From Charlottetown to Bethlehem

RCMP Veterans’ Association

Veterans Helping Veterans and Their Families

This information is being provided to all Association Members

From PEI to Palestine

Dear Association Members,

President Leo O’Brien of Newfoundland and Labrador Division has provided a very interesting article on Sgt. Leanne Butler who is now working with the European Union Police Mission for the Palestine Territories.

Sgt. Butler’s main objective here is to help in the development of the Palestinian Police Force.

She is the daughter of former “B” Division member Steve Parsons who worked in the Ident Section in Clarenville in the early to late 1980’s.

Thanks to Leo for sending this along.  It is a source of great pride to see the parts of the world where the Force is involved and respected as a valuable training resource for other police forces.

James Forrest
Director of Communications
RCMP Veterans’ Association

Assignment also a learning opportunity for Leanne Butler

Kevin Yarr · CBC News · Posted: Dec 20, 2019 8:36 AM AT

RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler is making the most of an opportunity that has sent her almost halfway around the world on a very different kind of mission.

Butler is well known to Prince Edward Islanders as one of the principal communications officers for the RCMP for the past five years, but since October she has been in the West Bank working with the European Union Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories. “Our job is to advise in different sections and to help them with training and to develop as a police force,” said Butler.

“Most of my work is within the family and domestic violence sexual offences, any offence to do with vulnerable people and gender-based violence.”

RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler at an event marking National Palestinian Women’s Day. (Submitted by Leanne Butler)
Butler helping to prepare a booth for an anti-violence campaign. (EUPOL COPPS)

The training involves interviewing techniques, how to investigate sexual assaults as well as how to talk to young children.

Meanwhile, Butler is learning about life in the occupied territories.

Generally, Butler said she feels safe and she can move around freely, but traffic is an issue, particularly at checkpoints. While she is working in Ramallah in the West Bank, she is living in Jerusalem. The commute through the checkpoint generally takes her an hour, but it has taken as long as three, and that’s with diplomatic plates on her vehicle.

She carries a cellphone with her at all times to receive security alerts.

“You have to make sure that you are aware of what’s going on around you,” said Butler.

“You’re aware of the situation as it changes.”

Christmas in Bethlehem

 Butler is finding the atmosphere in Jerusalem and the West Bank very different during the Christmas season from what she is used to.With the culture around her predominantly Muslim and Jewish, there are few Christmas decorations to be seen or carols piped through the stores. The days leading up to Christmas are much like any other, she said.

Butler has plans to attend Christmas Eve midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (Leanne Butler)

But she has made some special plans with her other visiting colleagues.

“I am going to Bethlehem for Christmas Eve service, where six of us have applied to get tickets to go into the Church of the Nativity for the midnight mass,” said Butler.

“I’m super excited to be able to do that. That’s kind of a dream that’s going to come true, I hope.”

Butler is taking the opportunity to get out and see some of the sights, such as this marker of sea level in Jericho. (Submitted by Leanne Butler

On Christmas Day, a holiday for the visiting training officers, Butler said she will get together with some of those colleagues for a potluck dinner where everyone will bring a traditional dish from their homeland.

It’s a full year assignment for Butler, and she said she is excited to see what the seasons will bring.

Copyright © 2019 RCMP VETERANS’ ASSOCIATIONAll rights reserved.

Updated all members list for 2019 – deletes previous regional lists: Atlantic, Prairies & Pacific.

Our mailing address is:
140 Riverstone Drive
Nepean, Ontario
K2J 5E5