Over the years, the Service has attracted some of the country’s finest athletes who have represented their country or played North American professional sports.
They include Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, who was the Most Valuable Player in the 1984 Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) junior World Cup qualifier in Trinidad & Tobago, and 43 Division Constable Ryan Sharp, drafted 15th overall by the Calgary Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League in 2004.
Constable Curtis Hibbert, assigned to 55 Division, represented Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and is the most successful gymnast in a single Commonwealth Games with seven medals – five gold – at 1990 in Auckland.
New recruits Zsofia Balazs and Jung-Yul Kim, who graduate as police constables today, join what is surely a much-longer list of high-performance athletes who are now Service members.
While on a visit to a Scarborough junior school nearly two years ago to speak about her Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games, Balazs had a brief meeting with Constable Julie Rowe.
“In our short conversation, that lasted about five minutes, she told me she admired the job I was involved in and that some day she would also like to become a police officer,” recalled Rowe, a School Resource Officer at Sir Robert L. Borden Business & Technical Institute. “I encouraged her to take the Police Foundations course. The next thing I knew, she was in the program.”
Police officers make a difference in people’s lives and that’s something I have always admired
Becoming a police officer has always been a goal for the 24-year-old.
“It was something I was interested in, even before moving to Toronto,” she said. “Police officers make a difference in people’s lives and that’s something I have always admired.”
She said the discipline and demanding preparation to become a top athlete helped her with the police college’s rigorous training.
“A couple of times, I questioned why I was there,” she said. “As challenging as the college training was, I was, however, prepared because I had gone down that road before as an athlete.”
For Kim, becoming a Toronto cop is something he’s pursued for several years.
The former offensive tackle with the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts is delighted to be part of Canada’s largest municipal police service.
“Giving back to the community is something that was instilled in me at a young age and I figured that one of the best ways to do that is through policing,” said the South Korean immigrant, who graduated from the University of Toronto in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in human physiology and human biology. “I am so excited to go into the community in my uniform and make a difference.”
I am so excited to go into the community in my uniform and make a difference
A Toronto resident since age five, Kim – now 41 – was a member of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Vanier Cup winning team in 1993 before embarking on a six-year Canadian Football League career, that included four years with the Calgary Stampeders, Grey Cup winners in 1998.
He also coached the Etobicoke Eagles, who clinched the 2006 Ontario Varsity Football League championship, and the U of T.