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Albania looks to clear out bad apples from police force

TIRANA, Albania (AP) - Albania's government is looking to clear out the bad apples among its police force.

A draft law that the government approved Wednesday calls for the vetting of Albania's 13,000 police officers. Deputy Interior Minister Julian Hodaj said that authorities want to look at the officers' professional and personal backgrounds in order "to fire some individuals ... elements involved in crime, corruption or not being professional."

Fighting organized crime and especially drug trafficking is a key challenge for Albania. The country has been a NATO member since 2009 and was granted European Union candidate status in 2014. It hopes to launch membership negotiations this year.

The same vetting process is also being done for Albania's judges and prosecutors. Corruption has plagued post-communist Albania, and has been detrimental to its democratic institutions.

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