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3/8/2005
Republic of Georgia Fires Entire Traffic Police Force
The Republic of Georgia has eliminated the number one symbol of corruption: its traffic police.

Republic of Georgia traffic cop
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.

Article Excerpt:
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.

"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."
Source: Firing of traffic police force stands as a symbol of hope in Geo (Knight Ridder News, 3/8/2005)



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