New Jersey Teacher to Become Liberia’s First Female Chief of Police

Beatrice Munah Sieh, a 48-year-old native of Liberia, will soon become the African country’s first female police chief under newly elected President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state. Sirleaf has pledged to include more women in her government’s posts, and Sieh’s confirmation by the Liberian Senate is expected, reports the Associated Press.

Sieh, currently a middle school teacher in Trenton, New Jersey, left war-torn Liberia in 1996 after working on the police force for 18 years, as a member of the presidential escort, and as the country’s first motorcycle cop, according to the Trenton Times. After accusing Joseph Tate, police chief under former president and warlord Charles Taylor, of corruption, Sieh’s home was attacked with gunfire, though she was not at home at the time, reports the AP.

Margaret Moore, the director of the National Center for Women and Policing, said, “The NCWP welcomes the news of the appointment of Beatrice Munah Sieh as the chief of police for Liberia. Research has demonstrated that women respond more effectively to crimes of violence against women, and it will be important for the new chief to build a police force that addresses these issues. Equally important for Chief Sieh will be to build her vision of a new police service as one that the community will trust and respect. We wish her well in her new job.”

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AP 3/10/06; Feminist Daily News Wire 1/18/06; Trenton Times 3/8/06

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