Policemen of the Year given award by Interior Minister

Lubomir Jozefciak, Blazena Kasparova and Tomas David (left), Photo: CTK

Tuesday saw a celebration at the Spiritka villa in Prague when the Minister of the Interior, Stanislav Gross presented the Policemen of the Year award for 2001. Alena Skodova was there and has this report:

I must confess I've never seen so many policemen at one time. All in polished uniforms, they were eagerly awaiting the results. There were several categories, including individual police officers, investigation teams and operations.

Lubomir Jozefciak,  Blazena Kasparova and Tomas David  (left),  Photo: CTK
After the ceremony I spoke with two awardees. Cadet Tomas David from Velke Losiny in North Moravia saved two young boys who had fallen through ice into a freezing cold pond.

Mr. David told me that he was just driving past the pond in the village of Petrov, when he saw the boys. It was in mid December and visibility was rather poor. He ran to the middle of the pond and succeeded in helping one of the boys out of the freezing water, but the second one could not make it. Cadet David tried to find a branch, but the only thing he had with him was his nightstick. He used it to pull the second boy out of the pond and he brought the two youngsters home. What might sound like a long story was unbelievably short: the whole thing lasted just one or two minutes, Mr. David told me.

First Lieutenant Lubomir Jozefciak served in Kosovo and Iraq and he told me he did not expect the highest award:

"I did not expect it, because I appreciate very much police work, common policemen in the street, I appreciate in all my heart acts like my colleague's, to save human lives, especially children's lives, that's the reason I was surprised very much that I got this prize even when I was not in the Czech Republic, I was working abroad."

Can you tell us about your work abroad, your missions?

"I was very happy there, especially because the Czech mission was one of the first, we arrived there on the 27th of September 1999, when we came in Kosovo nothing was prepared perfectly, we had to improvise very, very much, we tried to create some infrastructure, some kind of functional police job. Even at that time everybody had to work with interpreters, through mediators between victims or offenders and policemen."

Before that you were in Iraq?

"Yes, it was my first mission in 1992 and 1993, it was the Ministry of Defence mission, we were cooperating with our soldiers there, and in Northern Iraq when I'm looking back, what was interesting - the mission was similar to that in Kosovo, but the difference was that there were many more victims from international forces there."

You speak English, Albanian and Japanese, where did you learn the languages?

"I like learning languages very much, I decided to study languages especially during the Communist times, where there were not many possibilities to travel abroad, and it was a way how to make the world closer, even if you could not leave..."

Where will you serve now?

"It depends on my boss, my colleagues, because it's not easy to respect your missions while many policemen have to do job here, in the Czech Republic. That's the reason I have to appreciate very much understanding from my colleagues and my boss, and I have to respect their decision, their opinion whether I agree or not."