January 15, 2009

Return to Law Enforcement Leading Local Officer Overseas

When Rob Quillin and his family moved to Memphis several years ago, the former Kansas City policeman had not totally ruled out a return to law enforcement. However he will be the first to admit he never thought such a career path would lead him to where he is headed today.

Quillin departed Scotland County this weekend for Kansas City en route to Fredericksburg, VA. If all goes well there we will head on to Fort Benning, GA before departing for Kabul Afghanistan where he will be working with the Afghanistan National Police (ANP) as a training officer. Quillin is considering entering a one-year contract with DynCorp International , a private service contractor responsible for advising the ANP. The company has been providing similar services in the war-torn country since 2003.

“It is my understanding that I will be working in one of nine different law enforcement bases training ANP officers in entry tactics and clearing buildings,” he said. “I feel like I was able to secure this position because of my SWAT experience.”

That experience came during 13 years with the Kansas City Police Department. Rob served with the inner-city division, where he received four years of SWAT experience. He was the lead sniper for the SWAT cover team and also served as the point man for the entry team. In 1997 he was promoted to sergeant where he led a high-risk patrol team.

Even after his retirement, Quillin continued his membership in the National Tactical Officers Association and was through this group that Rob made his first contact with recruiters for Afghanistan.

“They got a hold of me about three years ago with an opportunity to work overseas, but the timing just wasn’t right,” Rob said. “We were still getting settled in after the move and we had just had a baby, so I told them no.”

But despite rejecting the offer, Quillin remained interested in the opportunity. He stayed in contact with a fellow KCPD officer who had served in Iraq as a member of the National Guard. He later returned to the Middle East to work with one of the private contractors and had given Rob some positive reviews of the opportunities.

In 2008 Quillin decided to revisit the opportunity. However the process has been anything but simple.

“I’ve been working on this for seven months now,” he said. “I believe it has been harder to get approval to do this than it was to get okayed to become a police officer.”

And even as he departed for the East Coast, Quillin warned that he was unsure how the trip would turn out. He indicated a few concerns with some of the contract issues (all non-financial) had to be worked out before he would be fully committed to travel to Afghanistan.

If those discrepancies are corrected, Quillin said he expects to be in Afghanistan by March. Once at his base of operations, he indicated he would be assigned an interpreter as well as a class of officers for a two-month training period. Upon graduating his officers, he would be assigned to serve as a field advisor for those same policemen. This duty would include actual combat patrol with civilian responsibilities. The team would work on convoy security, securing perimeters for events and protection of dignitaries as well as other traditional law enforcement services.

“I think that is what I am most looking forward to,” Quillin said. “From what I have seen and what I have heard, in many places in that country there simply is a lack of law. You cannot believe some of the atrocities that occur. It just isn’t right. So I look at this as a chance to do something to help.”

Of course he realizes there is obvious danger involved with this civic duty that requires him to wear body armor and pack around an M4 assault rifle while riding around in armored vehicles.

“Sure that makes this decision very difficult,” Quillin said. “But I have seen how our community steps up to help others. And I know I will have a lot of people back home praying for me and that makes all the difference in the world.”

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