When Kenneth C. Payumo, a 31-year-old lawyer, teacher and former New York City police officer, heard about the United Nations project to establish a civilian police department in East Timor, he jumped at the possibility of becoming the public servant he has always wanted to be.

“Over here, there are plenty of opportunities,” said Payumo, associate counsel of the New York State Inspector General’s Office, “but I’ll never get another chance to help and really make a difference to so many people, a country, that has been traumatized in this way.”