Abbotsford Police Deputy Chief Rick Lucy recently returned from a three-week trip to Windhoek, Namibia as part of a unique partnership that began in 2008 with the police department there.
On his latest trip, Lucy took part in some training sessions and met with the department’s management team, as well as with the mayor and council.
The Windhoek City Police (WCP) was formed eight years ago. Until then, Namibia had been protected only by a national force – similar to the RCMP – and there were no city police departments.
After the WCP formed, it wanted to connect with a similarly sized police force in Canada – a major supporter of Namibia when it gained independence from South Africa in 1990 – to learn how to improve its operations.
The first meeting between the two departments was in April 2008, when a group from Abbotsford travelled to Namibia to offer guidance and advice.
WCP representatives visited Abbotsford for the first time in June 2008, and the exchange trips have continued ever since.
Lucy, speaking at a recent meeting of the Abbotsford Police Board, said the partnership has been beneficial.
“We’re told that the difference that has happened with the city police (in Windhoek) is immense,” he said.
“They do so much with so little, including finances, but they are committed as much as we are to making their community safer.”
Lucy said representatives from Windhoek are expected to visit Abbotsford again, perhaps as soon as this fall.