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Alumni News

From Canada to Kabul

October 15, 2012

Paul Cook (Law and Security Administration, 1981)

It isn't everyday that a Canadian police leader can say that he travelled across the globe but this year I had the opportunity to do just that. From September 9th to 14th, 2012, I joined the Saskatoon Chief of Police, as well as representatives from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in a visit to Afghanistan. This trip was organized by the RCMP to support our members who are currently deployed and to gain a better understanding of the work by Canadian police officers in Afghanistan.

We toured several military and police bases, headquarters and training facilities in Kabul and Mazar-e Shariff. Repeatedly, we received thanks from Afghan police leaders and our international military and policing partners for the support we were providing to them. We also received extremely positive feedback about the quality of our police personnel and the level of professionalism and dedication that they displayed when carrying out their day-to-day duties.

Since 2003, more than 200 Canadian civilian police officers have served on multiple missions in Afghanistan. Canada's policing goals are to support Afghan and international efforts to reform and build the Afghan National Police's (ANP's) capacity and to provide effective, professional responsive police services to Afghans.

I had heard about our efforts in the country from those who have been deployed there, but seeing the mission first hand really brought everything home for me - the climate, sights, sounds and smells.

Although the challenges are many and progress is slow, progress is being made. We left Afghanistan with a better appreciation of these challenges, the specific role we are playing and how we can work more effectively with government and police leaders in Afghanistan to build a sustainable, professional Afghan National Police. We were also encouraged by the genuine determination and commitment displayed by the Afghan police leaders we met to establish a police service that both their members and their communities would be proud of.

Paul Cook is nominated for a 2012 Premier's Award recognizing outstanding Ontario College graduates. More