A group of Calgary Police Department officers have collected tons of donated equipment and clothing that is ending up in the hands of Ukrainians overseas.
sergeant. John Langford, an instructor at the police academy, estimates that more than 450 kilograms of equipment was donated.
“[I’m] proud of all CPS members who step up and help,” said Langford.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Cst. Pavel Adaikin, whose wife is from Ukraine, knew he wanted to find a way to help.
He started by asking the Calgary Police Department’s media unit if they could post an internal link for Red Cross donations. But then he learned that a clothing and equipment drive was being organized by an officer from another district, and he “jumped on it.”
Donation bins have been set up at every Calgary police station, he said. Emails and messages were sent to employees asking if they had any police equipment they were willing to donate for officers to use in Ukraine.
About a week later, Adaikin received emails and calls saying the bins were “overflowing.”
“I was shocked to see how many people were affected by this war and how generous people were,” said Adaikan, who was born in Kazakhstan.
“When they gave it their all, I couldn’t believe it. All that brand new gear, all that brand new clothes. It really shocked me.”
Hundreds of items collected
CPS used eight to 10 vans to gather all the gear, which included about 400 pairs of boots, 300 pairs of tactical pants, sweaters, gloves, backpacks and socks, among other items, Langford said.
Langford also has personal ties to Ukraine, having traveled there five times since 2014 to help train the Ukrainian National Police.
When he heard that a group of officers from Calgary, many of them Ukrainians, were making the trip, he too “jumped on board”.
“It’s good to collect this stuff. It’s a tangible thing that we can do here on the other side of the world,” he said. “But really, I wish I could do more.”
Langford thinks his Ukrainian counterparts will really appreciate the equipment.
“Having worked with them and seen their equipment, it’s dated… We have the luxury here in Canada – and especially with CPS – of getting new equipment very regularly and they don’t have that luxury there” , he said.
“So some of our gear that’s been worn for a year or two is going to look pretty much like new to them.”
Officers worked with Aourika Lyutenko, a member of Calgary’s Ukrainian community, and a local Ukrainian church to have the items shipped to Edmonton to be loaded onto a plane bound for Poland in March. From there, the items are distributed to those in need in Ukraine.
All identification tags have been removed from the equipment prior to shipment.