My name is Sidelnikova Luisa Alexeevna.
I’m an inspector in Kiev’s police patrol. I was born and grew up in Kiev. My father was a military veteran. He served in Afghanistan. After he became a police officer in Kiev. It was a difficult time for Ukraine. He helped everyone.
My dad inspired my childhood dream to be a policeman. Unfortunately he passed away. I never got the chance as we couldn’t afford it. I had to forget about my dreams.
I didn’t graduate from college because I got pregnant. My daughter was born, followed by my son. I was never married. Unfortunately my boyfriend became seriously ill and he passed away. I was all by myself with two kids. But it was not for long. A new man came into my life. He gave my kids hope that they would have a complete family. Then we had a child together but his attitude towards my elder kids changed and we had to split up. I was left all alone with three kids.
I had keep trying to earn money, I tried manual labour. I did everything I could. I was even a comedy actress, but not not for long. I only worked if my mom could babysit for me. I couldn’t apply for regular jobs.
One day my mother called me. She was so excited. “Switch on TV, Look! A new deputy minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They promised reform, they promised that everything would be perfect, Like abroad. All would be organized properly.” I didn’t buy it. People don’t believe in miracles here. But I made it to the interview stage and took a training course. I successfully graduated and took the oath on July 4, 2015.
The work was not so difficult in the beginning. But I received so much attention. It was distracting how much people look up to and admire you. Everyone wants a selfie with you! It was new for everyone. But they got used to me as time passed.
Initially 30% of police officers were women. Its an impressive statistic even compared with foreign countries.
Girls are stronger spiritually.. We are all righteous and committed. They don’t get upset. Many guys quit. Girls don’t quit. They can only take a maternity leave. That’s it. But they promise to be back.
People react differently. Some people say, ‘I’d never let my wife do it, it’s too dangerous,’ Many officers get killed. When we get a call we never know what to expect.
Many girls who used to work in the patrol police got transferred to the Department. Patrol work was too heavy for them. I don’t want to do paperwork. It’s professional degradation for me. I’d like to be an investigative officer or maybe an attorney. This is the best place for women to get promoted.
We work 2 day shifts, from 7am till 8pm. Then 2 days off, then two night shifts. A typical day begins at 6am. Everyone gets his own patrol quadrant. For example, I get Podolsk district it’s been mapped out into patrol sectors. We spend the whole day in a car. We have an hour for lunch, but often there is no time for lunch Sometimes we’re overwhelmed with work and we only take a snack.
Most often we get calls to traffic accidents, normally just minor incidents. There are some a horrible calls. We had a fatal traffic crash, a young girl died Just because she was looking at pictures on her phone. She sat behind a driver. She sat with her head bent, and she broke her neck and died.
There was a Mercedes turned upside in Pochtovaya tunnel. It turned upside down a few times, and we got a man out of the car, he had a hole in his neck and blood gushing out. We had to put swabs through his mouth, and two bandages on the neck to stop the bleeding. We saved his life.
We get a lot of family quarrels domestic violence, unfortunately, when a husband beats up his wife the kids suffer so much. We get many such calls.
I didn’t have many negative experience with men…they would sooner flirt when they see me in uniform, ‘Oh, a policewoman! They pull up beside me in their flash cars. I don’t buy it, I’m not interested.
I like helping people. Sometimes I patrol the train stations, I know that people who fall asleep for 10 minutes are destined to lose everything One guy fell asleep and he woke up without his belongings. Even without his jacket. He didn’t have anything with him. He was just in a T-shirt. We helped him to buy a ticket and I ushered him onto the train because without a passport nobody would let him take a train without ID.
It’s not cool when we get called in our days off. You know that your kids are at home. Childhood slips away and you don’t see them grow up. One day I’ll realise that I have missed everything. Everything that a woman should enjoy. I don’t see my little son. He grows up without me. But I love that my kids are proud of me.