of the post-war reforms and the restructuring of the Liberian National Police (LPN). He discusses how the 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement gave the United Nations the mandate to carry out the reforms. The U.N. Police were predominantly involved in deactivating the LNP and recruiting new officers after vetting, and were also engaged in training the police and  developing community policing forums. Zaizay recounts the challenges faced during the process: the large number of unskilled and unemployed youth who contributed to a rise in crime, gender-based violence, armed robbery within communities that lacked private security, the expected return of the huge refugee population abroad that posed a potential security threat, and the issue of whether or not the LNP would be accepted and respected by the locals after the U.N. left. Zaizay also talks about the government’s plans to integrate and amalgamate security institutions due to overlapping functions among organizations and the lack of sufficient funds to run them. He describes the history of politicization of the security service and the lack of established mechanisms for depoliticization. He emphasizes the need for an independent and professional civilian oversight board. As a result of the reforms, ethnic balance within the LNP was attained and a protection section for women and children was established. Zaizay stresses the importance of learning from other countries like Sierra Leone, Ghana and Uganda to find out how they have managed to transform their police services.
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Peter F. Zaizay was Liberia's deputy minister for administration and the acting minister for national security. He began his career in private security in 1986. He worked with the Jascere Security Services. In 1992, Zaizay joined the Liberian National Police, and he worked in the Patrol Division, the Criminal Investigation Division and the Criminal Intelligence Unit. He also served as an assistant director of police for press and public affairs from 2004 to 2006. Later, he became the deputy director of police for training and then the commandant of the National Police Training Academy, a position he held from 2006 to 2007.

Full Audio File Size
39MB
Audio Subsections
Size
63MB
Title
Peter F. Zaizay Interview Part 2
Full Audio Title
Peter F. Zaizay Interview Part 1

Asserting the Presence of the State, One Step at a Time: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2008-2010

Author
Richard Bennet
Country of Reform
Abstract

Beginning in the late 1980s, Rio de Janeiro suffered increasing urban violence as the drug trade moved south from the Caribbean.  The favelas, shantytowns and slums on the hillsides surrounding Brazil's second-largest city, saw a rise in both inter-gang violence and clashes between police and drug traffickers.  Innocent bystanders often died in the crossfire.  In 2007, working with the support of the governor, the state's secretary for public security, José Mariano Beltrame, and his colleagues tried a new approach.  Instead of repeated military-style interventions to oust the traffickers, Beltrame created the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora  (UPP, or Peace Police Unit), to provide a continuous police presence and help extend the reach of the government into contested areas.  Beltrame's team rolled out the program on a pilot basis and identified communities where early success would boost the image of the government in the eyes of Rio's population.  This case study outlines the development of the new approach, the problems encountered in implementation, and some of the results from the pilot program's opening months. 

Richard Bennet drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August and September 2010. Case published December 2010.

Associated Interview(s):  Silvia Ramos, Luiz Eduardo Soares

Ranjit Singh Sardara

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Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
16
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nicolas Lemay-Hebert
Name
Ranjit Singh Sardara
Interviewee's Position
Chief of Operations
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Police, Manatuto, Timor Leste
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Malaysian
Place (Building/Street)
UNPOL Headquarters
Town/City
Manatuto
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Ranjit Singh Sardara discusses the policing role of the U.N. missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Timor-Leste. Being a part of the Bosnian mission, he highlights the significance of community policing, working with non-governmental organizations and ministers to find the best ways to benefit the local citizenry. He also recounts his involvement in overseeing the election process in Visegrad. Regarding the Timor-Leste mission, Sardara describes mentoring plans and the classes organized for the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste, or the National Police of Timor-Leste. In addition, he describes working with the Suco chiefs to educate the locals on human rights, the duties of the police, child abuse, and domestic violence. Sardara also talks about the U.N.'s internal management and its relationship with the host country’s police and the rest of the population.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Ranjit Singh Sardara was the chief of operations of the United Nations Police in Manatutu, Timor-Leste. He served in the Royal Malaysian Police for 27 years. His experience spanned community policing, traffic cases, crime prevention, and operations and intelligence. Sardara was also a part of the U.N. mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He served as an election officer in Visegrad; he held the post of deputy station commander and later, station commander. Sardara also served as the deputy regional commander of Sarajevo.

 
Full Audio File Size
84MB
Full Audio Title
Ranjit Singh Sardara Interview

Building Strategic Capacity in the Police: Sierra Leone, 1998-2008

Author
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

Sierra Leone’s police service had a reputation for abuse and corruption even before the 1991-2002 civil war that slashed its numbers by a third and all but destroyed its infrastructure. Taking office in 1996, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah set a high priority on police reform to ensure stability for postwar reconstruction and economic development. The United Kingdom, acting through the Commonwealth, was the primary benefactor, providing equipment, trainers and even an inspector general to lead the service during the first years of reform. By 2008, the Sierra Leone police featured strong and capable senior leadership, improved capacity for criminal investigations, and a positive relationship with the Sierra Leonean public. Although concerns about the sustainability of these reforms and the feasibility of additional changes remained in 2008, the development of the Sierra Leone Police during the preceding decade was an example of successful post-conflict police reform in a West African state.


Jonathan Friedman wrote this policy note based on interviews by Arthur Boutellis in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in May 2008. Case published November 2011.

Associated Interview(s):  Keith Biddle, Robert Bradley, Kadi Fakondo, Osman Gbla, Garry Horlacher, Adrian Horn, Sheka Mansaray

Julie Fleming

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Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
3
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Julie Fleming
Interviewee's Position
Chief, Community Policing Project
Interviewee's Organization
Kosovo
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
American
Place (Building/Street)
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe offices
Town/City
Pristina, Republic of Kosovo
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Julie Fleming describes how the International Crime Investigative Training Assistance Program started a pilot community policing program with five U.S. officers working in four municipalities in Kosovo. She gives details about the process of recruitment of community committees and the 12-week training program in Vushtrri; the project brought together young people from different ethnic backgrounds. At the time of the interview, it was present in 20 municipalities. A study showed long-term improvement in terms of freedom of movement, inter-ethnic relations, police-community relations, and other aspects. In her opinion, the main success of the project was that it was community-driven, although it suffered setbacks due to the political events of 2008. She also discusses her views on the successes and failures of community policing in Kosovo.

Case Study: Building the Police Service in a Security Vacuum: International Efforts in Kosovo, 1999-2011

Profile

At the time of this interview, Julie Fleming was chief of the community policing project in Kosovo, working with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the U.S. International Crime Investigative Training Assistance Program. She started working as a police officer in 1985 and worked in California, in Oregon, in the Public Safety Academy, as a consultant in various U.S. states, and finally at the Regional Community Policing Institute (covering six western U.S. states) before coming to Kosovo in 2003 to implement the Community Safety Action Teams program.

Full Audio File Size
62MB
Full Audio Title
Julie Fleming Interview

Building an Inclusive, Responsive National Police Service: Gender-Sensitive Reform in Liberia, 2005-2011

Author
Laura Bacon
Country of Reform
Abstract

After Liberia’s 14-year civil war ended in 2003, the government began to overhaul its security sector. The Liberia National Police (LNP), whose capacity was ravaged and reputation tarnished during the war, sought to improve its services and build the community’s trust. Gender-sensitive reform at the LNP was high on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s agenda, given low numbers of women in the security sector and high rates of sexual and gender-based violence. Between 2005 and 2011, LNP reformers Beatrice Munah Sieh, Asatu Bah-Kenneth, Vera Manly and others led innovative efforts to make the police service more inclusive and responsive. In particular, they sought to recruit female officers at a rapid pace and to launch a Women and Children Protection Section. By July 2011, although the police service still identified shortcomings in capacity and the justice system more broadly, it could boast an increased percentage of female officers (17%, compared with 2% in 2005), 217 specially trained officers deployed in 52 Women and Children Protection Section units across Liberia, more women in leadership positions, and improved responsiveness and public image. This case chronicles police reform in a post-conflict setting, examining the challenges of promoting diversity, building capacity, conducting community outreach and awareness, and delivering services to remote areas.

 
Laura Bacon drafted this case study on the basis of interviews she conducted in Monrovia, Liberia, in June and July 2011, interviews conducted by Arthur Boutellis in Monrovia in May 2008, and text prepared by Christine MacAulay. Case published April 2012. A companion piece, “Building Civilian Police Capacity: Post-Conflict Liberia,” addresses broader police reforms from 2003 to 2011. 
 
Associated Interviews:  David Beer, Paavani Reddy