Riza Shillova was one of the first police officers recruited to the newly formed Kosovo police in 1999. He continues to serve after multiple promotions. In July of 2011, he sat down with Princeton’s Innovations in Successful Societies (ISS) to discuss the launch of the Kosovo police. It is an interesting case of a start-up that leveraged the credibility and know-how of several partner organizations.
The Kosovo police force had a clean slate, having disengaged from the Serb-dominated Yugoslavian institutions of the previous era. The new force insourced the know-how and resources of several partner organizations including the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and later the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX).
The cooperative effort was not without challenges. The partners sometimes struggled with differing institutional cultures. In other cases, the new force had to cope with a lack of service continuity from internationals as well as the partners’ lack of knowledge about the local community. The force overcame these challenges because it was able to quickly incorporate the service and input of local recruits. Today, the Kosovan police force enjoys a high-degree of trust among the citizens it serves, a remarkable sign of success in an area with significant ethnic tensions.
In his interview with ISS, Shillova atributes the success of the Kosovo’s police force to several key factors.
The recruitment process:
Continuous on-the-job training in an effort to shape new norms of police conduct:
Experiences abroad to learn from other policing styles:
Political impartiality and independence:
Guarding the guardians— the advising, monitoring, and mentoring role for internationals: