Police Chief Selection Controversies

Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti is due to enter his retirement in July 2016 at the age of 58. Naturally, controversies ensue regarding the necessity to prolong the retirement age of the Police Chief. Otherwise, who would be the right candidate to take the office?

Article 30 paragraph (2) of Law on Police of the Republic of Indonesia (Polri) No. 2 of 2002 regulate the retirement age of the Police Chief: the maximum retirement age of a member of the Polri is 58 years old and for members with specialized skills and immensely needed for their duties can be prolonged until they are 60 years old.

Political parties at DPR –the parliament– are split in two in their position about the retirement age of Badrodin Haiti (BH). PDI Perjuangan, Golkar, Demokrat, PKS, and Hanura refused to prolong his retirement, while Gerindra, PAN, PKB, PPP, and Nasdem have requested for his extension.

The camp opposing his extension as Police Chief argue about regeneration in Polri, BH’s poor performance, retirement age as stated by law, and lack of reason for an extension. On the other hand, the camp supporting his extension argue about the President’s prerogative right of appointing his Police Chief and the Polri Law that provides an opportunity to prolong retirement age of a Polri officer to 60 years taking specialized skills into consideration.

Until Tuesday (7/6), President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had yet to decide whether to extend the services of BH or otherwise and was still gathering inputs from Polri, the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), and the public. Jokowi also said that he had not received proposed names of candidates as Police Chief, therefore he had not decided who could succeed as the next Police Chief.

A number of three-star Generals have been mentioned as potential candidates for the office, including Deputy Police Chief Commissioner Gen. Budi Gunawan, Chief of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Com. Gen. Budi Waseso, Chief of the Security Preservation Office (Baharkam) Com. Gen. Putut Eko Bayuseno, Chief of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) Com. Gen. Tito Karnavian, Chief of the General Supervision Inspectorate (Irwasum) Com. Gen. Dwi Prayitno, Chief of the Police Education Institute (Lemdikpol) Com. Gen. Syafruddin, and Prime Secretary of the National Resilience Institute (Sestama Lemhanas) Com. Gen. Suhardi Alius. Out of these seven candidates, thus far Budi Gunawan and Budi Waseso have the strongest chance of taking the office, despite both having problematic track record and stirred past commotions within Polri.

Apart from the controversies surrounding the retirement age of the Police Chief and the prime candidates for his successor, the President is advised to stick to his own Nawacita ideals when selecting an officer for the position. The Nawacita Program clearly established an objective to select a Police Chief who is clean, competent, anti-corruption and committed to law enforcement.

Accordingly, appointment of the next Police Chief should not be based on reciprocity politics or returning favors, or on the President’s intimacy with political parties. The Police Chief is not a political office, therefore Jokowi need to have an independent position when selecting officer for the post and disregard names being pushed and pressured his way by certain political party chairpersons or elites. This is crucial in order to keep the law enforcement and corruption eradication endeavors that would be tasked to the next Police Chief from being hijacked by political interests.

In addition to his/her cooperation with the President, the next Police Chief must be a figure free from problematic track records that can potentially draw legal complications. It would also be essential to involve other institution such as the Corruption Eradication Commission, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, the National Commission of Human Rights as well as the general public to thoroughly scrutinize track records of any candidate in order to avoid selecting the wrong man/woman as the next Police Chief.***

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