It didn’t matter that Sergeant Kevin Kaposy returned home on July 8, without his baggage, after a one-year peacekeeping deployment in the Ukraine.
Just seeing his wife, family, friends and Toronto Police colleagues at the airport to welcome him with open arms meant more.
The 12 Division officer spent the past 12 months teaching use-of-force courses in Lviv and Chernihiv.
Nearly 20 officers benefitted from the training that they will now implement.
“The Ukrainian officers were very receptive. They relished the fact that we have the ability to show them so much more,” said Kaposy. “Such was the high esteem in which they held the training they received, that the graduates’ certificate was complemented with a monetary award.”
Superintendent Scott Baptist represented Chief Mark Saunders at the welcome reception.
“This is such an incredible opportunity to come and say thank you,” he said. “When our officers step up and go on one of these United Nations missions, they are representing not only our country, but they are proudly representing our police service.”
Toronto Police Military Veterans Association president Dana Gidlow was also on hand to greet Kaposy.
“When we send our members overseas, you have to remember they are going into a challenging environment. It can be very stressful for them,” he said. “It is important that we not only show support upon their return, but that we support them while they are away.”
Though he has been back home four times in the last 12 months, Annie Kaposy is glad her husband isn’t going back to work overseas, at least in the near future.
“For as a long as I have known him, he always wanted to do a mission but the timing was never right,” she said. “This worked out perfectly. I know he had a great time.”
Because she recently changed jobs, it was not feasible for her to get vacation to join him overseas.
“That’s the reason he came back four times and spent an average of two weeks,” she said. “We have a cottage, so we went there each time and it was like a honeymoon. We have been married for 18 years and this was the first time that we spent our wedding anniversary apart.”
Even though he might have a hard time convincing his wife to do another deployment, Kaposy doesn’t rule out another one.
“I learnt a lot about myself in terms of how to work with others and make contributions that could have a lasting impact,” he said. “It’s definitely something I would consider doing again.”
Jason Tomlinson and Brian Callanan of the Toronto Police Association were part of the reception party.
“It’s is vital to show support for our members when they go overseas to help other countries advance their police services,” said Callanan, director of administrative services. “They also make a big sacrifice by being away from their loved ones for a lengthy period.”
Constables Lisa Prechotko and Anthony Lefrancois (Haiti) and Greg Boltyansky (Ukraine) arethe other Toronto Police officers currently on overseas peacekeeping deployments.
Prechotko and Lefrancois return on August 23, while Boltyansky is back on September 28.
Constable Stan Dlugopolski is preparing for deployment to Ukraine on July 15, while Inspector Andy Norrie is heading to Iraq later this year.
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. The Canadian mission in Afghanistan ended last March. Nearly 300 Canadian police officers served in the country over the last 11 years.
Officers interested in peacekeeping deployments can contact Sergeant John Lo Bianco by email or by phone at (416) 808-7651.