Just over three years ago, they served in Afghanistan at the same time with the International Police Peace Operations Program.
Now, Sergeant Dale Corra and Constable Gregory Boltyansky are heading to Ukraine, which is in the process of creating a new national police service.
Canadian police are assisting with reforming policing 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.
Boltyansky, who leaves on September 28, is excited to be going on this assignment because of his family ties.
“My father is originally from the southern part of the country, so this is like a homecoming for me because I have never been there,” he said. “My parents, obviously, were more supportive of me going there than when I went to Afghanistan.”
He and Corra will design community policing programs for the Ukrainian police.
“It’s quite an honour to be selected by Toronto Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to do this type of work because it speaks to the Ukrainians’ respect for the Canadian style of policing and for the Canadian fabric of society,” said Corra. “Community policing is new to them and we are starting from scratch.”
Corra was a senior adviser to the International Police Co-ordination Board while in Afghanistan.
It’s our job to help our brothers and sisters in Ukraine set up a stable police service
“Every deployment is different but that stint, where I was part of a high-level board that assisted the Afghan Minister of Interior with reshaping policies and procedures within the Afghan National Police, taught me resilience, adaptability, flexibility,” said Corra, who leaves for Ukraine in late October. “Both Afghanistan and Ukraine are considered fragile states, but they are not broken. It’s our job to help our brothers and sisters in Ukraine set up a stable police service.”
Since 1999, a total of 91 Service members have been deployed to Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Jordan, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine 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.