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Blog Series: Strengthening International Partnerships to Address Gender Based Violence

November 21, 2012, 3:35 pm — Kira Laffe (Uncategorized)

Team Jordan has returned to the states with plenty of stories they’d like to share!   This week, we feature a blog post by Team Jordan member, Joe Giacalone, retired NYPD Detective/Sergeant, now Adjunct Professor for John Jay College – Criminal Justice Program.

Please continue to visit our blog in the following weeks to learn more about their trip.

A Law Enforcement Training Mission to Jordan and the Brotherhood of Cops – by Joe Giacalone

I had the fortune to fall into the law enforcement training representative for a sanctioned mission to the country of Jordan. We all understand that great opportunities in life often arise due to the misfortunes of others. This opportunity for me was born from one such instance, and I was going to make this memorable. I entered with the thought of leaving my knowledge and experience from my over 20 years of policing with the investigators of Jordan. However, it was me that left with the ultimate reward in the form of eight new friends. Friends that now share the common mission and experience, but it was three that shared so much more.

The goal of the mission was to train the Jordanian Police Family Protection Services in the difficult task of investigating gender based violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Topics included: the response to the crime scene, identifying and collecting evidence interview and interrogation, the role of the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), emergency room treatment, and how to get the victim physical and psychological help. The team was put together on an ad hoc basis and all strangers to a degree, consisting of a medical examiner, an emergency room doctor, a sexual assault nurse examiner, social workers and a unit chief from a  prosecutor’s sex crimes division.
Two members of the Jordanian police department, Ahmad and Yusef, were assigned to “babysit” the team during it’s travels in and around the cities of Amman and Aqaba. I’ve been on similar assignments and believe me, I personally wouldn’t be happy about the detail. Cops like routines, they don’t particularly like change of assignments. We enjoy the action that comes with doing police work, not following strangers around, translating how much souvenirs cost or to show landmarks. It is the professional cop, that takes their orders with a spoonful of sugar and then does the best job possible. Not letting their displeasure show, not even in a facial expression. This situation for them was no different than any other assignment.

The initial introduction was met with the typical cop skepticism: Who are these people?, Why are they here?, Why do I have to watch them? and most importantly, When are they leaving? I know, because I would have asked my boss the same questions. There may have been complaints and expressions of dissatisfaction at some point in the discussion between them and their boss and especially amongst each other.

Ahmad and Yuseff were the team’s security and sometimes the tour guides. I’ve experienced the brotherhood of cops on so many levels-cops helping other cops, its what we do and it is what makes the profession great. This however, was my first experience with cops from a foreign country. They spoke little to no English, I spoke no Arabic. However, an undeniable experience took place. We didn’t share a language, customs, religion or even taste in food, but we had the strongest bond ever created, were cops. We didn’t know what each was saying or wanted, but it always worked out somehow. There was a sense of respect when I was introduced to other cops, even in the streets of Amman and Aqaba and the word “police” could be made out in the cacophony of spice salesman and car horns blowing.I learned one thing for sure: that no matter what race, color, creed, religion, national origin etc., cops are, they share that one remarkable and unbreakable bond. The bond that no other profession can share or tout. Phrases such as the “Thin Blue Line” or the “Blue Wall” really don’t do justice to what I experienced. I’m thinking more on the lines of the “Blue Brotherhood” or the “Blue Family.” A name or phrase that shows the international distinction between professional police officers.

You can read more of Joe’s work by visiting his personal blog site.

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Blog posts are the responsibility of their authors, and do not reflect the opinions of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

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