3/8/2005Republic of Georgia Fires Entire Traffic Police Force
The Republic of Georgia has eliminated the number one symbol of corruption: its traffic police.
The former Soviet Republic of Georgia has fired its entire traffic police force because the officers had harassed the people and served as a symbol of corruption. "So we fired them," President Mikhail Saakashvili said. "We fired the Georgian police."
The police earned their reputations by randomly stopping motorists and imposing hefty on-the-spot fines. Anyone who dared argue was beaten. Saakashvili decided to distance the force from these crimes by starting over from scratch. He created a police force with all-new recruits who had been trained in Western democracies.
An Anti-Corruption Commission recommended the traffic police be fired in 2003 as the only move that would show the government was serious about eliminating the country's corruption problem.
A year ago, the most feared and hated people in Georgia were the traffic police, not the KGB goons, the criminal militias or the fat-cat business pals and wealthy relatives of the former president.Source: Firing of traffic police force stands as a symbol of hope in Geo (Knight Ridder News, 3/8/2005)
"The traffic police were the real symbol of corruption," said Alexander Rondeli, a presidential adviser and a former Georgian diplomat. "Everything bad from the post-Soviet days was concentrated in them."
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