54 cops guarantee safe crossing for five-year-old

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 2:16 p.m. February 4, 2014
Updated: 2:57 p.m. February 4, 2014

When Const. Anthony Foster of 54 Division learned that a young boy with mobility challenges was encountering difficulty crossing the street from his home to a playing facility, he pledged to help.

A boy and a police officer smiling
Const. Anthony Foster and five-year-old Hercules Stergiou

“The first day he showed up at our home, he told our son he was going to make sure he would cross the street safely,” recalled Kristina Stergiou, whose five-year-old son, Hercules, has cerebral palsy.

“He has kept his word.”

Fearing for his safety, Stergiou lodged a complaint with the police Division last July.

“Motorists were not adhering to the stop signs and we needed some help to get our little boy across the street to the water park,” she recounted.

“Within 24 hours of going to the police station, Officer Foster came to our East York home and laid out his plan and how he was going to execute it. I was quite happy with the prompt response and the action that was going to be taken to help Hercules.”

Foster, who has spent his 14 years with the same Division, said he was happy to be able to make life a little bit easier for Hercules.

“There were issues with cars running the stop sign and speeding,” he pointed out.

“I spent a couple of weeks monitoring the stop sign and doing enforcement. I made it part of my regular routine to go by there and, once the other officers found out what was happening, they too started monitoring the crossing. We go back there continuously to ensure everything works out.

“The crossing is a bit of an issue, but Hercules has some issues with walking which makes it harder for him to get across the street quickly. With vehicles not obeying the traffic signs, it makes it even more difficult for him.”

Supt. William Wardle is extremely proud of Foster and the other officers who help to ensure the crossing is safe for the young boy and other area residents to use.

To get positive feedback from the community about the great work our officers are doing makes me feel good.

Wardle, along with Foster and S/Sgt. George Mullin of the Division’s Community Response Unit, joined the Stergiou family on Feb. 4 at a book launch at Bowmore Public School where Hercules is a student.

Principal Thelma Sambrook, who last year was named one of the top 51 head teachers in Canada by The Learning Partnership, wrote a book about Hercules and his first year in kindergarten at the accessible school.

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