Michael and Marlene Byfield smile for a photograph with their son, Troy, on his graduation from the Toronto Police College as a Court Officer.
Troy will be the third family member to become a part of the Service. Both Michael and Marlene are TPS members.
Marlene is a Court Officer Shift Supervisor and Michael a mechanic. As Troy follows in his mother’s footsteps, he recalls that she discouraged him to apply when he was younger, telling him he needed to be more mature before he applied. “Like a good boy, I listened to my mother,” said Troy, laughing, adding he wanted to go into policing ever since he was in high school.
Troy, along with 29 other officers, graduated on October 31 as Court Officers. Speaking to the new graduates, Unit Commander Superintendent Diane Miller offered some words of wisdom to the class: “Was there ever a moment in your journey (in becoming Court Officers) where you felt nervous or apprehensive?” she asked the class, “It is a normal feeling when you are in an unfamiliar setting,” continued Miller “and that feeling is what the people you are (escorting) feel,” she concluded, reminding the officers they must always remember to treat prisoners they escort with respect and dignity.
Miller also reminded the class that, once they graduate, they no longer represent the name on their chest, rather the crest on their arm. Class valedictorian Brian Thierfeld echoed Miller’s words: “We started off as 30 individuals but graduate as one team,” he said to his fellow classmates.
For Monica Lopes, starting her career as Court Officer will not be her first experience with the Service. She has been a Parking Enforcement Officer (PEO)for the last nine years. She felt the need for some career development and felt courts was the best fit for her. Having to deal with the public as a PEO, Lopes said she knew she could handle the customer service aspect of her new role.
Amongst the many faces in the crowd was that of Constable Jorge Alvarez, who accompanied his wife, Rhea Alvarez, one of the graduating officers. Having a husband on the Service already was helpful, “He was somewhat of a mentor. Looking at him I could see myself doing it,” said Rhea, who said she had always had a passion for law enforcement and that being a mother she was interested in working as someone who protected the community around her.
Jorge said his wife knows the Service and its core values, and the best advice he could give her, through her training at the college, was “not to give up.” For Rhea, she learned a lot at the college and it was now time for her “to be confident enough to take knowledge and put it into practice” at her new assignment at the Finch West courts.