ST interviewed two police officers. Aren’t you curious about their stories? ............................................ Ed
There are many police officers who are trying to keep the society and its citizens safe from threats. Korea is a safe country thanks to them. Police officers protect people from many large and small-scale crimes and patrol for citizens’ safety and a crime-free society. Can they do unpleasant tasks without a sense of duty? There are many welfare services for police officers carrying heavy burdens like social welfare and the preservation of order. Among many benefits for them are police hospitals and transportation cost, which are guaranteed until their retirement; others include security for the aged and scholarship benefits for their children. While you are hearing about these benefits, you might think that police officers are served well, but the reality is not that bright. They are doing their tasks in the field, which is considered tough working environments.
Let ST listen to the stories of police officers on their welfare and work environment. ST interviews constables, Lee Chan-young and Choi Soo-a.
Can you introduce yourself briefly?
Lee: Hello, my name is Lee Chan-young. I graduated from the Department of English Language & Literature of SSU. I’m working in the Bucheon police station. I am in charge of initial actions on 112 urgent reports and patrol our local. I have worked for a company before and started to work as a police officer this year. Choi: Hi, my name is Choi Soo-a. I’m a new constable, working only for 5 months. I’m working at the Sanbon constabulary of the Gunpo police station.
When do you feel worthy while working as a police officer? Lee: Actually, I always feel my worth while working as a police officer. While dealing with endless urgent reports, I face many challenges while meeting different types of people. However, I feel really great because it means our society needs police officers.
In particular, when I help the elderly by leading them to their homes, and when I protect drunken men from untoward incidents, I recognize my sense of worth. Also, other than helping the elderly and drunken men, helping victims of violent crimes becomes so meaningful to me. Choi: When I protect lives and people from bodily harm, I feel my sense of worth. In particular, I feel worthy when I lead dotards and children back to their families.
Q. Do you ever feel tired at work?
Lee: I think the biggest challenge is the hormonal imbalance caused by irregular sleep patterns because there are no holidays due to the nature of my job. I am working on shifts that change between day and night. Also, we are always in danger when dealing with drunken men and crime suspects. Choi: The hardest case is when I deal with drunken people. They can’t keep their balance, and they can’t think rationally. Umm… I think it’s the hardest for me when he starts vomiting.
Q.What are your thoughts about your work environment? Lee: It's true that the number of police officers in Korea is too small as compared with developed countries. The demand for security services and other forms of violent crime and new crimes are increasing, but I feel that the number of police officers in Korea is still relatively low. When I am in dangerous situations, I feel the importance of prevention. Polices are not injured by trying too hard to suppress and the level of security that citizens feel directly increases by forestalling criminals.
Q: Is there any part of the police welfare you would like to see improved?
Choi: I hope the organization will practice the “Work and Life Balance” actively by increasing the number of vacation days.
What do you think after listening to their stories? It is difficult to maintain “Work and Life Balance” because of the lack of manpower and the absence of holidays. It is also necessary to look back on the working environment and the welfare of existing police officers for the safety of the citizens. If working conditions improve to higher levels, our society’s security satisfaction will rise further. ST hopes that the society raises awareness on police officers’ working conditions and acknowledges their hard work, rather than criticizing the police who are still struggling today in blind spots.
Kim Se-been (Web Editor)