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This is Why We Serve: A Better Way to Train Our Officers

To celebrate Public Service Week 2019, we spoke to Goh Eng Joo about his 21-year journey of transformation.
For helping the Home Team take steps towards innovation, Eng Joo received the Exemplary Leader Award at this year's Public Sector Transformation Awards Reception. PHOTO: Muhamad Khair

A mechanical engineer by training, Goh Eng Joo chose to join the Singapore Police Force (SPF) because of an unforgettable incident that he witnessed as a child.

Having started as a Senior Investigation Officer in 1998, he served as an Operation Officer, Head Planning Officer and Commanding Officer of a Neighbourhood Police Centre before being appointed Head of Training at the Home Team School of Criminal Investigation (HTSCI) in 2014.

Under his charge, the number of courses, workshops and seminars at HTSCI increased from over 30 runs for about 1,000 officers in 2015 to over 90 runs for about 2,800 officers in 2017. This year, Eng Joo’s career came full circle as he’s now a Senior Assistant Director with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Science and Technology Group.

Why did you decide to become a Police officer?
When I was nine-years-old, I witnessed a gang fight and saw a man get slashed. I was shaken to the core and felt helpless. Thankfully, the Police intervened, but this incident left a deep impression on me, and I was motivated to serve the community by becoming a Police officer. I love being able to interact with people and to play a role in keeping them safe as they go about their lives.

Tell us about how you approach innovations in training.
Innovation isn’t just about technology; it’s also about ensuring that our training is productive and efficient. This involves a constant review of methodologies, understanding changes in training needs and identifying new stakeholders. We need to do this to support trainees with different learning styles.

Take the Virtual Classroom Management System (vCMS), for example. It offers web-based collaboration and record-keeping tools so that group learning and discussions can be retained.

What do you love about your job?
It's satisfying to be part of the transformation process and to help our investigation training become more productive and effective. We’ve shifted from traditional classroom lessons to a more engaging and application-based way of learning.

What advice about transformation do you have for other Home Team officers?

Change is inevitable and can often be painful. For it to be successful, we need to understand why there’s a need for it. Everyone has a role to play in the transformation process.


Public Sector Transformation (PST) Awards 
The PST Awards recognise public officers and agencies for excellence in their work and organisational practices. This year's Awards Reception was held on 19 July and saw 80 awards in 13 categories presented to recognise best practices and desired behaviours and values in the Singapore Public Service. Congratulations to our seven Home Team award recipients!

- One Public Service Award: Immigration & Checkpoints AuthorityMinistry of Social and Family DevelopmentPublic Service DivisionEarly Childhood Development AgencyGovTechHealth Promotion Board and the Smart National and Digital Government Office, for the Moments of Life app
- Exemplary Leader Award: Goh Eng Joo, MHA
- Exemplary SkillsFuture @ Public Service Award: LTA Yeo Ren Jie, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
- Exemplary SkillsFuture @ Public Service Award: Aileen Yap, SPF
- Exemplary Innovator Award: Heavy Fire Vessel, SCDF
- Exemplary Service Excellence Award: CW2 Helen Lim, Singapore Prison Service
- Exemplary Service Excellence Award: Staff Sergeant Mohamad Farhan Bin Mohamad Suhaili, SPF

Written by

Ashley Tuen


26 July 2019

Science and Technology
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