Two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers, Lieutenant Adeel Rana and Detective Elvis Vukelj, gave a presentation to students about the NYPD’s youth programs at the Special Education Center for Hearing Impaired Children in Islamabad this morning. Following the officers’ presentation, female students taught the officers to play netball, a new sport for most Americans. The officers also participated in a cricket match alongside the school’s male students.
“In New York, my colleagues and I organize summer camps and sporting activities, and we play alongside the youth,” Vukelj said. “These kinds of activities can help both American and Pakistani police to engage constructively with young women and men in our communities and help them develop leadership and teamwork skills.”
The Special Education Center for Hearing Impaired Children in Islamabad is dedicated to providing academic and vocational skills to deaf and hard of hearing students. The center provides a wide range of sports programs to students to encourage team building and an active lifestyle. Through interactive community participation, both the Pakistani police and their NYPD counterparts improve their overall ability to address crime proactively. Sports programs are a core component of achieving this objective, allowing the police to engage constructively with youth, women, and other key audiences in Pakistan and the United States. Using sports as a tool, police officers can break down barriers and develop lasting ties with their communities to provide the security necessary to support economic, political, and social prosperity for all.
Lt. Rana and Det. Vukelj are in Pakistan representing the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau. Their visit is an opportunity for American and Pakistani law enforcement professionals to exchange knowledge about concrete ways to foster positive and productive relations between the police and the communities they serve. Since arriving in Pakistan on October 25, Rana and Vukelj have met with police counterparts and representatives of various youth organizations.
U.S. Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs Christina Tomlinson commented during the school visit, “Lieutenant Rana and Detective Vukelj are members of one of the most diverse police forces in the world. In their jobs, they build bridges between their colleagues in the New York City Police Department and the various communities they serve. They are in Pakistan to share their experiences with communities facing similar policing challenges.”
The U.S. government invests more than $30 million each year in programs that promote cultural exchange between the United States and Pakistan through sports, visual and performing arts, women’s empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and a variety of other areas. Additionally, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has a long history of cooperation with Pakistani police. Since 2002, INL has provided assistance to police in all four of Pakistan’s provinces and Islamabad; levies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); and federal law enforcement organizations. INL projects have focused on areas such as developing training curricula, enhancing the capacity of female officers, and building operational capabilities.