IPS – R. Chethan

R. Chethan, an IPS Officer of the Karnataka cadre from the 2010 batch, has garnered widespread recognition for his unwavering integrity, diligence, and effectiveness in his duties. His professional journey has been marked by diverse experiences, having served as Superintendent of Police in districts such as Chikmagalur, Ballari, Davangere, and Mysuru. Additionally, he has held the position of Superintendent of Police for the Coastal Security Police and Superintendent of Police for Anti- Naxal Force, Karnataka. Presently, he is assigned the role of Police Commissioner for Gulbarga City. Café Social recently had the privilege of engaging in a dialogue with him, delving into his personal narrative of success, his proficiency in maintaining a harmonious equilibrium between his professional commitments and family life, and his notable accomplishments in the realm of law enforcement over the past 14 years. Mr. Chethan is married to Ananya and is a proud parent to two children. 

You come from a rural background, a small village in Tiptur taluka of Karnataka.Tell us about your childhood time. 
Childhood was very comfortable because of my parents who loved and cared a lot about my wellbeing. They gave much importance to value-based education. My father, a post-graduate himself, always insisted on getting a good education for me. And my mother was very watchful of my childhood and she was a guiding factor. She used to place equal importance on our education and extracurricular activities 

What inspired you to choose the career path of civil services through UPSC? During my primary and high school, I made it a habit to read newspapers regularly. Through this course, I began to recognize the pivotal roles played by DCs and SPs in fostering societal development and addressing issues such as poverty alleviation. So, very early in my life, I felt civil service was one of the best options to serve society. This, in turn, inspired me very much and I found the company of a cousin who was also preparing for UPSC, through whom I got acquainted with KPSC and UPSC.

Do elaborate for our readers your training experiences in Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), Hyderabad.
I am more of an outdoor guy and I used to be part of all types of sports in school days. So, naturally, when it came to the SVPNPA, there were a lot of outdoor activities like running, cycling, swimming, etc which I thoroughly enjoyed in my training and it was enriching too. I also learnt a lot on administration, policing and had the support of very good faculty members who imparted knowledge and expertise in various aspects of law enforcement. Additionally, the camaraderie shared with my fellow batch mates further enhanced the overall experience.

Policing is a very demanding and physically tiring job, especially for lower-level staff.
How do you ensure that your constables stay motivated?
Constables are the backbone of any police system, worldwide. As senior officers, we must establish meaningful connections with them. Whenever I visit a police station, I prioritize engaging with the officers to address their concerns regarding lifestyle, health, and other grievances. Additionally, I make it a point to identify constables whose children are in 10th and 12th board exams and interact with both the students and their parents, emphasizing the importance of these exams as they are the stepping stones for their careers. These gestures, seem small but have proven to build a strong connection with the constables and keep them motivated in their duties.

Tell us some of your special initiatives in your 14-year-long career in IPS.
We implemented the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), wherein selling to children below 18 years, smoking in public places, etc is prohibited. This is a big social issue and implementing the act seriously would have many health benefits to society at large. Hence, we worked with the right earnestness and efforts to implement it in Chikmagalur district and Ballari district. Recognizing our efforts, we got awards in both districts for COTPA compliance. Another initiative that I took up in Ballari called – Abhaya for Senior Citizens, wherein we identified senior citizens staying alone and ensured that the Beat constables visited them regularly. This gave them a sense of security and safety and was very well appreciated. Further, in Gulbarga, we started the Suraksha forum, where one could get the details of all the persons who are staying in rented houses. We used it to track people in case they moved into the district after committing crimes in other places.

You have achieved so many milestones in your career. How have you kept your worklife balance?
It’s one of the challenging aspects. As a policeman, working hours are not defined and hence we do not get a good amount of time to spend with family. So, whenever I get time from my day-to-day work I spend quality time with my family. I try to take them out whenever I am free, for short trips nearby. I focus on spending quality time since we do not have the option of quantity!

How do you unwind after a long day’s work? Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
I regularly play tennis every morning and is one of my hobbies for the last 10 years. In between I also play golf whenever time permits. Kannada literature fascinates me and the rest of the time I unwind with my family.

Do you have any words of advice for young UPSC aspirants?
If one has the mindset of serving the needy, taking up challenges, and a problem-solving attitude – then UPSC is a very good option to pursue. Opportunities abound in the Civil Service to help the needy and also earn the satisfaction of having done our bit for society. UPSC is a great career option provided you are willing to put your hard work and perseverance.

By Poojitha Nakul

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