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In blue for 41 years

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JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, with Raymond Arnold.
JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, with Raymond Arnold.

“The challenges faced as a metro police officer is getting up every morning and not knowing if I would return home after my shift. This is the sacrifice each and every officer makes when they put on their uniform and go out to work every morning and for every shift. This is not a job for everyone. This is a job for those who are willing to sacrifice a lot for the safety of all the city’s residents.”

These are the words of Raymond Arnold, a resident of Kraaifontein, after he was recently lauded for his 41 years in service of the Cape Town Metro Police Department; a passion he held since he was only 18 years old.

When he started his career with the City of Cape Town in 1979 as an 18-year-old in the roads department, he admired the officers in blue patrolling the beaches.

Two years later, he took up the position of a correspondence clerk and, four months later, was appointed as a plans filer and recor­der at the same roads branch.

He finally joined the beach constabulary in September 1983, a unit established to combat anti-social behaviour on the beaches.

When he obtained his matric certificate in 1998 he took up the designation as a sergeant within law enforcement, continuing to carry out his duties on the City’s beaches.

“As a beach constable in those years, my tasks were not only by-law enforcement, but also to enforce the Sea Shore Act. I was also a lifeguard and had to obtain a Surf Proficiency Award. Although I was by far not the best swimmer, I was a good runner and had to be out of the starting blocks first in order to get to the drowning victim and to secure the patient whilst the better swimmers would take over. We did many rescues on the treacherous beaches of Strandfontein and Mnandi,” he says.

In 1998 he received a Bravery Award from South African Lifesaving for a mass rescue at Mnandi beach after he brought a drowning man out of the surf.

“We struggled for about 18 minutes to revive him after which he was taken by ambulance to hospital in order to avoid second degree drowning.”

Then, in May 2002, he was appointed as a precinct commander within the City police.

He became a superintendent when the department became the City’s metropolitan police department, a rank he still holds.

He fondly remembers his training at Philippi College by the army, traffic and police instructors.

“City police were affectionately known as the Pizza Boys. The training was strenuous but built camaraderie including proper policing endurance as well as restraint, discipline and respect,” he says.

Arnold was born in Wynberg and thereafter lived in Harfield Village, Claremont. His family moved to Parkwood Estate where he attended Parkwood Primary, Montagues Gift Primary and later Parkwood High School which is now known as Lotus River Senior Secondary School.

“My older sister, whom I adored, was murdered when I was 15 years old, and this was a devastating experience for the family.

He has two more sisters and a younger brother.

“My father was a government worker and for most of the time, my mother remained a home executive. I had a strict upbringing for which I can forever be thankful. I am married with four daughters and a son, the last born being 30 years old,” he says.

“It is great to have reached this milestone, of being formally honoured for dedication for the service rendered whilst still being in fairly good health and still being able to contribute to creating a safe environment for the community within the City of Cape Town.”

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security, commended Arnold for his dedication.

“It’s always a proud moment to commemorate and honour our long-serving and dedicated men and women in uniform. A service anniversary of 41 years is the mark of commitment and I commend Superintendent Arnold for his dedication. Your loyalty, abilities and contributions are integral to our continued success.”

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