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Moonlighting common among police officers JAKARTA - "We need to find other sources of income beside our salary," said First Sgt. Yono (not his real name), a 36-year-old officer of the police's Mobile Brigade, adding that his monthly salary was around Rp 1 million (US$111.11). The amount is only a bit higher than the minimum cost of living for laborers, set by the manpower ministry at Rp 759,532. "As long as our commander knows in advance, we can take the job. Besides, guarding people or a company is a good thing," Yono said over the weekend.
He added that the offer to guard a place or secure an event could come from their commander or a colleague, many of whom actively seek clients. Yono said he preferred to get information about a job from a colleague rather than his commander, as company owners or event organizers would directly negotiate with the commander. "If the job is offered by a colleague, we can get more money as we directly negotiate with our 'employer'. Still, we must inform our commander and hand over some 'commission' from our fee," he said.
According to Yono, most of the time his unit commander would take care of inter-unit coordination. "Low-ranking officers like me know nothing. All we know is we have to safeguard a place, people or event. I'm sure the eight Mobile Brigade officers who secured the Bojong dump relied on their commander in coordinating with other forces," he said. Yono was referring to the eight Mobile Brigade officers who were guarding the Bojong waste treatment facility in Bogor regency, West Java, when a protest by locals -- opposing the presence of the plant -- turned violent in a clash between the protesters and the officers.
Witnesses said the Mobile Brigade officers fired live bullets at the protesters, injuring six of them. The involvement of Brimob officers was also questioned by legislators. Moreover, Bogor Police denied that the plant's operator, PT Wira Guna Sejahtera, had ever requested that the officers guard the site. In fact, Bogor Police chief Sr. Comr. Bambang Wasgito claimed that the Mobile Brigade officers had been hired by the operator.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Paiman denied that many of his officers had taken side jobs, but admitted that Mobile Brigade officers could not guard a place without an order from their chief. "We are still questioning them to discover whether they received a direct order (from their commander) to guard the plant. Please, wait for the result. If they did not get an order, we will punish them accordingly," he said. Six low-ranking police officers were questioned by the police ethics committee in a hearing on Friday. They denied involvement in the bloody clash.
Another Mobile Brigade officer, First Private Yadi, (also not his real name), 24, said the officers' monthly salary was barely enough to feed their families. "That's why we must be 'clever' in moonlighting. As long as we don't neglect our duty, the offer to guard places, people or events is the right choice, rather than abusing our power, or committing a crime," he said. He said that many officers from different units of the police force had been involved in protecting drug dealing, gambling or prostitution rackets. "Almost all military officers do the same thing. My colleagues in Bojong were just unlucky that the incident made national headlines," he added.



Posted in General @ 29 November 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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