Bitter-sweet farewell to colonel

After almost 40 years in the police force and 17 years in Fish Hoek, Nico Franken, formerly Lieutenant Colonel Franken, station commander of Fish Hoek SAPS, has retired. He is pictured with his family at a farewell function at Clovelly Country Club. Pictured with Mr Franken, far right, are, from left, daughter Melanie, his son-in-law Curtis Sander and his wife Lizelle, and Mr Frankens wife Kathleen.

People were doing their best, but saying “Nico” instead of “Colonel” didn’t come easily to guests at the farewell to the Fish Hoek station commander on Friday July 30.

Mr Franken ended his 17 years at Fish Hoek SAPS and almost 40 years in the police force at a convivial event looking out over the golfing greens and mountains beyond at an event at the Clovelly Country Club with his almost-former colleagues and members of the community.

Looking completely different out of his uniform, like a relaxed family man surrounded by his family – his wife Kathleen is a retired SAPS colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel – oops, Mr – Franken, a man of few words, thanked everyone for their support.

Mr Franken first joined the police in 1977 in Lutzville and came to Fish Hoek in April 1999 where he became station commander.

Colonel Martin Swanepoel, head of visible policing for the Wynberg cluster – under which Fish Hoek falls – said that Mr Franken had been at Fish Hoek so long that “if I look at the supply chain management, he should be on the inventory.

“It is a bitter-sweet ocassion,” he continued. “We feel a sense of loss but we wish him well in his new adventure, as they say, as a man of leisure.”

In his speech at the function, former community police forum chairperson Tony Bullock said that he always knew when the best time had been for the then Lieutenant-Colonel Franken – between 6am and 6.30am. He said “the colonel” may have been having his first cup of coffee but he would always welcome him into his office.

Two of the primary bits of advice Mr Bullock had for Mr Franken in his retirement were: “Always tell everyone you are busy … then go fishing,” and “Love your wife – but don’t get in her way. Then way she won’t get in your way when the fish are biting.”

Mr Franken – a far south resident, whose children went to local schools and is keen fisherman – is most likely to be seen in the fu- ture with his fishing rod… and a leisurely smile.