Different backgrounds, same goals for Tourist Police volunteers

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They’re from Thailand and abroad. Some moved here with their families. Others retired in the city. But the one thing that all Pattaya’s Tourist Police Volunteers share is a love of their community and a desire to serve.

“I may be a different race, but I was born and grew up here. I love it and am bound to it,” said Sukhras Kalra, the newly re-elected head of the Pattaya Tourist Police Volunteers. “I’m no different from other Thai people: I want to sacrifice myself to support society and give back.”

Sukhras, 46, said his parents emigrated from India before he was born and opened a dress-making shop. They now own a tailor shop on Walking Street.

Pattaya Tourist Police commander Maj. Col. Arun Prompan (center) during the Valentine’s Day red balloon giveaway on Walking Street.Pattaya Tourist Police commander Maj. Col. Arun Prompan (center) during the Valentine’s Day red balloon giveaway on Walking Street.

In 1992, he saw a sign seeking volunteers to assist the Tourist Police. He said he never hesitated. He’s now been on the job 20 years and was re-elected to his fourth term as head of the volunteer group. He said he spends each day coordinating with sworn police officers and works to help tourists enjoy his homeland.

Pattaya is also home – an adopted one – for 51-year-old David Stuart. A former British Army surgeon who served in Iraq, David had vacationed in Pattaya and decided to marry and retire here a year ago.

When a friend asked him to join the Foreign Tourist Police Volunteers association, he figured his medical experience could come in handy. Besides, he is still healthy and said volunteering gives him something constructive to do.

David Stuart (left) and Sukhras Kalra (right) give their time to ensure a safer Pattaya.David Stuart (left) and Sukhras Kalra (right) give their time to ensure a safer Pattaya.

“I’m very happy to support tourists,” David said. “My wife understands and I can manage my time correctly. I love to help my fellow man. Therefore, I intend to work as a volunteer until I become extremely tired or until my last breath.”

Tourist Police commander Maj. Col. Arun Prompan said 200 Thais and 27 foreigners now volunteer their time. All will be reviewed again in April so as to maintain his standards of ethics and service to visitors to the city.