Canada's first female police officer in Iraq completes mission

July 29, 2019
Ottawa, Ontario

News release

Sergeant Erin Coates, from Saskatoon Police Service, recently completed a one-year deployment to the Police Task Force – Iraq Training Unit within the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). Coates was the first female Canadian law enforcement officer deployed to Iraq in a police peace operations capacity.

Canadian police officers deployed to the Police Task Force – Iraq Training Unit provide key training to the Government of Iraq civilian security entities, including federal, provincial, local and specialty police agencies. The primary focus of the Canadian police instructors is on community policing topics, as well as the enhancement of both negotiation and de-escalation capabilities.

"We are very proud of Erin and of all of our police officers who are deployed in Iraq," said RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. "The work they do enhances the capacity of the Iraqi police and security agencies to engage all aspects of the communities they serve, including women and children."

Inclusion of women in the security sector builds capacity, supports stabilization efforts and enhances legitimacy and trust as it reflects the communities in which they serve. Coates was part of the team that enhanced and implemented a Female Policing Course for female Iraqi police officers, which included leadership development, human rights, and benefits of a gender perspective in policing operations.

Since Coates' deployment, two other Canadian female police deployed to Iraq, one working with Coates in the training unit and the other as the Gender Advisor of the CJTF-OIR and Canadian Contingent Commander. The RCMP continually seeks to deploy female police officers in order to provide leading examples of gender equality and empowerment for the female Iraqi police. The RCMP encourages other female police officers to apply for international peace operations in the future.

Canada deploys Canadian police officers to peace and stabilization missions through the Canadian Police Arrangement, a partnership between the RCMP, Public Safety Canada and Global Affairs Canada. Canadian police have established an excellent reputation in international policing through their expertise, leadership, professionalism and dedication.

Coates will be available for media interviews on August 7, 2019, in anticipation of National Peacekeepers' Day on Friday August 9. A Media Availability will be announced shortly.

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Contact information

RCMP Media Relations
RCMP.HQMediaRelations-DGRelationsmedias.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
613-843-5999

Backgrounder

Canada's first female police officer in Iraq completes mission

Sergeant Erin Coates, from the Saskatoon Police Service, recently completed a one-year deployment to the Police Task Force – Iraq (PTF-I) Training Unit within the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). Coates was the first female Canadian law enforcement officer deployed to Iraq in an international police peace operations capacity. The RCMP encourages other female police officers to apply for peace operations in the future.

Canadian police in Iraq

Canadian police officers deployed to the PTF-I are responsible for developing and delivering key training in specific areas such as community-based, intelligence-led policing; gender-sensitive policing; human rights; crime scene management; advanced criminal investigations and leadership development for the Iraqi Police and other security entities.

Canada currently has eight police officers working alongside police instructors from the Italian Carabinieri, the Czech Republic State Police, the Czech Republic Military Police, the Slovakian Military Police and the Finland Civilian Police. The training instructors provide key training to the Government of Iraq civilian sector entities, including federal, provincial, local and specialty police forces from within Iraq.

The Senior Police Advisors and training experts are well positioned to enhance the capacity of the Iraqi security forces to engage all aspects of the communities they serve; including women and children. The RCMP continually seeks to deploy female police officers in order to provide leading examples of gender equality and empowerment for the women working within the Iraqi security sector.

Erin Coates

Sergeant Erin Coates is a 19-year member of the Saskatoon Police Service. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology. In the course of her law enforcement career, she has worked with the Integrated Drug Unit, Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit, Sex Crimes Unit, Divisional Section within Patrol, and the Major Crime Unit. Sgt. Coates has accumulated considerable experience in a variety of criminal investigations and enjoyed training others in her area of expertise, particularly on the topic of writing search warrants.

The Program

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the RCMP's participation in peace and stabilization operations. Since 1989, more than 4,000 Canadian police officers participated in over 66 peace operations abroad. Canada deploys Canadian police officers to peace and stabilization missions through the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA), a partnership between the RCMP, Public Safety Canada and Global Affairs Canada. Canadian police have established an excellent reputation in international policing through their expertise, leadership, professionalism and dedication.

The goal of the CPA is to support the Government of Canada's commitments to build a more secure world through Canadian police participation in international peacekeeping and peace support operations, which are critical to longer-term security system reform and conflict-prevention efforts.

Research has shown that having more female police officers on mission leads to increased trust with the local population; improves protection of women and children from violence; and facilitates gender-sensitive police approaches and mentoring.

The CPA recognizes the importance of women's equal and full participation in conflict resolution, peace building and peacekeeping. It therefore seeks to further support women in fulfilling this active role, by incorporating gender perspectives in program decisions, seeking opportunities to train female police officers in foreign countries to participate in missions, and targeting international deployment opportunities and senior positions that support this important work.

Canada is proud to contribute highly skilled police officers to train and mentor their counterparts in fragile and conflict-affected states around the world, with the ultimate goal of improving safety and security in their communities.

Having professional, well-trained and well-equipped police services is key to fostering stability, making people and communities feel more secure, and enhancing the rule of law in fragile and conflict-affected states.

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