Thursday, August 14, 2003


Making progress.
Crucial to the rebuilding of the police is an ongoing assessment of how to instill democratic values here.

"If you took the capability of training right now, it would take you 5.9 years (to train police officers), we don't have 5.9 years ... We have to come up with a mechanism to train 31,000 people over the next two years."

He is also trying to root out corruption in a climate, where before, police officers would charge five dollars for taking a basic complaint from a citizen. Kerik said he saw officers still doing this in June as basic policy and he quickly reprimanded them.

"I said, look no one is going to charge anyone money to take a police report. You are serving the public ... You are going to take the complaint, and they are not going to pay you to do it. It's part of your job. That's the kind of stuff we have to deal with."

But Kerik credits the new police for starting to crackdown on corruption. He cited officers who arrested two of their comrades, who were spotted shoving money down their pants, during a raid a few weeks ago on a former Saddam bodyguard.

Kerik also denies the crime issue is as out of control as it sometimes appears.

"I think it's a perception versus reality issue and here's why. Prior to April 9, when we took Baghdad, prior to the war, the only thing anybody saw in this country is what Saddam wanted you to see." Kerik says.

Kerik says he hopes to set up a statistics program, within six to eight weeks, to gauge crime in Iraq. A similar syste used in New York City, called COMSTAT, led to a dramatic reduction in crime in the 1990s.

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