In Memoriam

In deep mourning we take leave of our colleague, comrade and friend Bernd Pokojewski, who died on October 8, 2020. “Poko” was one of the first members with PiD, as 2. chairman, media speaker and adviser actively and has played a decisive role in the successful development of our association. His concern, “Officer Survival” he has addressed in countless articles, lectures and trainings in order to support colleagues “at the front” in the best possible way.

He will be missed in our ranks as an extraordinary person, committed colleague and good friend.
We will continue Poko’s work – according to his principle: “Never Ever Give up!”

For the board of the Polizeitrainer in Deutschland e. V.

Eckhard Niebergall
1. Chairman

Bernd was what you don’t find anymore today: A thoroughly good-hearted soul who tackled problems where he found them and also took responsibility for them in order to put things right that were not in order. Objective and fair was his motto at a time when fairness and objectivity are not infrequently sacrificed to speed. In this way, he should remain a role model for us for an open and above all objective discussion, always talking to the police about the police and understanding each other.
I will sincerely miss his positive outlook on life and his commitment not only to the police and special forces, but to our entire society.

With Bernd Pokojewski, we have lost a police officer, specialist journalist and international networker who strengthened, transported and promoted the reputation and standing of PiD. His commitment has set highly remarkable standards. His comradely nature, his friendly interaction with everyone and his willingness to make his knowledge and extensive experience available in dialogue always made a deep impression. We mourn the loss of a police officer and gentleman who set a great example in attitude and devotion to duty. His work helped shape and mold PiD. Respect and high appreciation for a man who never gave up and put himself in the service of a good cause!

„Poko”; a rare mix of intelligence, common sense, professionalism, impeccable manners and above all, a great sense of humour (… even British humour!)
For the times we spent together, the kindness you always showed me, advice you humbly offered, the support you freely gave, the ‘historical’ teachings you passionately presented and most of all .. for the laughter I was privileged to share with you .. “thank you” .. (The ‘True history of the Kreig’ & ‘three airports of Nuremburg’ mystery tour’, shall forever remain one of the funniest and most entertaining four hours of my entire life!)
To me, you shall always be ‘one of the good guys. Until we meet again my Deutsche buddy

Timbo (aka ‘Tommy the Brrrrritish fool!)

I always looked forward to time with Poko. He was incredibly patient with my poor understanding of the German language and was always willing to entertain my stupid questions. On a drive from Nuremberg to Wiesbaden we talked for almost an hour about random English words. The word, “Actually” was very amusing to him…  He was laughing at me while I explained it and said, this is why it’s nice to have an American around all the time.  I asked him to translate the phrase, token American and from that point on he called me Beute-Ami. He was a hero and a legend – but more than that he was a good friend.

I met Poko on my very first visit to Germany a number of years ago, and for whatever reason we just hit it off and became great friends.  As it turns out, both of us had a love for music and we ended up playing a lot of “musical trivia.”  I told Poko about “Beach Music,” but had to explain that on the east coast of the United States, beach music was not the same as the “Beach Boys” and the California sound.  The following year, knowing that I was going back to Germany to attend the PiD Conference and help with a training class in Wiesbaden, I went to visit a friend of mine that owns a local band and has a recording studio.  I told him about Poko and his love for music so my friend fixed me up with about six or eight CD;s of “Carolina Beach Music” of which I gave to Poko on my return.  Poko replied in kind my making me a CD of some of his favorite tunes.  Even on my last trip when Poko was not at the PiD Conference, he always came to Wiesbaden to have dinner with us.  Poko was a friend and he will be missed.  A friend once gave me a quote that I have never forgotten…….”to live in the hearts of those you leave behind is not to die.”   Poko is still here with us in spirit, in his music, and in the good he did for law enforcement throughout Europe.  God Bless you Poko.

I met Poko in 1995 at a special presentation in Frankfurt Germany arranged by Ecko while Poko was the commander of the SEK. He was one of the driving forces behind Polizeitrainer of Deutschland (PiD), the German Police Instructor Association. He had an amazing career in the Hessen State Police. An extremely knowledgeable and humble man – he will be deeply missed.

I will Never Forget POKO and What he Means to Me……

I have many memories of spending time with Poko and discussing his love of music, the “good old songs”.  No matter the conversation Poko always listened to others, offered great insight and eventually brought a joke and smile to everyone.  He truly was a sheepdog who protected the flock from the wolves.  I will miss my friend but will never forget his kindness and generosity.
Poko, “I got your Six!”

To me, Poko was amusing and full of humor, especially when he tried to answer my endless questions. In fact, he had apple of knowledge and experience to share. Talking to him was just like talking to a good friend as well as a teacher.
I had read a book called “Long Live”;it said “We will meet each other at the heaven one day, but if we can pass our knowledge and experience to other generations, we are “Long Live”. It was a great opportunity to meet and work and Poko, I treasured what I learnt from him and at the same show great respect to a very good friend

Debriefing of the PiD Conference with close friends from all over the world.
Bill Strang, Ecko Niebergall, John Meyer, Steve Johnson, “Poko”, Paul Wassill, Tim O’Neill and Albert Lee. (Picture taken by Gary Monreal)
Countries represented USA, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom and Hong Kong

It is a great lose to our profession of trainers dedicated to Officer Survival.
I offer up my thoughts and prayers to his family and our brother trainers in Germany

Poko and I shared a love for North American / British music of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.
At the 2016 Pid Conference, Poko gave me music CD – the “Oldies but Goldies” – a compilation of some of his favourite songs.
I still play the CD to this day.
He will be missed.

Farewell to Poko

On our way through life we meet many people. Some encounters are very short and remain only dimly in our memory, others last longer, but then we part ways again and go in different directions. I would like to tell you something about the common path I walked with Poko.
To say it up front, when our paths crossed in the mid-90s, it wasn’t what you call “love at first sight.” At that time, I was also responsible for the training of bodyguards as a shooting instructor at the Frankfurt Police Headquarters, and Poko had taken over the leadership of this group after his time with the SEK. His legitimate concern was to raise the performance level of the officers. This then took the form of him actively interfering in my training by yelling at his men while they were shooting in order to put them under stress. I am sure that some of those who knew him at that time have a vivid picture of this in their minds. In a subsequent one-on-one conversation, I asked him -as respectfully as possible- to refrain from doing that in the future.
His reaction: he raised his eyebrow, took a deep breath and said, “O.k. Ecko – if that’s the way you want it, let’s do it that way.” After that, I expected that he would complain about me to my boss and that I would get a good scolding. But – nothing happened.
Poko took part in the shooting himself and asked me to implement one or two of his ideas – which I was happy to do. Our meeting could have ended in enmity, but due to his prudent behavior it was the beginning of a collegial cooperation, which became better and better with time.

When we founded the Police Trainers Association in Germany in 1997, Poko was one of the first to join our ranks. He was never interested in playing a leadership role. For him, the only thing that ever mattered was our common cause, and that was: to protect the lives and health of those who protect others – the protectors on the street.

When we organized seminars together, he was the first one in the morning and the last one in the evening, and he was fully involved all day long. If something went wrong, he gave a clear speech. I can well remember an evening before the police trainers’ conference in Nuremberg. We had to set the barriers for the practical training of the following day and something was not executed the way he wanted it. Because of this, he put several colleagues in an extreme spot and the mood was at rock bottom. After we arrived at the hotel, he asked me to call the whole team together. When everyone was gathered, he formally apologized and invited us to the bar for a drink. If you wanted to know what kind of guy Poko was, this is a good example. Even though he could be tough as nails about things, it was never meant to be personal or hurtful.

A few days ago I received the following message from Lars, a journalist we used to deal with from time to time:

I got to know and appreciate Bernd 20 years ago. At that time, I was a reservist in the German Armed Forces and involved in preparations for foreign missions. And while practically all doors were closed in the service and young soldiers were left to their own devices, it was Bernd who took care and made the effort to pass on knowledge and experience; informally and selflessly, without making any demands or demands, simply for the sake of it.
Much of what Bernd opened up is taken for granted by the Bundeswehr today, but his help was not.
And yet it was always natural for him to step in and help where his help was needed. Even when I later became a journalist, there was always an open ear with Bernd, who patiently and comprehensively explained and pointed out for my colleagues and me where this was required, edited professionally and openly addressed errors where he found them. The police bashing that is widespread today was just as repugnant to Bernd as bullying, which he repeatedly addressed and understood in long background discussions as the cause not only of homicides but also of political discussions and thus offered important impulses; at the editorial offices of ZDF, Spiegel and the Tagesspiegel he was appreciated for speaking so freely about the realities and at times also holding our own mistakes against us – and not so rarely as we ourselves would have wished.

Bernd was what you don’t find anymore today: A thoroughly good-hearted soul who tackled problems where he found them and also took responsibility for them in order to put things right that were not in order. Objective and fair was his motto at a time when fairness and objectivity are not infrequently sacrificed to speed. Thus he should remain a role model for us for an open and above all factual discussion, always talking to the police about the police and understanding each other.
I will sincerely miss his positive outlook on life and his commitment not only to the police and special forces, but to our entire society.

I think Lars’ words describe very well how we also perceived Poko. For me, on our journey together, there were three qualities above all why we went from colleagues to comrades: Loyalty, reliability and diligence. Especially when the winds of life blew a little rougher, I could be sure that he stood firmly by my side.

Over the years, Poko was a frequent guest in our home. With teenage daughters and him, two worlds collided. This applied to both worldview and Poko’s brand of humor, which all the ladies sometimes acknowledged with puckish expressions or shakes of the head. It was therefore nice to see how both parties developed mutual acceptance and respect, which ultimately led to my wife, Sarah and Sina awarding Poko the title of
” Our woman-understanding ” lent.

I still have his hearty laugh in my ear today.

One would not have believed it of the East Prussian stubborn man. But he was always ready to learn something new and to change. And so, on our way together, we went from being comrades to friends.

What some people would not have believed him to have was his penchant for music. When he could play music at parties as a “DJ,” Poko was in his element. That was also something that connected us.

About 2 years ago I had called him and from him came immediately: “Hey Ecko, good that you call. I’ve ‘explored a cool song . It’s by Bob Seeger. I didn’t have it on my screen until today. I’ll send you the link.”

A short time later I heard the song. Poko had not exaggerated. The title: “The famous final Scene” with its very touching lyrics has become one of my favorite songs and will always remind me of Poko.

Bob Seeger – „The Famous Final Scene“: