Friday, May 25, 2007

Funky Fog

The weather has left much to be desired the past week or so.  After an afternoon of sun the sky will cloud over with some of the blackest clouds I've seen for a long time and there will be a sudden downpour of rain.  Today we were greeted with a blanket of funky fog.  It's not heavy but it is strange considering that it is almost the end of May.  Normal fog season is late fall or late winter.  The good news is that the weather will be clearing up and just partly cloudy toward the end of next the beach volleyball tournament and BBQ should go off without a hitch!
Thinking of funky things, I came across an article about how Kosovo crazies have threatened the leader of the gay community in Kosovo.  I wouldn't put Kosovo up there in the rankings of tolerant places so it does not come as a surprise that the gay community has received death threats.  The article mentions that the local police (KPS - Kosovo Police Service) opened a flawed investigation...but by my own experiences, probably most of their investigations are flawed!

If you think about it, KPS really has only existed since the end of the war...and the program didn't begin right away.  The new police officers had to be trained in everything as most had no experience whatsoever in police work.  So really the most experienced police officer in Kosovo has what 7-8 years of experience???  A common complaint from international officers training KPS is that once they finish the 3-month police academy the KPS officers think they know everything about police work and don't want to listen to more experienced officers.  Anyone who has seen some of these guys direct traffic would know that they still have a lot to learn :o)

Add into that low wages, although consistent with the local averages, corruption is a problem.  I recall in 2000 when the UNMIK police used to tow illegally parked vehicles they had to go to a strict company rotation policy because off-duty KPS officers were riding with the tow companies and getting kickbacks from towing cars if they responded first.

Another problem is efficiency.  A simple example is in 2002 when I got Smokey a few of us pitched in to have one of the maintenance guys build us a big doghouse for the puppies.  It took two grown men to carry the darn thing and one weekend it disappeared from our backyard in the UN compound!  I went to UN Security to report the doghouse as stolen but because it was personal property they did not want to do anything.  That was okay, I told them, but the fact that they had a breach in security and didn't notice someone carrying a doghouse out of the compound was a bit alarming.  Then later that day a fellow colleague from IT asked me if I had given the doghouse to some local kids who had adopted one of the puppies because he had seen it on his way to work that day.  I asked him where it was and went to verify that our doghouse was with the kids...and it was.  So I went to the downtown police station to make a report and see if I could get an officer to go with me to recover the doghouse.  I filled out the report and then the person taking the paperwork said "thank you we'll contact you in a few months".  (A few months?!?!)  I explained that I knew where my stolen property was and that I just needed assistance in recovering it but the person told me that before they did anything they had to take my report and translate it into Albanian and Serbian.  Then they would investigate and contact me.  (Ummm, no investigation needed, I know where my property is!)  Being the pushy international that I am *hehe* I asked to speak to the station commander who just happened to be an American as well.  I explained the situation and he sent me to the house to recover the doghouse with two Albanian KPS officers who couldn't speak English so communication was interesting.  As it turns out, the kids thought it was okay for a group of them to climb over the wall of the UN compound and take the doghouse while no one was there.  As for UN Security doing anything about the breach well let's just say that we don't joke that they are un-security for nothing!!!