From Airman to Policeman: Powai's Top Cop's Unique Journey!

From an airman in the Indian Air Force (IAF) to a Senior Police Inspector (Sr Pi) at Powai police station, Sudhakar Kamble has a life story worth hearing.


From Airman to Policeman: Powai's Top Cop's Unique Journey!

Sudhakar Kamble hails from a small village Sarood in the district of Kolhapur, in a town where education was limited to matriculation. Sudhakar outshined academically and was loved by everyone there. This love by everyone around him was his source of motivation to get good grades. However, things took a drastic turn after high school.

“After my matriculation, I went to Kolhapur and took admission in the science department of Swami Vivekanand College which is situated on the banks of Panchganga river. However, things got difficult for me because all my life I had studied subjects which were not in the English language, and this sudden transition to everything in English was very hard for me. I tried to cope up with language but yet it was quite difficult,” narrated Sr. PI Kamble.

On Joining the IAF

Prior to joining the IAF, Kamble’s knowledge of the Indian Armed Forces was restricted to Indian Army.  Kamble recounted, “During my college, my uncle pitched the idea of joining the IAF to me, I wasn’t really aware of that branch of India’s Defence Services, it was he who discussed this idea with me.”

He continued, “One day in February 1979, I was in the library reading the Indian Express and an article about the recruitment in the IAF caught my eye. I applied for the exam, and sent a handwritten application to the recruitment center in Mumbai. However I didn’t expect to hear back from them, and was doubtful whether I would even be able to crack the exam.”

On his Selection Process

Being doubtful whether he’ll hear back from the recruitment center and whether or not he would be able to crack the written examination. Kamble was elated to get a letter from them. “After about 15 days, since I had sent my handwritten application, I heard back from the recruitment center, and got a letter informing me about the written examination. I was required to attend Cotton Green in Mumbai. Luckily, this examination required knowledge up to 10th grade only, and I was good with academics in school as I had mentioned.

They also asked me to exercise and build my body as well, however since I couldn’t afford a gym or proper supplements, I let them know the same, following which they advised me to  do bodyweight exercises along with following an affordable healthy diet. I started with my preparation, and in one month I began to see results which motivated me to push myself more to workout.”

“I then arrived in Mumbai with my maternal uncle for the examination which was held from 13th of march. There were 2,000 candidates for the recruitment for a vacancy for 30 posts, and the exam was for five days, and only if you’ve cracked every examination will you be allowed to sit for the next one. I cracked all my examinations as well as my interview and medical examinations. I was selected and was asked to join from 25th May in Mumbai, where I was given my training certificate, and my train ticket for Bangalore as my training would start there along with an allowance of 150 Rs which was a great deal at that time.” narrated Kamble.

Training and his Career as an Airman

With an allowance of 150 Rs Kamble reached Bangalore for his training which was for a duration of 15 months. “While joining the air force the thought in my mind which helped me a lot was how I am not alone in the air force, there were thousands of people working in the air force, and if they can serve their nation, I shouldn’t be hesitant either. I completed my training in Bangalore and then I was transferred to Kalaikunda near Kharagpur in West Bengal from Kalaikunda to Jaffarpur in Calcutta.

Station bakery bidding Stn Cdr SSS Chauhan farewell 

From there I came back to Bangalore in 1983 where I did my year long conversion course. Following which I was then transferred to Chabua in Assam. I was serving in Chabua till 1987, after which I was transferred to Belgaum i.e. to the administrative training institute I was there till five years. In 1992 I transferred to Ambala where I served for two years and then in 1995, I retired from the IAF at the age of 32 with a pension.”

Retirement at 32 and Joining the Police Force

Post retirement most people usually go to start their own businesses or spend more time with their loved ones, however, Kamble had other plans. “I retired at the age of 32 with a pension, however according to my belief system, that age was not meant for sitting at home, so initially after my retirement, for two years I worked at a company at Kolhapur. During that time, I sent an application for recruitment as a Police Sub Inspector (PSI), I got a call back for the examinations, and I cracked all the required examinations as well as the interview, and got through.

I was doubtful initially, but the thing that motivated me was my own thought process, I  asked myself if other people are going for it, what’s stopping me?” elaborated Kamble when asked what motivated him to join the police force. In December 1996, Kamble then went to Maharashtra Police Academy (MPA) in Nashik and started with his training and after a year of the rigorous training he was transferred as a PSI at Azad Maidan Police station.” I went through a lot of transfers before being transferred to Powai Police station in February 2020.” Kamble believes that working in the defence services and in the police force is quite different, they are different worlds.

He does believe however that his years in the IAF acted as a foundation for his career in the police force. “If we compare defence and police, they are quite different from each other, when it comes to defence, we never really come in contact with the citizens but as a police official, it’s the citizens who we are constantly serving so there are difficult situations, however as a police official it’s our responsibility to take up the local people in confidence and ensure them that we will work according to the law, only then will the people cooperate us.”

Lessons Learned in the IAF

According to Kamble, his years in the IAF truly shaped him in the best way possible, here’s what he has to say about the qualities and the lessons he learned during that time, “The IAF is the fastest branch of the defence system with top-level planes and top-level brains, I learned everything in the air force. In the air force, everything from big grounds to big libraries was provided to us, and I made sure that I took advantage of each and everything available. The main quality I learned from there was the importance of discipline and punctuality. I learned the importance of having a good work ethic being up to date and working efficiently.

Kamble with fellow airmen at Sombra, Belgaum 

According to me, the most passionate people in India are the ones working in defence and serving their nation while being away from their families. I am grateful for the things I’ve experienced and learned during my years as an air warrior, they’ve helped me create who I am today and blessed me with the best of opportunities, it really gave me a platform for my enthusiastic patriotism. All the qualities that I’ve learned during my years in the IAF helped me in building my career in the police force.”

Most Challenging Case

Kamble has worked in the Police force since 1996, in his 24-year long career he has come across a lot of cases. “There have been many cases which we cracked, but there was this one recent case I came across quite recently when I joined Powai police station. While going through the old records, I found a case of a young girl Dipali Yadav, a 13-year-old who was missing since July and we started working on it immediately, till march there was not even a trace of her. With the guidance of our superiors, we started the investigation in this case.

We cracked the case and found out the two guys who murdered her and threw her remains in the sea and brought justice to the young girl and her family. Another case that crosses my mind was when I worked at Dongri police station, the drug selling business was on a high rise, and we had caught around 14 drug sellers and traders who were from Nigeria.” said Kamble when asked about his most memorable cases Kamble has been working in the police force for 24 years now, however, he has never allowed fear to dictate or affect his work.

He has been representing Mumbai police and never let anything come in the way of him and his vision of changing and removing the dirt from the society. “We can never live with fear, it was my job to deal with such cases, and if fear sets in then it would’ve been impossible to solve these cases” Whenever I am doing a good job, my superior and my colleagues have always supported me.

Pressures of the Job

Kamble believes maintaining composure is an important factor to be kept in mind for a police officer while working. “There wasn’t a lot of job pressure during my years in the IAF as the work hours were flexible, but in the police force there is a lot of job pressure due to the number of cases that come to us and every citizen every complainant is expecting a result from us and we don’t get a lot of time to solve their cases so we always have to be quick on our feet and give the best possible results to the public. I used to cope up by doing morning meditation and exercises.”

Pieces of Advice

Kamble as Sr Pi Powai Police Station

Kamble has a few words of wisdom for the youngsters joining the police force. “People coming to the police with their complaints hail from different backgrounds when it comes to poor or uneducated people, the police are their only source to justice. The police officer has to help them with their needs, the police officer has to help and assist every complainant to the best of their abilities and ensure that they are satisfied. It is important to listen to the complainants when they come to us because the news lies in the question itself”

“An officer has a lot of complainants coming to them, and sometimes it becomes impossible to attend all of them, it’s then the officer’s decision to choose which case to get started with first. This leads to miscommunication and misunderstanding between the citizens and the officials. The official must maintain composure even during such pressure and one way we deal with it is meditation, yoga, and exercising. It is unethical to use violence and verbal abuse, they should always be passionate about their work and resorting to violence and verbal abuse is not the way.”

Your work must be a passion driver, devotion is not enough.” On how passion is one of the main factors that helps in assuring work efficiency Kamble believes for the police to work efficiently, cooperation between the police officials and its citizens is very important and for that, it is also necessary for the citizens to be aware and take precautions.

“I advise citizens to work under the framework of the law and always take precautions when needed. When it comes to using the online medium for important things, the citizens should always be aware and alert of the method and website they’re accessing to avoid any fraud and if they are not confident, they should avoid using such methods in the first place. And whenever in need the police are always ready to assist and help you.”

When the world witnessed the wrath of the pandemic, the police officials got to duty and tried their best in assisting the citizens and avoiding the spread of the virus, here’s what Kamble did along with his team.

“During this pandemic, the citizens helped other citizens and police officials as well. After a meeting with my colleagues, we came to a decision where we set some rules along with the government required laws to follow, to ensure more discipline among the citizens and to avoid the spread of the virus, to protect the well-being of the people. The public appreciated us a lot and was very happy with our work during the lockdown when we helped 14,000 migrants reach their home state. We made sure that the citizens followed our rules and were safe and maintained social distance.”

Kamble is nearing his retirement from the police force now and when asked what he’ll be missing the most of his wonderful service period he said “I will certainly miss government service, I will miss my colleagues, I have a very high attachment with people and the way that they believed in me always motivated me to strive to do more. I will miss this belief as well, and the love and affection I get as a police officer. I used to motivate my colleagues and guide them to the best of my abilities.

Kamble is currently studying about the field which he will be entering after his retirement, and becoming educated on the subject, he says it’s a surprise and he will reveal it to us soon.

(Views expressed are the authors own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Mission Victory India)

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