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The Chief bids farewell to Roman after 44 years' service
“Leicestershire Police has given me everything” - those are the parting words of one of the force’s longest serving employees after more than 44 years.
Roman Nykolyszyn spent 27 years as an officer and another 17 years as a staff member before saying a final farewell to the force that has given him a sense of belonging and pride.
“I owe so much to Leicestershire Police. Not only a regular salary which allowed me to own a home, feed and support my family but just as importantly it gave a warmth to my life and that feeling of being part of a common purpose – for that I am most thankful,” said Roman.
But back when Roman first considered a career in policing it wasn’t a job he had a particular passion for.
After leaving a successful career in the Merchant Navy, a fresh faced 23-year-old Roman was persuaded to join the force in 1976 by his soon to be brother-in-law who was a sergeant at the time.
“Policing wasn’t a calling for me like it is for some. After meeting the woman who later became my wife I decided to leave the career I enjoyed for love and needed a job. It was out of necessity I applied but it was the best decision I ever made,” added Roman.
Roman with his wife shortly after joining the force in 1976
New to the role his first posting was at the former Charles Street police station where he spent the first 12 years of his career. It was during this time that Roman recalls two of the memories that stick out to him most during his days in uniform.
The first being around three years into the job when he spent eight weeks hold up in a disused factory with the drugs squad gathering information on the city’s drug dealers. He recalls how satisfying it was to see around 30 of them arrested all because of the intelligence they had gathered in those weeks before.
The second was during a normal Friday or Saturday night patrolling the city centre when a drunken man confronted Roman to tell him his not so pleasant opinion of the police. As he staggered down the road the man decided to kick the glass of a shop front window but as he did he lost his balance and fell head first into the glass.
Roman immediately ran to the man’s aid and was confronted with a pretty gruesome scene. The man had severely cut his neck and was bleeding quite heavily. While waiting for the ambulance Roman attempted to stem the bleeding and it is thanks to his swift action the man’s life was saved.
What stands out most for Roman was that after the man had made a full recovery he actually wrote to Roman not only to thank him but to apologise for what he had said.
His third stand out memory came many years later in the early 1990s when he was a regional course instructor for newly promoted sergeants. Although he didn’t know the significance at the time it was here that he first met and taught Sgt Simon Cole from West Midlands Police, the same officer who nearly two decades later would become Chief Constable of Leicestershire.
“I often joke with the Chief that he wouldn’t be where he is now if it wasn’t for me!” added Roman.
Roman (bottom row, second from left) and Sgt Simon Cole (back row, far right)
After spending the next 10 years or so in various roles across the force, including two stints as the inspector in charge of HR (before the role became civilianised in 2000), Roman decided in 2003 at the age of 50 the time was right to hang up his uniform.
But he wasn’t quite ready to put his feet up just yet and took on a staff role in the HR department at police headquarters – where he remained until his final shift for the force last week.
“People often see officers and staff as very separate but having worked on both sides I can certainly say, that although most staff are not on the frontline doing the do, everyone who works in policing are working for the same purpose – to help and protect the community. Many staff work hard behind the scene to ensure the officers and those staff who are the face of the force can be out delivering the fantastic service they do – both sides are so vitally important,” said Roman.
Alongside his countless career successes policing has also given Roman the opportunity to achieve some pretty impressive personal successes too.
After his brother passed away Roman decided to become part of a police running team who were training to run the 1996 London Marathon to raise money for Macmillan.
After raising an incredible £25,000 as a team but being slightly disappointed by his time, Roman had caught the running bug and decided to sign up to run the Berlin Marathon – the city his mum was born and raised.
After shaving an impressive hour off his finish time, Roman also found himself on German TV as one of only three people who ran the 26.2 miles in fancy dress. Naturally Roman’s outfit of choice was a police uniform.
During the next 10 years Roman went on to run another 18 marathons, raising thousands of pounds for charity – each time dressed in officer attire.
Roman in his regular running attire
When injury forced him to give up his love for running, Roman found another sporting passion, golf - something he is very much looking forward to dedicating more time too now he has retired.
But even after four decades of service his drive to help and serve others hasn’t gone away and he now plans to volunteer his time at one of Leicester’s hospitals.