Skip to comments.Former Roanoke officer took beat - in Kosovo
Posted on 07/01/2002 6:14:52 PM PDT by joan
Alexander Clary's job, apart from being a police officer, was to help re-establish civilian law enforcement.
By HATTIE BROWN
THE ROANOKE TIMES
For Alexander Clary, Kosovo is a place of contrasts: Colorful flowers and friendly people mixed with wrecked cars, frequent bombings and mountains of garbage.
For two years, Clary worked in Kosovo trying to change this competing image of the province, which was once part of communist Yugoslavia.
As a police officer for United Nations Mission in Kosovo, Clary received many of the same calls he answered for 18 years as a police officer for the Roanoke Police Department: theft, drugs and prostitution.
However, in addition to those traditional calls, Clary also handled more serious incidents, such as riots and numerous church and home bombings.
After two years, Clary left behind his work in Kosovo in early June to return to his family in Rocky Mount.
"I can't be any more glad to be home," said Clary, 50.
However, the work that he did and the friends that he made will stick in his mind forever, Clary said.
Kosovo, a province of Serbia, is not yet an independent country. It lies between Albania and Serbia in Europe and has a population of about 2 million people.
The UNMIK International Police Department was created in 1999 to aid in the rebuilding of Kosovo's democratic police department , which is called the Kosovo Police Service. After years of war and the breakup of Yugoslavia, Kosovo was left with no organized control over crime.
Police officers from 53 countries came to work for the UNMIK police department. Meeting people from different places with varied cultures was the best part of the job, Clary said.
In total, more than 6,000 officers work to train local Albanians and Serbs to be police officers for the KPS. More than 600 of those officers are Americans.
The United Nations has completed a similar mission in Haiti, Clary said.
In the two years Clary was in Kosovo, about 4,000 police officers trained for the Kosovo Police Service. "It was almost lawlessness when I first got there. It's an amazing turnaround," Clary said. "That's an exciting time to be there - for the birth of a nation."
Since its inception, the UNMIK police department has rebuilt Kosovo's prison system, established a court system, created traffic laws, taught the KPS standard police and human rights procedures, and made an overall difference in day-to-day life in Kosovo.
Thirty years of previous law enforcement experience prepared Clary for his work in Kosovo.
Clary left the Roanoke Police Department in 1991 to work as chief of police in Orange, a town north of Charlottesville. Five years later he became chief of police in West Point, near Williamsburg.
After years of being away from Roanoke, the place where he grew up, Clary and his wife, Heather, knew it was time to move back. Clary quit his job in West Point and signed up for the UNMIK police department because it would provide them enough money to move back to the Roanoke area. He said he made nearly three times more than at his previous job. Clary entered the force in 2000, and by 2001 his family was back in the Roanoke Valley.
Starting a new police force in Kosovo was a challenge like he had never faced before, he said. Many people in Kosovo do not speak English, or only speak a few words, so Clary constantly needed a translator. Residents live in villages without addresses, making it difficult to locate complaints. If a call comes in, police officers have to find the village and ask around to find the caller. Also, when the international police started working in Kosovo, there were no records of any kind, including criminal records.
The hardest part of working in Kosovo was being away from his family for long periods of time, Clary said.
The force is a seven-day-a-week job, but participants are encouraged to take a few days of leave every couple of months, Clary said. Clary would often go for three to six months working every day before taking a break or briefly visit ing his wife and four kids in the United S tates.
"It was hard to deal with him being gone," Heather Clary said. However, she said, "he was over there and felt like he was making a difference. Sometimes you just do what you have to do."
Though Heather Clary was supportive, she said she was concerned about her husband's safety. Talking to him on the phone once or twice a week consoled her, she said.
When Clary first joined the force, he, too, was worried about his safety. He said he feared Serbian retaliation on him and fellow Americans. The Serbs he met, however, changed his attitude.
"They don't hate Americans generally," Clary said. "They tend to be friendly."
Clary said he became friends with several Serbs and often went to their houses for dinner.
Though his fear subside as he lived in Kosovo, several events jolted him back to the reality that there's still work to be done.
For example, during an open call for police officers, applicants pushed into the crowd and knocked over anyone in their way. A riot ensued, causing Clary to fear for his life.
"It's scary to say the least," Clary said.
"You're going into a war zone. You're dealing with major, violent crime every day."
Fortunately, Clary said, the U.S. military patrols the area with the UNMIK police department and the KPS.
After a year of service in Kosovo, Clary was put in charge of a KPS branch in a city known as Ferizaj to Albanians and Urosevac to Serbs. There he learned firsthand the problems associated with hiring Albanians and Serbs as new police officers.
One of Clary's jobs was to curb corruption that began to surface when the KPS began. Many of the KPS officers are ex-criminals, and the UNMIK police department has no way to regulate who it hire because the only way to do a background check is to talk to the person's neighbors or friends.
Clary found that some KPS officers were giving sensitive information to people outside the department. Also, many new hires saw no problem in ignoring crimes for personal favors, Clary said.
A few KPS officers were later suspected to be war criminals and were fired.
UNMIK police officers always ride with the KPS officers during calls to keep them accountable, Clary said. UNMIK police officers spend a lot of time teaching the KPS officers how to be objective.
Clary said the Albanians and Serbs are very receptive to training and are open to the democratic ideas the UNMIK police department has established.
"They soak up the training. They can't get enough training," Clary said.
However, there are still problems the UNMIK police department should help the KPS address. Churches and homes are frequently bombed. Construction can be seen on every corner, but garbage litters the streets and water. Wild dogs run throughout cities, attacking other animals. n two years there, Clary found four or five abandoned newborn babies in trash bins and at dumps.
The only way the quality of life in Kosovo will steadily improve is if the UNMIK police department continues to work with the KPS to ensure fair, democratic law enforcement, Clary said.
"This mission will work if we [UNMIK] stay there," Clary said.
"When they leave, things return to the original state. It's very much like a newborn baby. You have to stay there to nurture it."
The "nation" is completely illigitimate--a sham and a big lie designed only for the purpose of islamic expansion by takeover of Christian land.
Any attmepts to build "democratic institutions" and "rule of law" in such a situation is only pasting a thin veneer of civilization on a vast abysss of criminality and savagery. Even the "police" are really criminals, many of whom belong to the same clans as KLA terrorists, and who take orders from the clan leaders, NOT their supposed police superiors. Building these "institutions" only serves to give a false "legitimacy" to this criminal enterprise, and supports its subversive designs on neighboring Balkan lands, and on all of Europe.
The only way to save the situation is to return Kosovo to its true owners, and to START ALL OVER. Kosovo is Serbia!!!!
Here the wide-eyed reporter is savvy enough to avoid any mention of whose churches and homes are being bombed--and who is doing the bombing. This passes as serious journalism in the USA.
A few KPS officers were later suspected to be war criminals and were fired.
Of course, that's what you do with war criminals--unless they are Serbs.
However, the reality was The Serbs he met, however, changed his attitude. "They don't hate Americans generally," Clary said. "They tend to be friendly." Clary said he became friends with several Serbs and often went to their houses for dinner.
meanwhile those KLA-Albanians he describes as a ex-criminals
also note that this is a typical learning curve for outsiders......the longer they stay the more they learn about the situation, the more they learn about the situation the more they realize that the KLA was the problem.......