CLAYTON, Mo. – When he was 17, Emir Hadzic moved to the United States to escape the war in his native Bosnia.
“St. Louis County Police Department assigned me to Affton for a smart reason,” says Hadzic, an officer in the department. “There’s a number of police officers who speak Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian assigned to the South County precinct. So, it just makes sense because we automatically have some sort of rapport with the public and we understand those cultural nuances that somebody might miss that leads to peaceful resolution of any kind of incident we’re dealing with.”
Peaceful resolution is something he’s seen in his eight tours overseas. After 20 years in the military, Hadzic retired as a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant. When he sought to continue his public service, he became a police officer in the Affton Southwest precinct.
Hadzic takes great pride in working an area of the county that covers the former home of President Ulysses S. Grant. And he takes great pride in being honored by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina out of Washington, D.C.
“It’s special to be recognized among other luminaries and honorees such as President-elect Biden and President Clinton and (senators) such as John McCain and Bob Dole,” says Hadzic. “To be included in such a long list of great public servants is a great honor for me.”
Hadzic’s service to his adopted country and time spent on a NATO mission back in Bosnia, stick with him today.
“I am a lot more likely to step out of my car and talk to people based on my experiences overseas,” says Hadzic. “General McCrystal said, ‘You cannot do drive-by diplomacy. You have to get out of your vehicles and shake hands and talk to people and get to know the area you’re responsible for.’
“It’s just a joy to serve this community, especially this community that was good to my ethnic kin when we arrived here with nothing. And helped us stand on our feet and contribute and make this place even more beautiful than it already was.”