On Tuesday, December 28, 2021, the Bureau of Public Safety held its 1st Law Enforcement Formation and Inspection. The morning dawned bright and clear, and the law enforcement officers along with the cadets of the ongoing 27th Police Academy stood tall and proud. The event took place on the grounds in front of the Bureau of Public Safety building, and in attendance were President Surangel Whipps, Jr., Senate President Hokkons Baules, Speaker Sabino Anastacio, First Lady Valerie N. R. Whipps who also serves as the Chairperson of the Seatbelt are For Everyone (SAFE) Steering Committee, Attorney General Ernestine Rengiil, National Security Coordinator Ms. Jennifer Anson, Minister Gaafar Uherbelau, Minister Gustav Aitaro and Maritime Advisors from the US and Australia.
The program began with a roll call administered by Sgt. Kyota, Jr., followed by flag raising & the national anthem. Police Academy Cadet Irving Dwight offered prayer. Bureau of Public Safety Director Ismael N. Aguon gave his welcoming remarks which included a comparison between policing in the past and the present, being prepared for and dealing with more sophisticated crimes related to cybersecurity, human trafficking, drug smuggling and trafficking.
Vice President & Minister of Justice J. Uduch Sengebau Senior presented her message of gratitude, thanking the officers for their sacrifice, dedication and commitment. She also highlighted the value of community policing and developing partnership with citizens which aids in identification and solving problems. Senate President Hokkons Baules gave a touching message about having the peace we enjoy in our country as a result of law enforcement officers’ work. This assures and further attracts off island visitors and tourists to continue coming into Palau. Speaker Anastacio gave hope by reminding officers about OEK’s open door policy, and supporting better more attractive salaries for law enforcement officers, in consideration of the important and critical role they play to ensure we are safe and that our laws are fully enforced. President Whipps, Jr. stressed the importance of integrity, quoting C.S. Lewis, “to do the right thing even when nobody’s watching”; being courageous in the face of adversity, and further reiterated the necessity of increasing police officers’ salaries.
A wonderful, heartwarming way to end the year 2021 for the Ministry of Justice, as the country’s leadership graced their 1st Law Enforcement Formation and Inspection as a unified bureau, pursuant to President Whipps, Jr.’s Executive Order No. 467 that placed all subdivisions under the Bureau of Public Safety.