Houston, TX – A young Ukrainian police officer who was trained by the Houston Police Department last year sent one of his trainers a photo of himself wearing a “Don’t mess with Texas” patch on his uniform as he bravely fights against Russia for his country’s freedom.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick posted the picture of the Ukrainian cop to social media on Monday.
“’DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS,’” Patrick tweeted. “This Ukrainian police officer trained with @houstonpolice last year and sent this photo showing the patch he proudly wears in his fight for his country.”
“We in Texas stand with the brave men and women of Ukraine as they fight for their freedom,” the lieutenant governor added.
“DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS”
This Ukrainian police officer trained with @houstonpolice last year and sent this photo showing the patch he proudly wears in his fight for his country.
We in Texas stand with the brave men and women of Ukraine as they fight for their freedom. pic.twitter.com/TKbxwV7XC5
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) February 26, 2022
A number of Ukrainian police officer are using tactics and skills they learned from Houston police in their own country, KRIV reported.
“We’ve taught them a lot of tactical training,” recently retired Houston Police Lieutenant Randy Upton explained. “Firearms training, a lot of crowd control training, and critical thinking. I’d like to believe that’s helping out right now.”
Lt. Upton said the Houston police participated in a program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that allowed him and at least five other officers to travel to Ukraine multiple times to offer tactical training to the country’s new police officer, KRIV reported.
He said Houston police have made about 10 training trips to the Ukraine since 2016.
“The Ukrainian people are very proud and they’re very strong,” the recently-retired police veteran said. “They have the will to fight for their country. I believe they’ll continue doing so.”
He said he has stayed in close touch with many friends on the police force in Ukraine and has been in contact with a number of them since war erupted with Russia, KRIV reported.
“I pray nightly and I pray daily [for them],” Lt. Upton said. “My heart pounds every time it takes a while for one of them to reply [to my messages].”
He told KRIV he received the selfie of one of his friends wearing the “Don’t mess with Texas” patch sewn onto his ballistic vest over the weekend.
“When I saw that on there, it made me proud,” Lt. Upton said. “Hopefully our training we gave them keeps them alive and protecting their country.”
He also said Ukrainian police were running low on medical supplies and said officers in Houston who had worked with their police force were planning to transport a load of medical equipment to Ukraine as soon as possible, KRIV reported.
Lt. Upton said they had set up a link for those interested in contributing to the effort to provide supplies for Ukrainian police.
The retired lieutenant said that he planned to return to Ukraine after the war and help rebuild the country, KRIV reported.