Sotkamo’s first female police officer - Police
Ensimmäinen naispoliisi Sotkamossa -Taimi Komulainen uratarina
Sotkamo's first female police officer
Senior Constable Taimi Komulainen
Oulu Police Department, Uniformed Police Unit, Sotkamo Police Station
When I was little, I wanted to be a nursery teacher. I often spent school summer holidays working at the local nursery and earned pocket money by babysitting for our neighbours. The fact that I did not become a nursery teacher was due to chance and fate. I am the second-born and the oldest daughter of a family with six children. Our parents had a farm, where I was often put to work. I learned everything from milking cows to making hay. However, I was not interested in becoming a farmhand.
My aunt was working as a police officer in Estonia, and I decided to follow her example. I got a job as a secretary at the local police station. I later applied for police officer training and joined the local militsiya. I moved to Finland in 1990. After eight years as a stay-at-home mum, I got bored and started looking for a job. I contacted Kuhmo police station and other government offices to see if they needed a Russian interpreter. It was not long before I got a chance to help the police track the journey of a stolen luxury car from Germany to Russia through Finland. I am familiar with Russian culture and mentality, and it was easy for me to build trust with both the police and the suspects. I felt like I was back doing my old job, and I began to realise that I could be more useful as a police officer than, for example, working in a shop. I continued to interpret for the police while I mulled things over. The age limit for police cadets at the time was 25 years. I was running out of time. Thankfully, the maximum age limit was abolished, and I got into the police academy on my second try at the age of 36. It was the best school I ever attended!
After my graduation in 2003, I was offered jobs with both the National Bureau of Investigation and the Finnish Security Intelligence Service. That would have meant leaving Kainuu or heavy commuting. We had only just built a house a couple of years previously, and our children were at an age where I felt it best to build my career with the police from the ground up and join the ranks of the uniformed police in my home town. I have not regretted my decision. The natural environment and opportunities for exercising in Kainuu are of a completely different class compared to the south. Being based in a small town means that our team is tight and morale is high. I have been with the uniformed police almost my entire career. In 2008, I relocated to Kajaani for a year to help the detectives there to investigate foreign nationals.
For police officers, it is normal for every day to be different and unpredictable. We never know what will happen during a shift. Here in the backwoods of Kainuu, distances are long, and the proximity of the Russian border also brings its challenges. Our tasks range from traffic enforcement to illegal bear hunting and from shoplifting to human trafficking. We try to be a “one-stop shop” and take care of less serious crime and simple investigations ourselves; more complex cases are referred to detective teams. I myself have a few special duties: I provide telephone interpreting in Estonian and Russian for my team in urgent cases and also help our other colleagues across Oulu Police Department if they cannot find a professional interpreter. I am also a member of the Sotkamo Crisis Group and one of Finland’s two representatives on the Board of the Nordic-Baltic Network of Policewomen (NBNP).
According to a report published in 2003 (“Police Pioneers”), I was Finland’s first non-native female police officer and the first member of the Finnish police force to have served in the militsiya of the former Soviet Union. I was also the first female police officer in Sotkamo.
What I especially like about police work is the variety and interactions with people. The best thing about being a uniformed officer is getting feedback straight from members of the public. I feel privileged to be able to work in Finland’s best police district.