A Toronto officer spent a year raising the standard for police training in Ukraine as part of a Canadian government commitment to bring normalcy to the country.
Constable Stan Dlugopolski was the lead instructor for the Police Safety Instructor Course, travelling the country training corporals to colonels on the principles of policing. He returned home July 16.
“In fact, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had,” he said of lending a hand to a newly formed police service. “This was the first time that any of these officers were exposed to training of this nature. It was also the first time that officers had travelled to a training center to be part of any police training course.”
Ukraine's police reform efforts are designed to ensure the sustainability of the National Police of Ukraine and transform it into a modern, accountable and transparent police service founded on internationally recognized standards and best practices, which includes the respect for human rights.
Born and raised in neighbouring Poland before coming to Toronto in 1993, Dlugopolski is aware of the challenges facing the Ukrainian police.
“They have a shortage of everything, including uniforms and weapons,” he said. “I chose to go there for my deployment because that is where I felt I could make the most impact. I understand the language and I could speak a little bit of it. I felt an attachment to the country and that helped me gain the officers’ trust.”
Dlugopolski, a 14 Division officer for the past 13 years, said his job was to prepare officers for the scenarios they would face on the street.
“The course lasted four weeks and the first one was spent on defensive tactics, including handcuffing, takedowns and gunpoint arrests,” said Dlugoploski. “At the end of that week, officers in the course were required to teach classes to be eligible to advance through the program.”
The second week focused on building and vehicle tactics and the last two weeks worked on scenario-based training.
He taught the course nine separate times, creating an impact on more than 200 officers.
Dlugopolski said he would do another deployment in Ukraine.
“Based on the feedback I received from their officers, they benefited immensely from my time with them,” he said. “I enjoyed my stint and what I was able to accomplish.”