There is little more fulfilling than to serve your country and help those in need.
Constable Jason Rennie experienced both while on a six-month deployment to the Middle East as part of Operation Impact, Canada’s contribution to the global coalition to dismantle and ultimately defeat ISIS.
As a Canadian Armed Forces’ Military Policy Branch reserve member, he oversaw Canadian military police personnel serving in Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait.
“Before my arrival there, I knew that the military police had an important role to play while deployed overseas, covering a range of responsibilities, including primary response, camp security of personnel and equipment, close protection duties for VIPs and a counter-intelligence unit,” said Rennie, who patrols 12 Division when at home in Toronto.
Rennie said he was able to use his Toronto Police experience to engage and build positive and professional relationships with local and coalition police services.
“These strong relationships led to great joint training among the police services,” said Rennie. “Some of the training consisted of active-shooter drills, joint desert patrols, entry checkpoint duties and high-risk vehicle stops. I also had the chance to take part in the planning and instruction of these important skills… The Military Police use the same Versadex software program and complete their files in similar fashion. Because of my investigative background, I was employed as the investigative technical adviser during investigations. In the realm of Versadex, I was tasked to conduct quality control and GO Review on the files to ensure they were completed correctly.”
Rennie spent most of the deployment at a military camp in the Kuwait desert at Camp Canada, an air base shared with other coalition forces that are part of Operation Impact and some less-welcome inhabitants of the desert.
“The Canadian camp was an eye-opening experience,” Rennie said. “My typical day began with waking up and shaking the bugs off the shoes. The desert is home to poisonous scorpions, black widow spiders, camel spiders and lizards. Before I retired to bed at night, I did a bed check before getting under the covers because you never knew what crawled in during the day. Going to the washroom at night was also a major chore as the tent was disturbed when one person got up.”
Rennie said one of the highlights of the deployment was a dinner meeting with Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan and Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance.
“The interaction with the Minister was memorable given that he is a former Vancouver Police Detective Constable and a former member of the Army Reserves,” he said. “I had the opportunity to present him with a Toronto Police and Military Police shoulder flash and he returned the favour with his own coin to the Military Police unit in recognition of its hard work. This coin was sent to the Military Police Museum at CFB Borden.”
During the tour of duty, Rennie helped an American artist design a shoulder patch for the Military Police Unit.
“This patch was designed to reflect the professional image that police exhibit daily,” he said.