Why is a police academy like this needed… Half of the admission quota is not filled with mandatory service?

It was revealed on the 4th that the number of police academy graduates who resigned before completing their mandatory service (6 years) reached the highest level since the opening of the police academy. Many of them are believed to be going on to law school. As the purpose of establishing the National Police University, which is to ‘cultivate police talent’, is fading, the discussion on abolishing the National Police University, which has been discussed for several years, is expected to be rekindled.

According to the ‘Status of Police Academy Graduates’ submitted by the National Police Agency to the office of People Power Party Rep. Jeong Woo-taek on this day, the number of police academy graduates who left the police force without completing their mandatory service from January to August of this year was counted as 31. Considering the remaining period of this year, the number of early retirees may increase further. The number of early retirees from the police academy has recently increased rapidly. The number of retirees, which was 8 in 2019, was 24 last year, which was more than half of the number of new students (50).

The police do not separately investigate the career paths of early retirees, but most of them seem to choose to go to law school. According to the ‘Status of Law School Entrance Examination for the 2023 School Year’ submitted by each university to the office of Rep. Lee Tae-gyu of the People’s Power Party, there were 87 successful applicants from the police academy to 25 law schools nationwide. There was an increase of 15 people from last year’s 72 people. Although the number of new students at the National Police University is only 50, the National Police University was ranked 7th among universities that passed law school admissions. An official at the National Police Agency said, “Approximately three-fifths of the new students left without even experiencing front-line work,” adding, “The police academy has been reduced to a ‘law school talent training center.’”

The departure of police academy students is even more problematic because the police academy is funded by tax dollars. Until one police academy student graduates, about 71.97 million won in taxes is invested, including tuition, dormitory fees, and meal expenses. Early retirees must repay money for the remaining months of mandatory service in accordance with the Police Academy Establishment Act. There are a total of 93 graduates who quit their mandatory service period over the past five years. Among them, 52 graduates have repaid their entire tuition, and the remaining 41 are paying in installments.

Lee Geon-su, a professor at the Department of Police Studies at Baekseok University, said, “As the police corps has degenerated into a ‘law school military academy,’ and on the one hand, graduates of the police cadets have organized and colluded with each other, there is a significant sense of harm felt by non-police varsity graduates within the police.” He added, “The police corps will remain as is.” “If this happens, it will be difficult to change the closed organizational culture.”

If you graduate from the police academy, you will be appointed as a lieutenant without any special screening. Despite these preferential treatment, experts believe that the accelerated dropout of police academy graduates is due to the police’s failure to manage human resources. Kim Min-ho, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University Law School, said, “Even if early retirees repaid their tuition, the various human and material resources invested to train police professionals will cause irreversible national losses.” A police academy student said, “Every time I hear news that seniors from the police academy who were selected after overcoming a competition rate of dozens to one have been accepted to law school less than six years after being appointed, I feel more than dejected and anxious about whether the police really have a future.”

It is analyzed that law school has a significant influence on the early retirement of police academy graduates. Because it is virtually impossible for current police officers to take a leave of absence or attend law school while working, it is known that many police academy graduates enter law school immediately after graduation. According to Article 71 of the National Civil Service Act, training leave is possible for up to 2 years only at designated institutions, but law schools with 3-year courses are not designated training institutions. A current police officer who graduated from the police academy said, “As the police academy is divided only into the law department and the public administration department, many people who were preparing for civil service examinations such as the civil service exam come in.” He added, “So, rather than entering the police academy with a sense of duty as a police officer, they are exempt from tuition that can be received from the time of admission. “There are many cases where people enroll only for various benefits, but then regret it and end up going on to law school,” he said.

Recently, the position of the police academy has become unstable and various benefits such as military service have been reduced, which also influenced the early retirement of police academy students. Graduates of the National Police Academy were recognized as having military experience if they served as platoon leaders in a mobile unit, but this system was abolished for students enrolling in 2019. Police academy students who have not completed their military service must take a leave of absence or serve in the military after graduation, just like regular college students.

With the deterioration of the police force into a ‘law school academy’ and the chronic problem of monopoly by high-ranking officials, the police came up with the theory that the ‘police force is useless’. As of July of this year, out of 129 high-ranking police officers above the police sergeant level, 92 (71%) were graduates of the National Police University. It is said that the monopoly of high-ranking positions in the police corps continued thanks to the so-called ‘police corps line-taking.’ It is said that a culture has emerged in the police organization where classmates, seniors and juniors who stayed in the same dormitory for four years are encouraged to support each other.

Discussions about abolishing the National Police University are at a standstill. The ‘Police System Development Committee’ under the Prime Minister’s Office, which was launched in September last year, planned to announce the existence and abolition of the National Police University in May. However, no conclusion has yet been reached due to internal opposition from the police.

Kim Young-sik, a professor in the Department of Police Administration at Seowon University, said, “The police academy was a place to train practical experts and professional police executives, but the operation method has become like a regular university.” “We need to produce professional manpower,” he said. On the other hand, Lee Woong-hyeok, professor of police department at Konkuk University, said, “Since you receive sufficient training by attending the police academy for four years, joining the police constable cannot be considered unfair,” and added, “It is time to discuss reform rather than abolishing the police academy.” Rep. Jeong Woo-taek said, “Don’t ask, the public is trembling with anxiety as public order has deteriorated over the past few years, including abnormally motivated안전놀이터 crimes such as murder and the proliferation of drug offenders.” He added, “The Commissioner General of the National Police Agency and the Minister of Public Administration and Security have graduated from the National Police University and even coughed up over 70 million won. “We need to carefully review and diagnose the fundamental problem that causes people to leave the organization and come up with comprehensive measures,” he said.






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