Minister Tahiri, Director General of Police Cako, Members of the Albanian State Police, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In America and in Albania, it is the dream of many, many kids to grow up to be a police officer. Boys and girls see the crisp blue uniform. They see the cars with the flashing lights. They imagine themselves rescuing people from bank robbers and arresting dangerous criminals.
The problem is that as these kids grow up, they often see different images of the police on their streets and in the media.
In the United States, Los Angeles Police officer Ray Lopez was convicted of murdering two unarmed men, serving in a criminal gang, and stealing and reselling $800,000 in cocaine.
Chicago Gang Unit policeman Joseph Miedonowski was convicted of 10 counts of drug conspiracy for running his own drug gang from within the police department. He had served on the police force for 22 years and received a life sentence for his crimes.
The Albanian State Police have faced their own challenges in battling against bombings, drugs, murder and other serious crimes. The completion of this Code of Ethics will help in this battle.
I was impressed that the code identifies one of the key missions of the police as helping the sick, the wounded, children, the elderly and the disabled. I like that it contains a pledge that policemen and women will not smoke, gamble or drink alcohol while on duty. It is a reminder that police officers are a role model for a whole generation of children.
But most important of all, is the clear statement of the values of the Albanian State Police. You clearly reject corruption, gifts of all types, discrimination, torture and political influence. It is a very strong code of conduct.
Lastly, this document is meaningless unless police officers understand it and discuss it. It is easy to sign a form saying that you have read it. It is much more important that the Ministry of Interior has made a commitment to train all 12,000 employees of the Albanian State Police in this Code of Ethics and offer them the opportunity to talk about what this code means for their work.
For many of the brave men and women who serve in the Albanian State Police, these high ideals are not new. But by making them the standard for all police officers our hope is that the Albanian State Police will further build a culture of respect for the profession of being a police officer and respect for the people that they serve.