Ladysmith officer wins top cop award

2012-10-09 00:00

HARD work and dedication are key to good results in the work place, said Ladysmith police officer Major Jan van Straten yesterday.

Van Straten, a member of the Ladysmith detective unit, was voted the best officer in the “individual officers” category at the 2012 National Tracker-SAPS Awards Ceremony held in Pretoria on Friday.

He was selected for his outstanding contribution to vehicle crime investigation.

Having previously won the award in 2005, he was the only officer to win in this category in the province.

Finalists for the awards were chosen from more than 90 individual nominees and 40 units nationally.

Nominations were for outstanding contribution to vehicle crime investigation, number of vehicle recoveries, number of arrests, outstanding efforts in co-ordinating recovery actions and outstanding contribution to the training of members.

The event, sponsored by Tracker, and attended by various ministerial and police dignitaries, aims to honour law enforcement officers and units whose efforts over the past year have helped significantly to combat vehicle crime in SA.

Van Straten, a veteran of 34 years as an officer, said making more stolen vehicle recoveries and seeing criminals brought to book motivates him. He said there were encounters with the suspects opting to shoot their way out when facing arrest.

“In those situations you have got to act responsibly. Think about your colleagues, the general public and your loved ones. In the end, the good guys become victors. It is the hard work and the passion I have for my job that has led to my success,” said the husband and father of one.

He said the certificate he got and a personal gift from police Minister Nathi Mthethwa are motivation enough for all officers to give their all in dealing with crime.

Tracker is the only vehicle tracking company in South Africa to formally partner with the SAPS, with its vehicle tracking technology installed in 1 200 police vehicles and 42 aircraft.

Ladysmith station commissioner Brigadier Mandlenkosi Chirwa said it felt great to have a dedicated officer of Van Straten’s calibre.

“I’m a witness to his hard work. I work very late at times, so I would observe him working after hours. He is self motivated and he deserves the award,” said Chirwa.

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