Lending Expertise to Ukraine

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 2 p.m. April 8, 2016

A Toronto police training officer will join the effort to create a new national police service in the Ukraine.

Two men in TPS uniform
Sergeant Kevin Kaposy and Chief Mark Saunders

Detective Kevin Kaposy will be spending a year in Kyiv, helping to train Ukrainian police officers as part of Canada’s commitment to support the country’s security reform. 

Canadian police are assisting with reforming frontline police forces in the Eastern European country, as well as providing strategic advice on broader security-sector reform, with the long-term goal of contributing to the rule of law, minimizing social unrest, maintaining security and improving the relationship between citizens and police. 

He leaves April 9.

A court officer for two years, Kaposy became a uniformed officer in 1998 and was assigned to 11 Division, the Community Oriented Response Unit, Traffic Services and the Police College before being promoted, two years ago, and transferred to 12 Division.

He spent five years at the college as a firearms and defensive tactics instructor. He also formulated course-training standards that led to the establishment of policies and procedures.

“I am going to fill a need with my skill-set and that’s what I am most excited about,” said Kaposy, who along with his wife Annie, recently had a chance to site down with Chief Mark Saunders to talk about the work in the Ukraine. “I have helped to train many of our officers who went on peace-operation assignments and it’s my turn now to experience what they have gone through on those missions.”

This is another opportunity where our training and know-how is going to add value to the larger spectrum of the world

“This is another opportunity where our training and know-how is going to add value to the larger spectrum of the world,” said Saunders. “The feedback has always been that Toronto is a world leader in peacekeeping efforts.”

Saunders spent a week in Kabul, Afghanistan, in December 2013, visiting Toronto Police officers in the Afghan city.

“While there, I became aware of the challenges that each and every officer goes through,” he said. “The work that they do on these missions is incredibly intense, rewarding and has much value to the communities they serve. It’s a seven-day-a-week function with no rest and the conditions are not the most desirable. Yet, our officers want to go and make a positive difference.”

Last year, Ukraine’s new police chief, Khatia Dekanoidze, requested assistance from the Canadian government to help establish and train a professional police service.

A trusted and national policing agency in the war-torn former Soviet country is a priority for the Ukrainian government, which is seeking to hire nearly 130,000 officers.

Candidates, who will be employed temporarily, will only secure permanent employment after they have passed a series of tests to be reviewed by representatives from the national police and civil society.

At present, there are no Toronto Police officers on deployment.

Since 1999, a total of 89 Service members have been deployed to Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Jordan, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Haiti through the Royal Canadian Mounted Police International Peace Operations branch. Almost 300 Canadian police officers worked as trainers and mentors during the Afghanistan mission that ended in 2014.

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