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Ecuador: to end corruption, police must take lie detector test

Ecuador forces its police officers to take a polygraph.

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In an effort to stamp out corruption among Ecuador's police force, the police chief has declared that all officers must take a lie detector test, BBC reports.

Gen Wilson Alulema reportedly ordered all 42,000 officers to take a polygraph test as well as declare their assets to enable investigators to identify illicit payments.

He also said he wants the government to give senior police officers the power to fire lower-ranking officers who have been linked to corruption scandals.

According to Alulema,judges reinstated about 300 officers who had been suspended due to corruption.

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"Those judges don't understand the gravity of their decisions," he told BBC.

In April, Ecuador asked the U.S. Ambassador, Heather Hodges, to leave the country after a cable exposed by WikiLeaks showed that she accused the former police chief of corruption and suggested he lose his American visa, the Guardian reported.

The July 2009 cable said the former police chief used his position to "extort cash and property, misappropriate public funds, facilitate human trafficking, and obstruct the investigation and prosecution of corrupt colleagues." Hodges also said in the cable that "corruption among Ecuadorian national police officers is widespread and well-known," the Guardian reported.

President Rafael Correa's administration took control of the police force after what he described as an attempted coup by the police last September. Police protests against government spending cuts turned violent, and Correa was attacked and trapped in a hospital for several hours until being rescued by troops, Reuters reported.

Former police commander Freddy Martinez resigned over the protests.

Similar popular protests ousted three leaders in Ecuador before Correa took office in 2007.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/110817/ecuador-police-corruption-lie-detector-test