Dubai: Lt. Mariam Abdullah Baljafla is a trailblazer. She’s the first female veterinary officer in Dubai Police.
Lt. Baljafla plays a pivotal role in the K9 unit, which focuses on narcotics detection, explosives handling and tracking as part of law enforcement. She specialises in the health and rehabilitation of police dogs, a role she relishes.
As a child, Lt. Baljafla loved animals. Much of that was spurred by her family’s interest in animals and animal care. The early passion prompted her to pursue veterinary studies, and she received strong support from Lt. Baljafla’s family, although that puzzled others around her.
“My family, including my parents and siblings, were extremely proud of my choice to study veterinary medicine, helping me fulfil a childhood dream. Their encouragement continues to this day,” Lt. Baljafla said.
Following in father’s footsteps
Soon after she graduated from the United Arab Emirates University’s veterinary programme in 2020, Lt. Baljafla followed in the footsteps of her father, who served the Dubai Police, and joined the force in 2021.
Lt. Baljafla’s expertise was an asset to the K9 Inspection Department, a unit of the General Department of Organisation Protective Security and Emergency. The unit is crucial for event security and diverse police operations, including narcotics detection, explosives handling, and tracking.
Reflecting on her experience, Lt. Baljafla said: “Since the outset, I’ve been immensely supported by my colleagues in the K9 Clinic’s monitoring section. They helped my professional development and allowed me to pursue my ambitions and interests. Gradually, I’ve become deeply involved in the dogs’ direct care and medical treatment.”
About her responsibilities, she said: “My tasks involve conducting morning or evening rounds to monitor the police dogs’ overall health, ensuring they are consistently prepared for their roles.”
This includes performing specific health checks to verify their well-being, ensuring they are free from diseases and injuries, managing lab and blood tests, administering vaccines, and other vital medical services directly impacting their operational readiness.
My role contributes alongside other teams within Dubai Police towards enhancing security and public happiness, including major events like the New Year’s Eve celebrations, the COP28 conference, and Expo 2020, among others.
Lt. Baljafla said working with Dubai Police has allowed her to realise her veterinary practice ambitions and provide opportunities to participate in various field events.
“My role contributes alongside other teams within Dubai Police towards enhancing security and public happiness, including major events like the New Year’s Eve celebrations, the COP28 conference, and Expo 2020, among others,” Lt. Baljafla.
The Dubai Police veterinary officer takes her role very seriously and wants to achieve significant milestones so that she can serve as an inspiration for Emirati women. Lt. Baljafla knows she’s the first in the field in Dubai and wants other Emirati women to emulate her.