A moment with the Metro Police Chief

2018-08-01 06:01
Yolande Faro, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police Chief.    Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

Yolande Faro, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police Chief. Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

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IN December 2016 she started with the mammoth task of building a Metro Police department from scratch. She had no staff, no patrol vehicles, no deployment office space for her staff and for headquarters.

Four months later, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police Department was in full swing, an accomplishment Faro refuses to take the credit for.

Instead she gives all credit to her team and the unwavering support of her Deputy Chief Frik Terblanche and Director Trevor Smith as well as her principals.

Hailing from the Western Cape, she did not see the move to the Bay as a challenge.

“When I decide to take on something, I do so wholeheartedly. When I moved here I decided to make Port Elizabeth my home and to be a part of the community 100%.”

Asked about the biggest challenges she’s had to face thus far, she points out that she does not see anything as a challenge.

“When you see something as challenge it means that you are looking at the negative.

“I choose to look at the positive of every situation. Nothing is all smooth sailing but my team and I always try to see how we can turn a difficult situation into an opportunity.”

Faro believes difficult situations can be used as a learning curve.

“When you are in a dark hole, ask yourself why and look at what you can learn from the situation. Afterwards go and use that experience as a tool.

“You can use that experience to help others who are in that same situation you were in. That experience will enable yourself to speak with conviction.”

Today the NMB Metro Police is 135 members strong; it has 38 vehicles and its own office block at the Fire and Emergency Services in South End.

Two deployment offices were also opened in Chatty, Bethelsdorp, and KwaNobuhle in the past year, with two more deployment offices opening soon on the beachfront and Thusong Motherwell.

It is evident that personnel are very important to her.

“For me it is essential that everyone needs to respect each other, from management to the cleaners. It’s usually only when that person is absent that you realise what his or her contribution to the team is.

“But here we make sure that everyone knows his or her worth and we celebrate even the little things such as birthdays. I personally phone everyone on their birthday and if a staff member is in hospital we will visit him or her. We share in each other’s joys and sorrows.”

Recognition is given for hard work and members receive certificates for their achievements.

“It is important that there is no disconnect. Feeling appreciated and feeling that you are part of the team improves teamwork.”

The NMB Metro Police have been very active in the community. They were approached for assistance and training by some neighbourhood watches in tonfa and basic self defence, and have done various charity drives.

“We are building these partnerships because we need to be aware of what is going on in the metro and the community is our eyes and ears.

“We are involved and people can see that we are for them, not against them.”

Deputy Frik Terblanche, who was formerly with the traffic department before joining the metro police, said Faro was like a breath of fresh air that blew new life into him and his career.

“I have been in this career for many years and it is the first time I am working with a woman as a chief - however, I don’t see her as that (a woman).

“To me she is a true leader and someone I would follow gladly. She is approachable and understanding and brought with her the dynamics which were needed to make the metro police a success.”

Deputy Andrew Moses agrees. “She is an inspirational leader who always follows through. It is a privilege to work with her and to learn from her on a daily basis.”

Moses recalled one of his favourite moments, “When we visited a school for the visual impaired in KwaDwesi recently, there was a child who took such a liking to the chief that he did not want to leave her side. She had to do her presentation with this child on her lap.

“I believe children are intuitively attracted to honest, sincere people. The fact that this little child was so drawn to the chief tells you a lot about her. We salute her.”

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