New commander to lend an ear

2016-11-29 06:00
Colonel Mark Adonis was appointed as Athlone police station’s commander at the beginning of November. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Colonel Mark Adonis was appointed as Athlone police station’s commander at the beginning of November. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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At the beginning of November, Athlone police station welcomed Colonel Mark Adonis as their new commander.

Adonis takes over from Colonel Krisjan Verwant, who retired earlier this year (“Fond farewell for Colonel Verwant”, People’s Post, 12 April).

Lieutenant-Colonel Clive Nicholas stood in as acting station commander until Adonis’ appointment.

Adonis has served on the police force for almost 30 years, having started out at Cape Town International Airport in 1984. Following stints at Groot Drakenstein, Darling and Strand, Adonis was appointed in his first permanent role as a station commander at Riviersonderend in 2004, where he spent five years. He also served as station commander at Gansbaai and Cloetesville before being promoted to a full colonel at the beginning of November.

“My vision for this community is to work together with the community to turn around the picture. I will focus on the provincial pillars which focus on ‘back to basics’ where they talk about discipline, command and control,” says Adonis.

He adds that the police cannot do their work without the community’s assistance.

“We need feedback from the community as well. Sometimes you get difficult communities and they don’t understand what our role as the police is. That is why the involvement of the community policing forum (CPF) is very important. The CPF is the middleman when it comes to the community and the police so that we can equip our community with the correct information.”

Adonis says he has an open-door policy, but practices access control in order to provide everyone with an equal opportunity for his attention.

“If the community is open, we can deal with issues effectively. For me, if you can just give an ear to a community member and give feedback, then you can tell them what the situation is and how we may want to address it. I want to work with people who have integrity, focused and who wants to make a difference – people who are committed in their community, who do not have their own agendas. But if you sit with people who have an agenda, then it is difficult to police,” explains Adonis.

He laments the increasing attacks on police by the communities they serve.

“Attacks on our police officers are also a challenge in the trust of our community and that is why it is very important to earn trust within the community. When they see an officer, they say that all police are corrupt and sometimes they don’t understand what corruption is,” says Adonis. “People think that if I don’t attend to their complaint, the police are corrupt. That is not corruption; it is poor service delivery. They don’t know the difference. They just label us, but don’t understand.”

He also aims to educate the community through quarterly crime imbizos where there will be a level platform for all role-players to deal with the issues that affect their lives daily. “I have already met with the CPF chairperson (Aziza Kannemeyer) and I was also warmly welcomed by the officers here at the station. I believe in my officers. I inform them, never mind what people say, because if they believe we are the best station, we can make a difference.”

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