Constable Daniel Saleh said his peace mission to Haiti was one of the most challenging times of his career.
“The environment was difficult and I missed my family. To be honest, I never thought I could do another overseas assignment,” said Saleh, of working and living in tough conditions.
Saleh and Constable Jean Bresse were the first Toronto Police officers to carry out critical peacekeeping and peace support operations in Haiti since police deployments to that country started just over two decades ago. They returned home, late August, from the year-long assignment working alongside local police officers.
On June 15, the officers were presented with International Peace Operations coins at police headquarters.
After the ceremony, Saleh said he has had a change of heart on whether another mission would be worth undertaking.
“In the past year, I have had a chance to reflect on what we did there and I would say, now, that I would not be allergic to be part of another peacekeeping mission,” said the 11 Division officer, who feels the importance and impact made by the work trumps personal sacrifice. “In fact, I know I could do another one again.”
Based in Jacmel, Saleh was part of a group of 20 international officers who worked with the major investigation crime unit in that part of Haiti. Bresse, who was stationed in Caracol, was assigned to the $300 million Caracol Industrial Park that includes a 10-megawat power plant and a water-treatment facility.
It’s an honour to be part of an organization that’s respected at the highest level by armed forces and law enforcement agencies that are trying to instill peace on a planet that has been torn by conflict,” said Corra, assigned to 52 Division. “As a Canadian, I am extremely proud to serve overseas and I will do it again if there is another opportunity.”
Chief Bill Blair thanked the officers for their service.
“We, as a Service, are proud of you and I, as your Chief, am absolutely gratified for your commitment and service,” he said. “Your answer to the call of duty and service overseas, in some very difficult and challenging arenas, bring great honour to the Toronto Police Service and adds significantly to our legacy of having our people serve with distinction in troubled spots around the world. Your efforts are appreciated, honoured and respected.”
The Canadian peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan ended last March. Nearly 300 Canadian police officers served in Afghanistan in the last 11 years.
Sergeant Steve Henkel, of the Marine Unit, and Constable Antoinette Rowe, of Traffic Services, are the only Toronto Police officers currently serving overseas. They are in Haiti.
Henkel returns next month while Rowe will be there until next year.