President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf departed the country last Saturday for official visits to the United States of America and Belgium. The visit is President Sirleaf’s second outside Liberia since the worsening of the Ebola crisis in 2014. She attended an Extraordinary Summit of the Mano River Union in Conakry, Guinea last Sunday, February 15.Following her departure from James Spriggs Payne Airport on Saturday, President Sirleaf was scheduled to make a brief stop-over in the Emirate of Sharjah, one of the states of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to share her experience in Crisis Management at the International Government Communications Forum there.According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf travels on to Washington, D.C., where she will meet United States President Barrack Obama at the White House on Friday, February 27.President Sirleaf’s visit comes at a time of crucial cooperation between Liberia and the United States and also following President Obama’s announcement last week that the United States is moving to the next phase of its Ebola response which will be characterized by intensive efforts to reach zero Ebola case in West Africa.Due to the rapid decline in Ebola cases and the all but empty ETUs built by the Americans around the country, President Obama has withdrawn most of the four thousand strong military contingent sent to Liberia to help fight the epidemic. President Sirleaf will have the opportunity to thank President Obama and the American people for the extraordinary level of assistance to Liberia during the Ebola crises. The White House has already issued an official statement announcing that President Obama looks forward to building on a strong and historic partnership with Liberia, and discussing a range of topics with President Sirleaf, including the ongoing Ebola response, the region’s economic recovery plans, and other issues of mutual interest.The withdrawal of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, UNMIL, from Liberia in June 2016 and Liberia’s preparedness to take over full responsibility for its own security and the implications for the West African Sub-region will be a topic most likely to be discussed between Presidents Obama and Sirleaf. The United States is a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council which is the only body that has the capability to maintain or extend the UNMIL withdrawal date. While in the United States, the Liberian leader will also meet with Administration officials, Congressional leaders and other stakeholders. She will also speak at an event hosted by Democratic Senator Chris Coons and the U.S. Institute of Peace on February 26. President Sirleaf will then travel to Brussels, Belgium to participate in an Ebola Conference organized by the European Union (EU). The conference will bring together the three most affected Mano River Union countries (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) and will see the Liberian President perform the role of Spokesperson for the three countries. The Brussels Conference, which is not a pledging conference, seeks to enable the affected countries to share their experiences and post Ebola plans and help aid the EU and other bilateral and multilateral organizations to plan better for the post-Ebola period. From Brussels, the Liberian leader returns to the United States, where she will participate in the 20th anniversary celebration of the Beijing Platform for Action at the UN Headquarters in New York. President Sirleaf is accompanied to the U.S. by Legal Advisor, Cllr. Seward Cooper; Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh; Information Minister Lewis G. Brown; Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah; LBS Director General Ledgerhood Rennie; Executive Assistant Euphemia Brewer-Fasama, among others. She will also be accompanied to Brussels by Montserrado County Representative Saah Joseph; Youth Advisor, Dr. Emmanuel Dolo; Assistant Health Minister for Preventive and Curative Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), Dr. Clarence Moniba and his Deputy Amos Seibo, among others. While President Sirleaf is away, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai will chair the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai. President Sirleaf is expected to return home on March 13.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week McSweeney estimates it will take two years to recruit and train enough deputies to staff all the county’s jails and sheriff’s stations. “We’ve got about 8,300 deputies now, and we’re about 1,000 light,” he said. “We are filling up the academy with good candidates, but getting the right people and getting them trained takes time. “Probably half of what we graduate (from the academy) is to cover attrition, and, during the good times, we usually hire enough people every year to keep almost all the positions filled,” McSweeney said. About 400 deputies retire every year, according to McSweeney, and two years of a hiring freeze stretched the department thin. In addition, deputies and staff usually assigned to recruitment and training were moved to other duties. After two years of budget cuts and hiring freezes in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Board of Supervisors in September announced with much fanfare that they were spending $10 million to fill the sheriff’s depleted ranks. Additionally, the department announced that community policing teams pulled three years ago from Whittier, Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights would be restored. But after three months, the department is still about 12 percent short of a full staff of deputies, according to Bill McSweeney, chief of the sheriff’s leadership and training division. In the San Gabriel Valley alone, stations are still short about 69 deputies, according to statistics. Getting background checks and training programs rolling again took time, McSweeney said. “We literally had to go in and clean and dust classrooms that hadn’t been used in a while,” McSweeney said. The Sheriff’s Department is competing with all other area law-enforcement agencies, which also have recently ramped up recruitment efforts. Part of the shortage might also be attributed to the fact that many of the best candidates are serving with the U.S. military in Iraq, sheriff’s officials said. In the Whittier area, the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station has 21 vacancies and the Norwalk Station is short six officers. Chief Marvin Cavanaugh, who in command of sheriff’s stations in eastern Los Angeles County, said the news is not as bad as it seems. “Deputy vacancies at a station does not necessarily mean there is a shortage in patrol operations (the actual field work),” he wrote in an e-mail. The last two years, the department cut down on the number of desk jobs, such as watch commanders and detectives, and reassigned deputies to patrol, he said. The department used overtime hours to make sure every station had enough patrol deputies, he said. But, Norwalk Station Capt. Ralph Webb said that constant overtime work can be tiring for deputies. “Under-staffing hurts patrol the most,” said Webb. “The vast majority of our 159 deputies are patrol deputies. They have to do a tremendous amount of overtime just to fill our commitment to Norwalk, La Mirada and unincorporated Whittier. A lot of people are getting tired of working all the overtime.” Pico Rivera Station Capt. Irma Becerra said that under-staffing is demoralizing for deputies. “Under-staffing stops movement for deputies to get elite assignments as detectives or in homicide,” Becerra said. “In order for there to be movement, deputies have to move from the jails to a station. Then, they have to apply for a more specialized job.” Less deputies coming from jails into stations means less promotions for officers. “It’s a little bit demoralizing for deputies,” she said. Ben Baeder can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Sandy Mazza can be reached at Ext. 3026, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!