“It`s an advantage to be a woman in the police system”

Women in the Legal department of the RA Police make 70% of the employees. Deputy head of the department Nelly Manandyan states that in the central apparatus of the Police most women are working in that department. “We have a gender unequality here”, she jokes. Nelly Manandyan studied at the RA Police Academy. She prefers listening to rock music and read fiction. She is not married. You can read the interview with her in the special project “Armenian Policewomen”.

First of all I would like you to speak about your education. Where did you study?

I have studied at the RA police academy in the law department. I did not graduate with distinction, but had high marks in all subjects of the specialization. Unfortunately I had some lower grades as well in non-specialization subjects but it did not impede during the work process. After graduating I have been appointed as an inspector in the legal department. Our work is a little specific, and one of the successes in my work was my education. Many people think that the Police Academy gives only a specialized education, but it educates you in many aspects. I graduated from the academy in 2002.

Do you have interesting and funny memories from the Academy?

There are many. The student life at the Academy was not like the civil student life, as besides the educational process we had other responsibilities. For example we had morning exercises if we were late, and it was a disciplinary violation. Our group was very close to each other, and I remember one day after the classes we organized a party and finished it quite late. During those years 23:00 was considered very late time. Next day we were so tired at the classes, and the first class was a very important one, and the professor was very strict. One of the boys suddenly slept during the class, and the professor got angry. We still remember how he suddenly fell asleep, and it was really funny. I don`t think anybody has slept during the Academy classes, and especially at this quite important class.

Why did you chose this specialization?

Before entering the Police Academy I was thinking of applying to the Medical University, and was studying for that. In the last year of the school I changed my mind after an interesting accident. One day I saw students with uniform, studying at the Academy, talked to them, checked some details. Before I didn`t know there was such an institution, but the idea was interesting to me, that I can take part in crime prevention and elimination processes. Many were surprised, and my parents did not think my character fits with the police work. But I applied. Also, I had a music education.

Music is an inseparable part of my life. I use my free time for playing the piano.

What is the music style you prefer?

Mainly I prefer classical music and rock. They are quite alike. I like the rock music from the 70s-80s. I prefer Scorpions, Metallica, Guns N’Roses, Deep Purple, etc.

I always wondered what are the books that police officers read. Which books changed your life?

I can`t imagine my life without reading as well. I read modern writers, but like those of Andre Morua very much. He is an irreplaceable writer for me. I wouldn`t say I like detective fiction much, and now I mostly read Russian writers.

On 10 June, 2012 you took part in the “Law-enforcement education and learning” international program, and in an exchange program with the US police system. I would like you to mention the difference between Armenian and American police systems and mention what are the lacking points in Armenia that we should borrow from abroad. 

I wouldn`t say that American model is ideal for me, neither ours, and none of the models in any country can be considered as an ideal by another country. every country has its own mentality and specifics. Maybe we are in a transition period, we have some problems, but we also try to teach our police officers that this service is not only a profession, but there is an institute of responsibility, and the police officer should like his/her work. There should be a fire inside you, you should always feel it that you are working for a good cause. In the US police officers always helped people in need, even when it was out of their work hours.

Quite often personal life is left in background by the police officers. Are you married?

The job takes a lot of time, indeed, and creates some difficulties for every woman in terms of time and load. But for me it`s not an obstacle, I think. I am not married, but it is not connected with the police system. This is a phase of life, and every person should chose by himself/herself.

Police is a combination of force and law, and woman is a combination of delicacy and femininity. How do you combine these two seemingly inconsistent norms?

Police is a system connected with force, but there are many women in our system, and in our department 70 % of employees are women. Nevertheless, the majority of employees in the police system are men. In many cases being a woman helps, women are few, and if a woman takes part in the discussions, it is possible that men do not manage to express their opinions, but if a woman wants to say something, everybody keeps silent. That, for me, is an advantage.

What are the two problems that you`d mention in the legal field of police?

We have quite a good legislation, I came to this conclusion after studying and comparing the legislations of other countries, so I can`t really think of problems here.

How would you describe you in 2 words?

Just and kind.

What are your plans for the future? 

We plan to create opportunities for our employees to get trainings in various educational institutions abroad. I give a lot of priority to education.

You can find other interviews of this series here:

“We, Policewomen, try to combine Strictness with Mild Attitude” 

Interview carried out by Gevorg Tosunyan



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