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175 Community Leaders Named Honorary Police Officers in Bali

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On Friday, November 30, 2007, 175 community and ethnic leaders in Bali were named "honorary law enforcement officers" by Bali's Chief of Police, Inspector General Paulus Purwoko.

As reported by NusaBali, among the 175 receiving their "honorary police badges" were Wirawan Hadi, a Bali resident of Chinese extraction; Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (a/k/a "Tjok Ace") from the Ubud Royal Palace; and John Obaja Wakune a Papuan native who now lives in Bali.

In bestowing the honors, Chief Purwoko told the press that the honorary officers represent individuals who are now partners of the entire Bali constabulary, helping to guarantee the long-term safety of the Island. One of the duties assigned to the citizen police force is to provide input and advice to the leadership of the Bali police force on how best to evaluate and plan for security requirements in Bali.

Purwoko explained: "The duty of the honorary police force is not to join street patrols with regular officers or with local 'pacalang.' These people are our partners in formulating security policies."

The Chief cited that the three pillars that must be embraced by the Honorary Police in being peace officers are a commitment to keep Bali free from disturbances; a sense of internal order and security; and a personal sense of peace. Describing street patrols and document inspections now underway as only short-term solutions for community law and order; the real challenge remains to foster a change in the mind set of the public in cherishing the rule of law and in detecting criminal activity.

In clarifying his comments, Chief Purwoko cited the example of the difficulties faced by police in changing the mind set of hard line Islamists who are opposed to America, Australia and their allies. Their dissatisfaction with the policies of those nations have created an atmosphere where those groups are sometimes viewed as enemies. Because of this, General Purwoko has called for a plurality conference to be held in Bali after the conclusion of the UN Conference on Climate Change. Such a conference could include all of Bali's diverse ethnic and cultural groupings to discuss any existing tensions between these groups, with the newly appointed honorary police officers assuming a lead role in finding common ground foe agreement.

The Police Chief also said that a separate leadership structure must soon be established for administration of the honorary police corps.

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