The National Police drew attention on Friday to the lack of bulletproof vests and helmets for officers only hours before another policeman was shot by unidentified gunmen, adding to the long list of mysterious shooting incidents targeting police officers.
First Brig. Ruslan, a police officer with the National Police’s Sabhara patrol unit, was shot on Friday evening by unidentified gunmen at the Bhakti Abri housing complex in Cimanggis, Depok, West Java.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told The Jakarta Post on Friday that Ruslan was washing his motorcycle at 7:20 p.m. when four gunmen shot him. He sustained a minor injury to the leg.
Rikwanto said that Ruslan, who was not in uniform, was on his way home after having his motorcycle repaired at a service station when the shooting occurred.
The injured officer was brought to Sentra Medika Hospital in Cimanggis for treatment.
“After Ruslan was shot, the gunmen stole his motorcycle,” Rikwanto said.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F Sompie said on Friday that it was the duty of the police to keep the public safe, but the police also had to make sure that they were protected as well.
“Wearing body and head protection is standard operating procedure for the police when they perform duties that have a certain level of danger. The thing is, the protective equipment we have is not sufficient to supply all our personnel,” he said.
Ronny said that he did not know the exact number of bulletproof vests the police had right now, but he said he could confirm it was far from enough.
“Of course, we want to have more vests for our personnel, but our budget is very limited at the moment. I don’t know whether we will have to wait until next year [when the new state budget comes into effect in January] or if the government could help out sometime soon,” he said.
The police have recently come under attack amid a string of deadly shooting incidents. Based on data gathered by the Post, at least four police officers were shot dead and two injured across the country from July to September.
Most of the incidents have occurred in the greater Jakarta area, with the latest taking place in front of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) headquarters in South Jakarta.
In the latest shooting, Sukardi, an internal affairs officer from the National Police’s Water and Air Police, was shot dead by four unidentified gunmen when he was escorting six trucks carrying elevator parts from Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta to a construction site on Jl. Rasuna Said, South Jakarta.
Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto, another spokesman for the National Police, said that Jakarta Police investigators had questioned 15 witnesses consisting of truck drivers, KPK security officers and a bystander.
He also said that the investigators were still analyzing closed circuit television (CCTV) footage in an effort to identify the gunmen.
“We will continue the investigation, and hopefully we can release sketches of the perpetrators soon,” Agus said.
He added that the police were hoping that they could narrow their investigation, as the shooting resembled a previous attack in Pondok Aren, South Tangerang, where unidentified gunmen shot two police officers at a range of around 2 to 3 meters. (koi)