Beautiful Dolapo Badmos, Chief Superintendent of Police who was
formerly the Lagos State Police (and now the Nigeria Police Zone 2)
Public Relations Officer, responds to questions on pertinent issues regarding her profession. She also shares her passion for the job, humanity and she tells us what people might not know about her when not in uniform. She speaks to the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT, in this interview conducted in August, 2016. Excerpt…
In law enforcement, women seem to have advanced far beyond the days they were considered as matrons. How would you describe the transformation?
That’s a very funny question, though you forgot to also put “teachers” . Well, you will agree with me that the transformation is not only in law enforcement unit alone, we now have female doctors, engineers etc. and they are doing well. The only reason why that of law enforcement seems spectacular is because it’s a profession generally believed to be male dominated and it’s considered a duty basically for men but I will want to say that the transformation we are witnessing today is because some women I considered “courageous” decided to explore the “world” of men.
Was it your childhood dream to be in the police?
Well, I never thought of being a police officer while I was growing up. I always think I will grow up to be a medical doctor, saving lives and be a care giver but as faith will have it, I became a police officer still caring and saving lives because policing is all about protecting lives, ensuring there is no oppression.
Being a woman in law enforcement is not easy. It remains a predominantly male profession that does not easily accept them because it is believed that women possess inherent physical and emotional weaknesses. But you are very lucky to find yourself at the top and doing well too. How did it happen in your career, I mean the success?
Like I said earlier on the profession, it is believed to be and I will agree is predominantly male profession and for a woman to attain the height I am today, first I will say it could only be God, He gave me the physical strength needed, at times, I ask myself “Dolapo from where are you getting this strength?” And the other thing is basically while we were in Academy undergoing training, part of the things we were taught and I ensured it stuck to my brain was “A police officer should never be controlled by emotion” for you to be successful in this job, you won’t let emotions override you rather you should be compassionate. If you allow emotion, then you are bound to fail, at times you arrest a suspect and then he starts feigning ignorance up to the extent of crying and wailing and if you are not careful, you might want to believe that someone crying and wailing like this should be ignorant, at this point emotions sets in and you might want to set the suspect free which invariably might not be healthy for the society but when you are compassionate, you will only treat the suspect with caution, ensuring his rights are respected while you carry on your investigation with utmost sense of professionalism. At the end, you might discover evidences and exhibits that show he’s even the kingpin in the crime. If you have allowed emotion to override you, then you have failed. Let me quickly add that in any chosen career not only the police, passion and dedication are the keys. I want to believe my passion for the job backed with great sense of dedication has helped me this far.
We’ve interacted with some policewomen and we found out that the police academies are also places where female recruits learn a lot; from trainers allegedly being hard on them, to alleged sexual harassment, to having to deal with female competitors, and so on. Would you like to honestly share your experience at the academy level?
Ok. Now, let me tell you the difference when you talk about police academies that is where senior cadres are trained, we call those ones CADET while recruits go to police colleges which is for lower cadres. We have only one academy in the whole federation while we have like five or six colleges in Nigeria. So tell me how do you want to harass a senior cadre officer sexually? Someone that has been to the university? That knows her left from her right? I can’t see that happen in Academy? Never! Meanwhile, in the college which is for the recruits, the trainers know that these are low cadre officers which you should not unduly take advantage of, the force does not permit it, because the system understands they are naïve, so if you are caught taking advantage of them, it’s outright dismissal so who wants to take such risk? Such things do not occur because there is even a rule that if You go through such and didn’t report, you are even liable.
Concerning the issue of trainers being hard on trainees, it’s normal, you don’t expect them to be too familiar with us. In fact, most of the ones that trained us are our juniors but you need to see how we fear them but after passing out parade, they were the first set to pay us compliment but up till today, most of us still call them oga. So it’s not a big deal for instructors to be perceived as tough people. Let me also state here that there is no competition in life, the world is full of various tracks where each individual runs his/her race. I don’t want to be anyone else. The farthest I could go is to choose who I want to emulate or seek strength from and that is permitted; it’s called “role model “. Academy to me was full of ups and down, low moments and high points but it’s a training ground, it toughens me. My experience at Academy makes me know that I can be responsible for other people’s misdeeds which awakens the team spirit in me, you watch your team mates back but funny enough when you jointly ask for a favour, they will tell you there is no “we” in police; there and then you get confused but what I deduced from that is when you ask as a group, it becomes sort of revolution and revolution is felony. The force wants to guide against that but they encourage team work because you can only succeed as a team not individually.
Women solve problems with brains rather than with muscles, as they say. What are the qualities that you think won you the hearts of your equals and superiors’ equals?
This is me, I’m my normal self, I don’t think there is anything extra ordinary about me. But I think my superiors will be in the best position to answer the question but like I told you earlier, I love my job, I do it with passion and I’m dedicated to it. So if that is what makes me win their hearts, I won’t know.
What are your fears about the job you do?
Sincerely, there is no fear, maybe it’s because I believe in life there is nothing to be afraid off. There are three things that govern life; your trust in God, hardwork and destiny. I stand on this tripod and with that, no shaking.
Did it ever get to a point that you felt like quitting?
I agree there were low moments but that does not mean I should quit, have you heard about the phrase “there is light at the end of a tunnel”? Those low moments represent the tunnel period, so when I know there is light at the end, why should I quit? Winners don’t quit. There is a goal I set my eyes on and if I’m not there yet, why should I get discouraged?
Please, share your successes in your brief tenure as Divisional Police Officer of Isokoko?
Yes, the success recorded at Isokoko is as a result of embracing the concept of community policing. I tag it “policing of the people by the people and for the people” did you get that? The communities are their own police, they see us as partners in progress, we do periodical meeting, we decide policing priorities for them, you know they know each other in the community, so when they see a stranger, they place a tab and even challenge him or her when they are not comfortable with such person and when there are difficulties, they call on police and spontaneously we react and by that, the area remains peaceful. Agege people are fantastic; they even have what we call Voluntary Policing Sector. So that is their own native police, they wake up at night to do neighbourhood watch and patrol in conjunction with police so whenever any stranger is accosted, they easily recognize if such person is their own or not? About the police angle, I ensure our personnel in that division imbibe the spirit of community policing although most policemen do not like the idea of community policing because it’s not lucrative (you know what I mean?) Because under community policing, we ensure bail is totally free, because we have synergy with members of the public and on the other hand, there is reduction in crime because everyone in the community has no choice than to behave responsibly.
In other words, I also operate open door policies, I have my phone number written everywhere so the community members have direct access to the DPO and can report conduct of my personnel to me and because the policemen know that members of the public have access to me, they behave as expected. Above it all, I think it’s the grace of God that helped me because basically it’s tough being a DPO. From patrol to traffic duties, operations day and night and then administrative duties.
Tell us about some of the situations that you have encountered in which being a policewoman helped out?
Hmnnnnn! I don’t think I have any of such situations! But I can just say being a uniformed personnel has made me to rescue family and friends from any form of oppression in the hand of security personnel.
Please, describe in simple terms Dolapo Badmos, the policewoman and Dolapo Badmos the noncombatant lady.
(Smiles) Well, I don’t know how you want to take away non-combatant from a force personnel, once a combatant is always a combatant( laughs) but if your question means who am I away from uniform, I will tell you that I’m a fun loving go-go type, a down to earth chic (laughing) Dolapo hates oppression and cheating. God first in anything I do. I’m a good wife and wonderful mum. My son calls me yummy mummy (laughter)
Please, share the experiences of being a DPO and being a PPRO.
It’s basically two different assignments; as a DPO you are an operational personnel but as a PPRO, you are viewed as administrative personnel. But I must confess both are taxing.
What’s your definition of success and failure?
Well, in my own opinion, success is having fulfillment and making marks/impact in whatever you do while Failure means when you are static, refusing to try your hand on anything.
As a top cop, how would you define the link between knowing God and enforcing law?
Knowing God is the stamp you need to enforce law. To enforce law, you need to know God to be above board or else you will misbehave. Knowing God will make you have what is called conscience. If your conscience is dead, you can’t be an upright law enforcer. So you can’t separate the two
How do you find time for leisure, given your tight schedules and the job at home as wife and mother?
It is not easy I must say but with God, I’ve been pulling through. I do steal time for leisure though. You know, basically police job is for 24 hours, so you need to steal time to have fun. As for home front, thank God for my husband, he’s been supportive and understanding. He urges me on, I have the best husband in the world. I can shout it from the mountain top, and I thank God for the day I decided to marry him. He’s my engine room. He makes my life worth living. Above all, it’s been God.