With international support, Ukraine is striving to reform its policing services to ensure the integrity of police officers and the safety of the communities they serve.

As part of the effort, residents of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, are inspecting and voting on several new vehicle designs proposed for the country’s new patrol cars. The makeover is part of the government’s efforts to improve the police force, which has long suffered a reputation as one of Ukraine’s most corrupt public-sector services.

Among the new design requirements for the patrol cars are high visibility in poor weather conditions and at night. But just as important are requirements that the patrol cars be easily recognizable and “friendly” to the public.

As many countries’ policing experts know, strengthening trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve is essential to stability. Such trust starts with safe and effective delivery of policing services and with the integrity of criminal justice systems.

Other Drivers of Reform

Patrol car design is just one of many steps Ukraine has taken in the past several months to overhaul its law enforcement.

  • In 2014, the Ukrainian government enlisted Eka Zguladze to become deputy interior minister. Zguladze had been a top official in Georgia’s interior ministry and had overseen police reform there from 2006 to 2012. Zguladze spurred representatives from the two countries to collaborate in drafting legislation for police reform.
  • In January, Kyiv opened a police recruitment center to fill 2,000 positions that will remain after the existing police force is cut in half. Candidates will undergo an American-style recruitment process that includes a test of general skills, a physical exam, psychological profiling and face-to-face interviews. Selected recruits will then receive training from top U.S. law enforcement experts.

At an opening-day event at the recruitment center, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said, “We all want to see the new patrol police build the trust between law enforcement and local communities that the Ukrainian people want and deserve.” To that end, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement has contributed $20 million to support the reforms.

For more on U.S. and international support for Ukraine, follow #UnitedforUkraine on Twitter.