A young lad who grew up in Aberdeen many years ago is now one of the top operational managers in the South African Police Service.
Sam Kilian was born in PE, but moved to Aberdeen with his sister and parents Stanley and Susie when he was a small boy. He started his schooling career at Aberdeen Primary School, and then moved to Volkskool in Graaff-Reinet, where he matriculated in 1980.
Many old Aberdonians will remember Sam’s parents. Stanley, who passed away in 2003, worked in the Aberdeen Hotel, and also wrote for the Aberdeen Pos newspaper. Susie worked for 36 years at the Aberdeen Bottle Store for 36 years and was always ready with a cheerful smile for customers. In 2006 Susie moved to Benoni, to a purpose-built cottage at the home of Sam and his wife.
After school Sam joined the South African Railway Police in 1981, where he first trained at Esselen Park in Kempton Park for six months before being posted to what was then Jan Smuts International Airport. He rose to the rank of warrant officer with the Railways Police, working with the mobile units on trains. When the Railway Police amalgamated with the South African Police in October 1986, he continued to work on the East Rand, achieving the rank of Lieutenant in 1987.
Police service is in the Kilian family: Sam is one of five cousins who joined the service, following in the footsteps of his uncle Andries Horak, who retired as a Lieutenant General and who also comes from Aberdeen.
Sam has been in the service now for 38 years and has spent his career in the East Rand near Johannesburg. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier on 1 December 2015 and is currently the Provincial Commander for Gauteng Police Emergency Services. He has several units under his command, including the Flying Squad, K9, Mounted, Accident, 10111, Negotiators, Water Wing and Divers. He is also a trained hostage negotiator.
In 2018 he was awarded the best operational manager for level 13 and 14 managers in Gauteng, and following on from this, he was also nominated for the National Excellence awards, at an event which was held in Mpumalanga in January 2019.
Here he was awarded the first Runner up in the category Best Operational Manager level 13 to 14.