It’s normal for Knightdale police officers to travel to Quantico, Va. for the FBI National Academy, where they receive college-level education and training.
It’s not every year, though, that an officer has a Thai roommate who becomes Knightdale’s first honorary officer.
This year, though, Police Capt. Lawrence Capps brought his roommate, Deputy Commander Archayon Kraithong, a 22-year veteran of the Royal Thai Police force in Bangkok, Thailand, to visit Knightdale.
By the end of his visit, he was named the town’s first honorary officer.
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“We have so much differences in culture, different traditions, but actually, I don’t see anything different (between) my work in Thailand and (work in) Knightdale,” Kraithong said. “We have patrol cars, we have officers who have to be alert 24 hours a day, we have teams of officers, who have to arrest people – our experience is much the same.”
The FBI National Academy welcomes international students into the program, which is largely attended by American police officers. That international perspective allows for officers all over the world to see different ways police forces handle most of the same problems, Capps said.
“Being with one of the international students gives me perspective on the challenges they face,” he said. “It’s kind of unique to listen to their perspectives and when you get right down to it, the issues we face locally in Knightdale are the same issues Archayon deals with in his jurisdiction in Bangkok.”
One thing Kraithong said he was interested in when he visited Knightdale was the process of becoming an officer. He said seeing how the law works here is different than in Thailand, and he was excited to share that with his coworkers back home.
Professional and personal lessons
Besides just fulfilling curiousity, Capps said the exchange of experience and skill between officers in the United States and other countries is becoming more important as more crimes begin to cross jurisdictions.
As identity theft and cyber crime becomes more common, he said it’s good to have contacts all around the globe. Those crimes can easily originate in jurisdictions across the world, so it helps to have some sort of idea of how international police forces operate and in some cases, have a contact.
“One of the benefits in terms of connecting with some of these international students is that now we have some of those international contacts,” Capps said.
Kraithong’s visit to Knightdale wasn’t purely professional – he got to see the whole town, not just the police department.
“(We are making) so many connections (and) sharing our differences and seeing what we have in common all over the world,” he said.
Capps echoed his roommates’ sentiment – it’s not just about networking and swapping stories. And for him, meeting Kraithong has been as much a learning experience as his classes at the academy.
“It’s been a personally enriching experience just to learn more about that area of the world, their culture and some of their traditions, “ he said. “It’s not just a professional component, there’s been a personal component too.”
Capps and Kraithong will be in Quantico at the Academy until Sept. 19.