Woman in blue uniform making a difference
25 November 2016
Preserving the crime scene and collecting forensic evidence, even if it’s a fingerprint or a shoe impression, a piece of hair or a fiber, could make a difference whether an alleged criminal walks free or faces trial for committing a crime. Meet Lt.Colonel Florie Hajra, the Director of Forensic Investigations Directorate at Kosovo Police (KP), who ensures the crime scenes and miniscule details that could potentially be important in an investigation are examined and collected properly by the teams she manages.
Lt. Colonel Florie Hajra started her carrier in police force seventeen years ago when she decided to follow her childhood dream. She points out that despite the fact that overall situation in Kosovo prevented her from joining the police academy she applied to join the ranks of the Kosovo Police “as soon as she heard that they are recruiting.”
Floria was born and raised in Mitrovica, where she studied Information Technology, even though her wish to join the police force remained. Her love for the police was further nourished by her father who was also a police officer. “Growing up around a father who passionately loved and respected his work, made me fall in love with it too,” says Florie.
Florie Hajra is a second generation graduate of Kosovo Police Academy. Her seventeen professional years in with the Kosovo Police began with the police patrolling in Mitrovica South Police Station, moving to community policing, operations, continuing on to do investigations and finally becoming a forensic crime scene officer within the Regional Investigation Unit in Mitrovica.
“I stared with police patrols, foot and car patrols. Nothing seemed easy at the time, and it was not easy,” she explains, pointing out that female police officers had to work twice as much to prove themselves, “but I was and still I am very proud to be among those women who have broken the taboos that this profession is strictly male,” explains Lt.Colonel Hajra.
Her stamina, determination and hardworking ethics in achieving her goals were the driving force behind her success of reaching a managerial position within the Kosovo Police, “I started as a Sergeant, continuing as Lieutenant, Captain, Major and now for many years, I am the Lt. Colonel and the Director of Forensic Investigations Directorate in KP.”
The Forensic Investigations Directorate at Kosovo Police is a specialized structure that operates within the Crimes Investigation Division. The tasks of this directorate are: to search, identify, document, collect and examine the evidence of the crimes found on the scene. The Directorate of Forensics also provides technical and scientific services for Kosovo Police, Medical-Forensic Institute, judiciary and other national and international law enforcement organizations.
Floria is passionate about her work in police and at the Forensic Investigations. She considers the crime scene investigators play a critical role in verifying if, how and who committed a crime, “the work of my units is very important in the criminal investigations, we collect small pieces to make a case, it’s like a puzzle, and we find the missing pieces,” she says.
The Directorate that she is heading is very independent. Florie appreciates cooperation and assistance that her unit received from various international organizations such as UNMIK, KFOR, OSCE, ICITAP, EULEX. “I would like to personally thank EULEX for their constant support, whether that is joint investigations, capacity building especially in IT forensics, or donating professionalised equipment for our department. This help has made a great difference for us.”
Lt. Colonel Hajra is also well known for her work as a steering committee member of the Association of Women in the Kosovo Police, AWKP. Her work over the last years has been to promote the empowerment of women working with Kosovo Police. “Women have shown their value, from administrative to operational positions,” she maintains. The AWKP was formed in November 2013 with the goal of strengthening women’s roles in Kosovo Police, “Our target is young women in Kosovo, we have different workshops all over the region, with different communities where we try to reflect and to encourage them to join the police forces and to break prejudicial and stereotypical attitudes, in a role which is typically considered a male dominated career.”
The Lt. Colonel’s involvement with the AWKP has been primarily to empower women in the police and promote gender balance. “Even though Kosovo Police is fully dedicated to gender mainstreaming, the force is made up of less than 15% women, of whom 12% are serving line officers in enforcement functions. As well, only a handful is of a higher rank; nine female officers are above the rank of Major, this shows that we have achieved some results but a lot more needs to be done,” she explains.
Florie Hajra wows to never stop learning. She believes that there is always something new that one can discover and improve in one’s daily work. She is currently studding for her master’s degree in International Law at University of Pristina, and in her free time she enjoys the adrenalin rush from paragliding as a member of Trepça paragliding club in Mitrovica.