What crosses your mind when you spot a police officer? Fear, I guess. Most Kenyans fear the law enforcers, thanks to tales of unwarranted police arrests and brutality. The fear is almost palpable when, for instance while walking or driving, one sees an officer.
One would rather change route than have a brush with the cops.
This negative perception of police officers has been demystified by a female Administration Police officer at Busia border town.
Captain Doris Wako is a rare breed of a police officer. For the last two years, she has been feeding and clothing street children at the border town. The children— over 50 boys and three girls — call her mother to the amusement of residents.
Her big heart has even attracted the attention of donors from the United States after video of her feeding the hungry street children went viral.
Speaking to the People Daily, Wako said she began interacting with street children from Uganda and Kenya in 2016 after she noticed the challenges they were going through. “Most of them were very young, dirty, hungry, tired and were often arrested by my fellow officers for loitering. Some were even accused of stealing and others crimes,” she says.
“One day, I tried to approach a group that used to sleep at the bus station but they ran away when they saw me because they thought that I wanted to arrest them.
“It took them time to warm up to me because they thought that I wanted to arrest them,” revealed Wako. She says it was when she started buying them food daily that they became good friends after realising that she was there for them. The officer says she spends more than Sh3,000 every month to feed the children. Her immediate boss Sergeant Joyce Nasambu has been helping her to carry out the noble mission.
“Sergeant Nasambu has been very kind and generous because apart from giving me money, she has also been monitoring how the children are fairing particularly on their behaviour.
“I am happy some children have stopped stealing and other bad behaviour because of the advice which I usually give them,” she says adding that many people view street children as outcasts. Wako appeals to residents to love the street children as their own because some of them are not in the streets by choice,” says she: “Most street children here are from Uganda but I serve them equally without discrimination because they are all human beings.”
Wako notes: “The children just call me mother because we always meet everyday after work. There are only three girls and the rest are boys,” she discloses.
The donors, Charlie and Ray said that they were impressed by Wako’s work. Through Harvest of Hope Africa organisation, they want to build a rescue centre for street children. Matayos sub-county Deputy County Commissioner Elijah Nyachae commended the officer and urged her colleagues to emulate her to improve the image of police officers.