Thirty years not out

2016-04-19 06:00
Warrant Officer Rodney Abrahams

Warrant Officer Rodney Abrahams

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For most people, 30 years in a single career may seem like an eternity, but for Warrant Officer Rodney Abrahams, he still feels he has many more years ahead.

Abrahams, a father of two and married for the last 23 years, has been employed in the South African Police Service for 30 years, spending almost all of them stationed at Manenberg police station.

He says although it has been a challenge to find balance between his personal life and professional life, his family has been behind him all the way.

“What I am trying to do is to not be a police officer at home. I do not want to police my family, because it is not a good thing, but they have been very supportive,” he says.

After initially joining the police in April 1986 as a charge office clerk at Bellville Police Station, Abrahams was sent to the Bellville Magistrate’s Court as a court orderly. He then enrolled at the police training college the same year, graduating as a constable. He was transferred to Manenberg police station where he has been ever since. He would start out in the charge office before being deployed in the uniform investigation unit, dealing mostly with petty crimes.

“I worked there for about three years, then in 1992 the unit was disbanded and at the time, our station commander here, Arno Lamoer, gave us a choice to stay in the detective environment or go back to uniform, driving police vans. I wanted to be a detective.”

Abrahams specialised in violent crimes, particularly those related to gang activity.
The recent upsurge in gang violence does not surprise Abrahams at all, and he says the pattern has been a hard one to break down over the years.
“The gang violence is a recurring thing. We are living in a community where people are in need of resources and these gangsters are taking advantage of that. The youngsters want to be in with the gangs and these people supply them. They will take over your house in exchange for money. This has been going on since I have been here. Now, 30 years later, it is still happening,” he adds.

He feels people need to have a shift in mindset as the police cannot do this alone. “This is a thing where police, social crime, correctional services ... all need to work together to help change the minds of the people in the area.”
He says the best part of his job is seeing a case through to the courts and obtaining a conviction. “To see that the victim is satisfied with the work I put in, is definitely the best thing there can be for what I do,” he said.

Although he says he never wanted to leave Manenberg police station, he did admit to having put in a transfer or two during the earlier years. “I started to like working here – not that I think other people in other places do not need more specialised help, but to work with these people is satisfying and rewarding.”

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