Colleagues, family and friends paid tribute on September 12 to Constable Ojo Tewogbade, who has retired after 35 years with the Service.
“You can retire from the job, but you can’t retire from the police family,” Chief Bill Blair told Ojo and the audience of over 400 that had gathered at his send-off.
Starting as a parking control officer, he became a constable a decade later and was assigned to 13 Division, where he spent his entire career, and made a huge impact in that community.
Tewogbade has been actively engaged in the annual Xmas dinner for the needy, the Camp Jumoke walk-a-thon for sickle cell research and the Meals on Wheels program for the elderly. He also engages new immigrants on domestic violence issues and spearheads initiatives that have paved the way for computer access for young people in the city.
In 2000, he launched the 13 Division youth outreach program that provides an outlet for young people to play sports and learn life skills. Several of the participants and program mentors are now Service members.
The following year, he started a Black History Month celebration with the support of 13 Division, the St. James British Methodist Episcopal church and community members.
Long before any sociologist or criminologist put to paper what community policing is all about, you were ahead of the game.
Deputy Chiefs Peter Sloly and Mark Saunders, Staff Superintendent Richard Stubbings and Superintendent Scott Baptist attended the retirement ceremony and thanked Tewogbade for his outstanding service to the organization.
“The definition of a pioneer, for me, is someone who walks the journey on his own and starts it for many others to follow,” said Saunders. “Long before any sociologist or criminologist put to paper what community policing is all about, you were ahead of the game. Through the leadership, commitment and example that you set, you have put our Service on the map as one of the world leaders when it comes to community policing and understanding its importance. You have such a great impact on communities, people and, most importantly the Toronto Police Service.”
Tewogbade, who hold a theology degree and is an ordained minister, promises that he will remain engaged in the Black History Month event that recognizes professional and community service achievements. He has also applied to be a Toronto Police junior chaplain.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in this community and I am not going to walk away from it, even though I have retired from the Service,” he said. “I relished my time on the job, the people I worked with and the community I served and I will continue to give back in a volunteer capacity. Coming from where I came from, I appreciate everything I have accomplished in Canada.”
In 2006, Tewogbade made history by becoming the first constable to be recognized with a Police Leadership Forum Award, presented annually, since 1999, to a Canadian police officer who fosters awareness and an understanding of the changing leadership roles and recognizes ethnical and exemplary performance in policing.
He’s also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the ProAction Jack Sinclair, Canadian Urban Institute Local Heroes, June Callwood Outstanding Achievement, Bud Knight and Planet Africa awards.