Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino's choice for commander of the Israel Police traffic division, Maj. Gen. Bruno Stein, is right out of central casting, bearing a strong resemblance to the cop some children imagined their mothers were threatening to call if they didn't finish their dinner.
Stein, who took up his post in a ceremony yesterday, is considered a good move on Danino's part, and not his only one. Even some of the new police commissioner's critics, including those who were disappointed that he passed over other senior officers, concede that Danino picked the right people for the jobs, especially when it comes to district commanders.
These include the choices of Niso Shaham in Jerusalem, Aharon Axel in Tel Aviv and Yossi Freinta in the south. Danino has put together a relatively young command, still less experienced than their predecessors, but skilled and ready.
Like Axel, Freinta and another newly minted major general, Zohar Dvir, Stein is a graduate of the brigadier generals course instituted two years ago by the outgoing head of human resources, Amihai Shai. The course was seen by the police force as preparing senior officers to think like a board of directors, exposing its students to economic-business thinking in public organizations, technology and information, innovation and excellence and teaching them about the branding of the police both internally and externally.
It is particularly significant that Shaham's previous position as commander of the Negev district during the 2005 evacuation of settlers from Gaza did not harm his promotion. He was given the rank of major general in the previous round of promotions, when he became head of a division in Police Headquarters. Now he has been placed in Jerusalem, a district in need of his rich experience.
The round of appointments was so secret that two or three days before it was announced, the outgoing police commissioner, David Cohen gave gifts to commanders leaving the service, among them Border Police chief Yisrael Yitzhak. Only after Danino took up his post was it officially revealed that Yitzhak had been appointed deputy commissioner.
Of all the new appointees, those who will have the most to prove are the outsiders: the new human resources head is former Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Yaron Be'eri and the new police spokesman is the Tel Aviv municipality's former spokesman, Hillel Fertuk.
Both these appointments show that contrary to popular wisdom, not all the top brass has to come from within, at least not in these two fields.
It is hoped that Be'eri will make the police more army-like, both in terms of pay and in quality of service.
Danino's biggest hurdle awaits him in the Public Security Ministry. The man who granted him his office, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, was a former police major general and deputy commissioner, and is surrounded by former police brass who still think that they, rather than he, should have been given the job.
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