The new head of Grassy Park police station, who has been in the position for just over a month, has hit the ground running and brought a positive spirit to the station, according to members.
Lieutenant Colonel Cleo Arnoldus, who grew up in Shepard Court in Lavender Hill and is a Hillwood Primary School and Lavender Hill High School alumni, was appointed as acting station commander on Tuesday January 2.
Before her appointment at the station, Lieutenant Colonel Arnoldus had been in the South African Police Service (SAPS) for 29 years, was an all rounder who worked in Visible Policing (VISPOL), Human Resources (HR), chain management and worked as both a member as well in management positions.
She was stationed at Steenberg police station for most of her career and then moved on to the cluster office and Mitchell’s Plain police station before she was appointed as acting station commander for Grassy Park police station – replacing former station commander Lieutenant Colonel Dawood Laing who retired at the end of last year.
Lieutenant Colonel Arnoldus said she is aware of the challenges at not just Grassy Park police but across SAPS, but said she will do her utmost to be a good leader for the station and community it serves.
“I have never been a station commander before so this is a learning curve for me and I am not miss-know-it-all but I am very excited for the challenge and taking the station to new heights,” she said.
Asked what some of her main objectives are and how her appointment will benefit the station, Lieutenant Colonel Arnoldus, who is the first female to be appointed as station commander at Grassy Park police, said she brings a different and fresh perspective.
“We as women say things differently, we do things differently and I am a very positive person so I speak from a place of love and care. At the end of the day the work we do is what matters and we have to do it to the best of our capability within the rules and regulations and those are the guidelines I work by so I cannot make any promises and I cannot make miracles but I will do the best that I can in my capacity as the station commander.”
She also asked the community to continue to work with them to improve and provide a better service.
“If everybody works together and does their part in their environment then I’m sure we can make a big difference in Grassy Park.”
Lieutenant Colonel Arnoldus admits that it is still difficult for women in the men-dominated industry but hopes she will make a lasting impact and forge the way for future women leaders in SAPS.
“In the police Women’s Network we were taught that we must learn, mentor, educate and lead and I’m bringing all that I’ve learnt to Grassy Park.”
Captain Wynita Kleinsmith met Lieutenant Colonel Arnoldus more than 20 years ago through the police Women’s Network, which empowers and mentors women so that they can fill up leadership posts. She said the appointment was well received by members.
“Lieutenant Colonel Arnoldus has always been a mentor to me and she is always willing to help so we are very happy with her appointment. We have already seen the positive influence she has had at the station and we will support her in her new role,” said Captain Kleinsmith.