Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

UAE Portrait of a Nation: the police chief who is mother, mediator and 'mayor'

Capt Shadia Khasif is a 'problem solver' and valuable confidante for her community in Hatta

Captain Shadia Khasif is a pillar of the community in Hatta, taking on the mantle from her father. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Captain Shadia Khasif is a pillar of the community in Hatta, taking on the mantle from her father. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Like father, like daughter, police captain Shadia Khasif has become such a force for good in her community that she is affectionately known as the 'Mayor of Hatta'.

Twenty-six years after first pledging to uphold the law, she has risen to the rank of head of the criminal registration department at Hatta Police Station, a role in which she is responsible for registering, investigating and filing complaints and criminal cases.

But her title doesn't even tell half the story - to the people she serves and protects she is a "problem solver" and "secret keeper", someone they can always turn to in their hour of need.

She is happy to follow in the footsteps of her father, a military man who people in Hatta, a town bordering Dubai and Oman, came to for guidance, understanding and advice.

“It’s not easy to gain the people's trust and become their secret keeper and problem solver but my father taught me a lot about how to be a trustworthy person and always tell the truth even if it hurts,” said Capt Khasif.

“People used to come to our house seeking his advice and guidance. He was a very wise man and everyone respected him and trusted his judgment. So I decided to leave the door open even after he left us.”

While the 50-year-old has been inspired by her role model father, it was her meetings with a female police officer at elementary school that set her off on her career path.

“A police officer, who was loved and admired by all the village, used to come to our school and share in the National Day celebrations each year.

“I was amazed by her uniform and the way she used to speak to us and guide us at that time and because of her I decided to join the police force.

“She was the only female police officer in our village at that time. It wasn’t a common thing for a woman to join the military or the police, but I decided to go for it and my father encouraged me to do so.”

In 1994, Capt Khasif graduated from Dubai Police Academy and was assigned to Bur Dubai Police Station before moving to Dubai Public Prosecution.

“I started at the detention department and spent the first few months observing and learning how to deal with female detainees and in 1995 I was transferred to Dubai Public Prosecution.

“During those two years, I saw many cases and dealt with many people. Some of them were innocent and some were guilty, and that made me develop my experience and skills, and later I was promoted to First Investigator and moved back to Hatta.”

Captain Shadia Khasif's work helping others doesn't end when she leaves her office at Hatta Police Station. Chris Whiteoak / The National  
Captain Shadia Khasif's work helping others doesn't end when she leaves her office at Hatta Police Station. Chris Whiteoak / The National  

Being an investigator in her own village gave her the opportunity to connect more with people, learn about their problems and gain their trust.

“My relationship with the families of Hatta, and being one of them, has helped me throughout the years. It wasn’t easy at first but later people started to come to the police station and ask for my advice and help to solve their problems before they escalated and reached the court.

“They used to share with me their fears, concerns, hopes and dreams and I did my best to help them solve their issues and encourage them to pursue their dreams and never give up.”

Last year, people of Hatta decided to call her the 'mayor' due to her selfless dedication to solving their problems.

Over the years, people have called on her to help them deal with everything from family disputes over inheritance, marital matters and the custody of children.

“I try to speak with both parties to try and find a solution especial when it comes to ending a marriage, where children would be most affected by the separation,” said Capt Khasif.

“Some men refrain from paying child maintenance after divorce and that can affect the children and provoke them to commit illegal acts such as stealing.

“Therefore, I try to solve the issue between the families before it escalates.”

Captain Khasif's burning desire to help others continues long after she leaves her post and returns home.

Capt Khasif has seven children of her own and one whom she adopted 19 years ago.

“He needed special care due to his disability and his father was blind and couldn’t take care of him so I decided to raise him with my children. He was nine when he joined our family and now he is 28 and works at the Border Crossing Station.

“I keep my door open for everyone at work and at home and dedicated my life to raise my children and be there for my community and now when anyone faces issues they tell them to go to Shadia, Mayor of Hatta.

“I always encourage women to follow their dreams and never give up, our country supports us all and I believe that one day our children will reach the moon.”

“I’m really proud of what I managed to accomplish during the past years and I hope that my father is proud of me too.”

Updated: February 22, 2019 09:41 AM

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