4.6.2014, Open Society Foundations – Patrolling the Streets with Hungary’s Roma Police

4.6.2014, Open Society Foundations – Patrolling the Streets with Hungary’s Roma Police

I was born into a poor family in central Hungary, in an environment with little opportunities. Thankfully I was supported by the Open Society Foundations with financial aid to complete my high school diploma. If I hadn’t managed this, I don’t know where I would be today. At the age of 21, I enrolled at a police academy in Budapest and immediately declared my Roma heritage.

Some of my colleagues were also Roma, but I was the only one who defined myself accordingly. Although this occasionally caused some friction and distance within the department, I never experienced serious problems. On the contrary, some of my senior officers respected me for my confidence. After a short time I rose to the rank of detective.

During my patrols around Budapest, I noticed that there was one Roma police officer in the 8th District and one in the neighboring 9th, both quite deprived areas with a large Roma population, but neither of them knew each other. Hence I decided to establish a support network for Roma police, and I became a Roma liaison officer to act as a point of contact between the police and the Roma community.

Source (English language): http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/patrolling-streets-hungarys-roma-police

 

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