By MICHELLE AUAMOROMORO
WHEN Sergeant Frank Lausi Aroma was asked why he chose to become a prison officer, he smiled and pointed to what he was wearing: “The uniform.”
Aroma, 54, from Uritai village in Malalaua, Gulf joined the Correctional Service Department on March 5, 1985 after completing Grade 10 at the Malaulaua High School.
He loves the uniform and the red beret that goes with it. He wears it with pride and feels privileged to be serving the prison service since he entered Bomana Prison 35 years ago.
Sergeant Frank is the second eldest in the family of nine from Uritai village. He is now married with five children.
After he passed the initial training and was accepted as a warder, he was posted to the Beon Prison in Madang in 1986. Later he was brought back to the head office at Bomana.
In 1989, he was transferred to Baisu Prison in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, where he served for seven years. He was posted back to Bomana in 1996 and has been serving there since.
“ They must join not because of the money or the pension privileges. They must maintain the standard of discipline. I’ve been doing it since 1985 and I am still maintaining it today. They call me a role model.”
Part of his work involves escorting prisoners to court for their cases and back to Bomana. Some days, he escorts them to religious activities outside prison.
He was also privileged to be part of the security taskforce during the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November, 2018. Frank was promoted to the rank of sergeant that same year.
Today he looks after the procurement of uniforms for prison warders and inmates around the country.
He has often received accolades from his superiors including current CS Commissioner Stephen Pokanis for his commitment to his duty and loyalty to the uniform he proudly wears.
His colleagues look up to him as a role model as he always dresses smartly and neatly every day.
Looking back on his life of service, Frank is satisfied with how he had conducted himself all along and performing his duty to the best of his ability.
One thing he had noticed over the years though is the declining standard of discipline in the disciplined force.
He has been noticing young people being recruited today who lack discipline and showing no pride in the uniform he loves so much.
“When I joined, discipline was very high. But now it’s not happening.”
He hopes that will be addressed by the CS bosses.
He advises young people wanting to join the CS to understand how important discipline is in the prison service.
“They must join not because of the money or the pension privileges. They must maintain the standard of discipline.
“I’ve been doing it since 1985 and I am still maintaining it today. That’s why they call me a role model.”
Of course at his age, he knows he will soon have to take off for good that uniform he respects, and to enjoy his retirement.
“I’ve had enough of working so I need to retire and go back home.”
He knows he will do so with a happy heart because he has lived his dream.