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News Top cop candidate wins favor over seniors

by June 15, 2016 General

National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Comr. Gen. Tito Karnavian has won President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s favor to succeed Gen. Badrodin Haiti as National Police chief, leaping over his seniors to be considered for the top post.

On the back of his accomplishments in the force, 51-year-old Tito is the youngest member of the police to receive the rank of commissioner general after being inaugurated as BNPT chief in March. He was promoted to the BNPT post after serving in the prestigious position of Jakarta Police chief for almost a year, when he was lauded for maintaining security following a terrorist attack that struck the capital in January.

Graduating from the Police Academy in 1987 as the best student, Tito’s nomination for the National Police chief position overlooked several of his seniors whose names were also proposed to Jokowi by the National Police Commission (Kompolnas). The senior police members included National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, National Police general supervision inspectorate chief Cmr. Gen. Dwi Priyatno and National Narcotics Agency (BNN) chief Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso.

Should the House of Representatives approve Tito’s nomination, the former Papua Police chief could serve as National Police chief until his retirement in 2022, the longest term among his seniors.

The Palembang-born nominee’s career took off following his role in the arrest of fugitive Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra, the youngest son of the late dictator Soeharto, in 2001, over the murder of Supreme Court justice Syafiuddin Kartasasmita.

Building his reputation as a counterterrorism specialist, Tito is widely known for his achievements in cracking down on top terrorist cells in Indonesia when he served as a team leader in the police’s Densus 88 antiterror squad.

Tito’s achievements include the killing of notorious terrorists Azahari Husin in 2005 and Noordin Mohammad Top in 2009. His accomplishments in counterterrorism landed him the position of Densus 88 chief in 2010, followed by another promotion to BNPT operations deputy in 2011 and 2012.

His other credentials include cracking down on terror cells that ignited a bloody sectarian conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi, in the early 2000s.

Tito obtained a Master of Arts on police studies from the University of Exeter in England in 1993. He also earned a PhD on strategic studies with a focus on terrorism and Islamist radicalization from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, in 2013. (rin)

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