Fredericton / News / Police blog

Life on a UN Mission - D/Cst. McInnis

Since 1989, Canada has deployed more than 4,000 police officers to peace missions in over 30 countries across the globe. Those missions help rebuild or strengthen police services in countries that are experiencing conflict or upheaval. 

For Detective Constable Samantha McInnis, the opportunity to serve on an international policing mission was always one of her career goals. And in October 2018, she was successful in reaching that milestone, and was deployed to the Ukraine on a Canadian Police Mission. 

Her 12-month mission team was comprised of officers from all over Canada, but she was the only officer from a municipal police agency on the East Coast. “I wanted to highlight the great work of Fredericton Police (FPF) and represent it well,” says D/Cst. McInnis. “It was fun to work with different agencies [...] because we all bring different experiences.”

D/Cst. McInnis’ primary role during her time in Ukraine was with the  Police Training Advisory. She was responsible for delivering two courses to members of the National Police of Ukraine (NPU). For the first nine months, she taught Introduction to Criminal Investigations to a mix of patrol and district officers and investigators. Those courses were taught throughout the country, through the use of translators. “I became especially close with my primary translator, Jane. Translators are the backbone of the mission,” she said. Since the working language of the mission was English, D/Cst. McInnis would teach a class in English, and then a translator would translate, paragraph by paragraph, into Ukrainian. It made for long days; however, working with a translator provided an entirely new skill set to add to her list of competencies. 

The last quarter of the mission was spent teaching leadership to mid-level patrol supervisors. It was the first time that she had the opportunity to teach and train supervisors in her career. That allowed her to build competencies that will undoubtedly be put to good use in police work going forward within FPF. 

One of the highlights of D/Cst. McInnis’ mission was helping a local investigator solve a case file that needed a fresh set of eyes. In sharing her knowledge about similar cases she had seen, it provided a perspective that ended up closing the case, resulting in charges. “Us telling them about our case studies and experiences and what we would do with our investigations is more valuable than anything [to the NPU], because it gives them new ideas on what they could do,” said D/Cst. McInnis. “It makes you appreciate your training and what you have to offer.”

When asked what she learned from the mission, the answer was clear – that she is extremely lucky to be living and working in Fredericton, New Brunswick. And while frustrations are the same no matter what agency you come from, there are more resources, more training, and access to partnerships with social services here in Canada.

D/Cst. McInnis would love to go on another mission at some point in the future. But for now, she has settled back into the routines of home, with her family, dogs, workouts, and with the Criminal Investigations Major Crime Team at the FPF. She is proud to be in policing, and for the opportunities it presents to her.

Some Q & A with D/Cst. McInnis

What will you miss most about the Ukraine?

The good food! A lot of it is farmed fresh to table. Baked eggplant is my new favourite!

What was your most memorable moment?

There was a little “baba” (or grandmother) in one of the cities that I taught in, who made the best wool socks. I think I bought at least a pair a day while I was there. 

What surprised you the most?

When I was teaching far outside the urban centres, life became very simple. People travelled on bicycles, there were fewer cars, and there weren’t many distractions. It was quiet...almost like going back in time.

What was your favourite place to visit?

Mukachevo – it was in the mountains, and the scenery was beautiful. The students there were great as well!

What was your greatest challenge?

I think it was overcoming some stigmas about women in policing, and my knowledge and training despite my young age. Over the week-long courses, respect grew and things changed, which I am thankful for. 

Anything special about your mission?

I developed a really special bond with a police dog in Lviv. Her name was Linda, and we spent a lot of time together while I was there.