First female cop commander in Grassy Park set to make history

Lieutenant-Colonel Cleo Arnoldus, of the SAPS, the first female station commander in Grassy Park.

Lieutenant-Colonel Cleo Arnoldus, of the SAPS, the first female station commander in Grassy Park.

Published Jan 13, 2024


Cape Town - A new top cop has taken over the reins at Grassy Park police station and is leading the way for women in uniform.

This week, Lieutenant-Colonel Cleo Arnoldus was named station commander following the retirement of Colonel Dawood Laing last month after more than 40 years of service.

Speaking to the Weekend Argus after settling into her new position as the acting station commander, Arnoldus says she is hell-bent on fighting the scourge of drugs in the precinct.

“I have 29 years of service in the South African Police Service and took on the role of being appointed as acting station commander on 2 January. I am the first female station commander at Grassy Park SAPS.”

Arnoldus began her career as a police officer in 1995, initially trained in Hammanskraal, and worked at various stations across the Metropole

“From there on I started with frontline services at Steenberg SAPS, went on being an instructor at Philippi Training College and later promoted back to Steenberg SAPS.”

Arnoldus was later transferred to the Mitchell's Plain Cluster office where she worked with eight different police stations making up the cluster.

A firm believer in breaking moulds, she worked hard for many years and was later the first female officer to be named Operational Commander for Mitchells Plain SAPS.

In recent years, she has also been rewarded for her efforts.

In 2022, she was named the runner-up for the “Woman of the Year in the Western Cape” at the SAPS awards.

Last year she was named the Visible Policing Officer of the Year.

“I am also part of The Women's Network of SAPS and worked to make an impact on many female officers,” she said.

“The main objective of the network is to provide support for women employees in SAPS.

“It is to ensure that women in leadership positions help mentor the younger generation.”

Assessing the main crime concerns, she says drug dealing and contact crime is her main focus.

“I believe, with the help of our communities, we can curb drug abuse and eliminate drug dealers. We urge our communities to realise that we do not only arrest people – we also teach and help them.

“Grassy Park has a wonderful team but (we) cannot do it alone; we need our partners in the different spheres to assist.

“I encourage all residents to be involved in fighting crime.

“Crime starts at home and we must stop pointing fingers and assist to eradicate crime.”

Arnoldus says the reluctance of residents to share information about suspects fuels crime.

“The area is known for gang violence; hence, I am saying crime begins at home.

We, as a community, need to work together to have resources to educate and empower our youth, so that they know that there are so many possibilities out there, instead of gangsterism,” she says.

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