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New App Helps Liberians Report Good and Bad Police Behavior

  • Liberia National Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue signs documents outlining new complaints and commendations procedures. (Photos: The Carter Center)

  • International expert Bob Stewart leads participants in a session to review standard operating procedures and build the police force’s capacity to process complaints and commendations.

  • Officers from Bong County’s Professional Standards Department, which is tasked with investigating complaints against the police, participate in a virtual refresher training and mentoring session.

Liberians now have a new, easy way to file complaints – or compliments – about police officers.

With support from The Carter Center, a Liberian company has developed the Find Officer app, part of a larger effort to build trust in the police by increasing accountability.

The Center began working with the Liberia National Police in 2016, first helping the force comply with the country’s Freedom of Information Act, then assisting it in developing and implementing standard operating procedures for handling complaints and commendations.

"In order for citizens to trust any government agency, there has to be transparency," said Laura Neuman, director of the Center’s Rule of Law Program. "People need to know what their public servants are doing – and why, and they need to have a way to hold them accountable for their actions. We try to help with that."

The Carter Center, with funding from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, started working with the police in 2017 to help flesh out that system and establish the review board.

"First we did an assessment to determine how they were dealing with complaints," said Kari Mackey, an associate director in the Center’s Rule of Law Program who helps manage the project. "We then worked with them to set up processes for receiving, tracking, and investigating complaints, and reporting on the results of investigations. We brought in police experts to work with them to ensure these processes were in line with international practices."

Patrick T. Sudue, inspector general of the Liberia National Police since 2018, said this was a great help to his officers, as was the Center’s records management training. Now, he said, the Find Officer app "will help deter officers from unethical and/or unprofessional behavior in the discharge of their duties."

RoviaGate Technologies Inc. created the mobile-friendly app, which makes it possible for anyone to file a report just by entering an officer’s name, badge number or merely an uploaded photo — which is an important element because many police officers don’t regularly wear badges or nametags. Even without any of this information, citizens can still report complaints and commendations by entering as much identifying information as possible.

Inspector General Sudue said he expects the app will be an important tool to "make our work easier, more professional, and more accessible."

Learn more about the Center's Rule of Law Program »

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