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That’s why you can hear Russian being spoken at the San Diego Police Department for the next two weeks. The department is hosting six police officers from Almaty, Kazakhstan as part of an exchange sponsored by the International Association of Police Chiefs. Almaty is located in Southeast Kazakhstan, near China, so the officers have come half way around the world to learn new techniques. The language may be different, but everyone who wears a badge shares a common goal: fighting crime. In Almaty, that is quite a challenge. The exchange officers come from a city with 100 murders this year. They deal with crimes like extortion and kidnapping on a daily basis. Nurlan Jumabekov’s is a division chief in Almaty. His rank is similar to a captain in the San Diego Police Department.

“I would like to say our rate of crime is higher than it is here.” Almaty’s police chief was in San Diego for a tour of our department in late August. He was particularly interested in the communication system. “They’re starting to implement a 911 system, so when the chief was here he spent a lot of time filming in the communications area,” Sgt. Al Guaderrama said. “That’s where we can help with them, bring them some knowledge of data systems and crime analysis.” Part of that means giving the foreign officers an introduction to high tech crime solving techniques such as DNA analysis. “Of course I will try to learn these wonderful ways of work of American police I will try to use them in my country,” Jumabekov said. The officers from Almay will be in town through October 22. Then November 1, six officers from San Diego Police will head to Kazakhstan. Ernie Servin will make that trip.

“I think I’ll be sharing some neighborhood policing, community policing, the philosophy behind it and how successful it’s been in San Diego,” Servin said. The Almaty cops are also looking ahead. “I hope after observing our work they will learn something interesting from us,” Jumabekov said. That would make it a true exchange.

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