Const. John Zivcic was remembered by colleagues as a dedicated police officer with an outgoing personality.
The 22 Division officer died at St. Michael’s hospital on Monday, Dec. 2 at 12:35 p.m. after he was involved in a collision on Bloor St. W., near the West Mall late Saturday afternoon.
Zivcic was surrounded by family members at the time of his death.
Toronto Police Service officers and Toronto Police Association members also kept vigil at St. Michael’s hospital.
S/Sgt. Glenn Dewling said Zivcic will be missed.
“John loved his job and that was evident every time he walked through the door,” said Dewling, who was Zivcic’s platoon superior.
“He was always ready to go and do whatever that was needed,” he said, of Zivcic, who had a love for traffic policing.
Dewling said Zivcic received a Commendation a few years ago for aiding a young Canadian woman who was in a serious vehicular collision in Cuba.
“He was on vacation and he jumped to her aid and even used his credit card to pay for her medical costs,” said Dewling.
“Her family was so appreciative. And that alone tells you the kind of person he was.”
Zivcic, who was fluent in Croatian, was among 89 graduates in January 2008 who received their newly-minted badges from the Chief. He and 13 Division Const. Gordon Olarewaju were in the same recruiting class.
“I clearly remember John because he was just as tall as I am and we always marched together in training,” recalled Olarewaju.
The camaraderie of the job is important and I can’t imagine being part of a bigger team than in policing
“He was a phenomenal human being who was inspirational to everyone and it’s so sad that this happened. I will always remember him.”
On his graduation day, Zivcic said he was inspired by the people he met as a new recruit.
“The camaraderie of the job is important and I can’t imagine being part of a bigger team than in policing,” said the trained tool and die maker.
“I think I will grow as a person and learn a lot.”
Const. Rui Simoes established a close friendship with Zivcic while they were at the Ontario Police College. They last spoke about six weeks ago.
“John was very funny and outgoing,” recalls Simoes, who is at 13 Division.
“We remained friends over the years and we would catch up every now and then and have dinner. He was just an awesome guy.”
Deputy Chief Peter Sloly spoke to media at St. Michael’s hospital shortly after Zivcic died.
“I would like to thank John for his tremendous service to the city,” said Sloly.
“He died doing his job to keep the public safe. It’s a sad day for all of us.”
Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack concurred with Sloly.
“This is a terrible day for the Toronto Police Service,” he said.
“Our hearts are broken for John’s family… We are going to be burying a 34-year-old police officer and there is no way to describe the tragedy and the impact that this has on the Toronto Police Service and John’s family.”
Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee said Zivcic’s tragic loss is devastating.
“We are saddened by the loss of a young life and a promising career,” Mukherjee said.
“…The loss of any police officer is a sad and difficult thing for us and for somebody who is so young to have left us is particularly sad.”
Sloly said that Chief Blair, who has been out of the country, is devastated by the news.
“He’s our leader and he wanted to be here with the family and John in his last days and hours,” Sloly added.
“That was not possible.”
Blair is heading back home and will meet with the grieving family.
Sloly joined McCormack in thanking the St. Michael’s Hospital staff for their care and support.
“They have been outstanding in their support for John and his family and in their care for the larger Toronto Police Service family,” Sloly added.
Zivcic was alone in a stealth police vehicle that was involved in a collision on Nov. 30 near Bloor St. W. & Neilson Dr. He was responding to an emergency call when the collision occurred.
Traffic Services is still investigating the collision.
Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.
Zivcic is the 41st Toronto police officer to have died in the line of duty and the first since Sgt. Ryan Russell was killed by a stolen snowplow in January 2011.
Before Russell’s death, Const. Laura Ellis, was the first female officer to die on the job on February 18, 2002. She and her partner were responding to an emergency call when they collided with another vehicle at Brimley Rd. & Huntingwood Dr., on her last shift before joining Durham Regional Police Service. She died at the scene.