Aux PC Ashton Fernandes joined the service as an Auxiliary Officer in 2017 to give back to the community. After finishing his training, he was deployed to 42 Division, a community he grew up in.
In a matter of months, he has shown his commitment to serving his community by establishing himself as a first rate Auxiliary officer, fulfilling a childhood dream of joining the police service.
For his dedication to the program and his community, Aux PC Ashton Fernandes was recognized as Auxiliary Officer of the Month for October and presented with a framed certificate and a gift card on October 9th.
Sergeant Sheila Richardson, the Auxiliary program co-ordinator at the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit (CPEU) presented the award. CPEU is responsible for close to 400 uniformed members who volunteer approximately 70,000 hours annually to assist the Service in community engagement initiatives, crime prevention programs, special events, parades, searches for missing persons and emergency call outs.
As CPEU A/Supt Dave Rydzik said, “These monthly awards are just one of the ways our unit is trying to encourage and motivate our Auxiliary officers."
Aux PC Fernandes was nominated for the award by his supervisors, Aux Staff Sergeant Fanny Lau and Aux Sergeant Mel D'Melo, who found him to be dependable, efficient, unfailingly punctual, and someone who pays attention to the smallest detail. They said, "His skill does not end with his Auxiliary contribution. He also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to our community."
Aux PC Fernandes understands what Deputy Chief Peter Yuen means when he said that "We want to deliver community-centred policing. We want to get back to connecting with the neighbourhoods and building trust and confidence". Deputy Yuen's vision of The Way Forward, the Police service's modernization plan, includes Neighbourhood Officers (NO) working in conjunction with Auxiliary officers, resulting in the community knowing not only the police officer's first name, but also the first name of the Auxiliary officer who, more often than not, is from that community."
A prime example of how Aux PC Fernandes delivered on the Deputy Chief's vision occurred during his part-time shift at Staples. A little boy came to him and asked if he had any more 10-cent pencils. When Fernandes told the boy that he did not have any more, but he had some for $1.50, the boy's face fell and he said that he didn't think his mom could afford it. Around the same time, A/Supt Dave Rydzik of CPEU sent out an appeal on behalf of the Children's Breakfast Club asking for donations of school supplies.
Fernandes saw a need and took it upon himself to initiate a Back to School drive with the help of his boss at Staples and Sergeant Julie Evans of the 42 Division Toronto Police Neighbourhood Officer program. The day-long drive resulted in a cruiser crammed full of 300 school supplies that was donated to the Children's Breakfast Club.
Working closely with the officers in 42 Division's Neighbourhood Officer pilot program, Aux PC Fernandes has attended every single meeting or event, often contributing ideas on how auxiliaries could participate and make a difference. His idea of a talent show for children in the Chester Le community was adopted by the community's leaders and he will be working with them to bring this to fruition.
With his professional demeanor and sense of commitment, it is no wonder that Aux PC Fernandes has gained the trust and respect of all he has come in contact with. He understands the priority of doing divisional details but also finds time to do global ones too. In fact, he signed up for a detail that was full but he asked his sergeant to plead his case so he could attend. This is the type of action that makes him stand out from the crowd and garnered him the nomination. If it is an event that may require special knowledge of the community, he will do the extra research prior to attending.
Aux PC Fernandes has logged an amazing 420 hours to date this year and has proven to be a truly outstanding officer and a role model well deserving of this award.
If you are looking for a fulfilling and rewarding volunteer career, you may wish to consider becoming an Auxiliary officer by visiting tps.on.ca/careers