Recruiting LGBTQ Community

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 12:37 p.m. December 22, 2014
Updated: 9:40 a.m. December 29, 2014

Brother and sister Ken and Michelle Woon-A-Tai have aspirations of becoming Toronto Police officers.

A woman pushes against a workout machine in a gym setting
Michelle Woon-A-Tai practices the PREP test as part of a recruiting initiative

Ken has applied while his older sister, Michelle, wants to get an idea of the physical requirements before she submits an application.

She was among a group people including members of the LBGTQ (Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay, Transgender and Questioning) community that participated in a Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police (PREP) test session at the Toronto Police College December 16.

“I want to find out where I am physically and what I need to work on to pass the test before putting in the application,” said Michelle Woon-A-Tai. “Serving and protecting the community is something I always wanted to do and policing offers the ideal platform to do that.”

Prior to migrating to Canada 10 months ago, Thomson Begnaen spent four years in the police academy and four years as a correctional officer in the Philippines.

“I want to continue to wear a uniform and I would like it to be that of Toronto Police,” he said. “From all that I have read and heard, it seems to be a very good and progressive organization.”

The PREP test is the physical fitness component of the Ontario Associations of Chiefs of Police certificate required to enter a provincial police service.

The Toronto Police Service PREP Test Part II: Tips & Techniques demonstration

Participants are required to pass a push and restraint assessment that includes tests on the push, pull and handgrip machines, moving 150-pound “Rescue Randy” a total of 7.5 metres and successfully completing the shuttle run in six minutes and 30 seconds.

The Toronto Police has collaborated with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Toronto Employment Services to attract new members to the Toronto Police Service.

“This is an initiative we started last March to attract people who might not have considered policing as an option or need some help to look at what it takes to become an officer,” said OPP recruitment Constable Shernett Williams.

The Toronto Police Service PREP Test Part I: Full timed test demonstration

Ann-Marie Henry, the Service’s Benefits & Employment unit commander, said the sessions are targeted at groups, including women, who may not necessarily have thought about pursuing a career in policing.

“Women generally have a difficult time in that they feel they can’t pass the physical test,” she said. “We are here to dispel that. It’s all about technique, initiative and purpose and our recruiters do a fantastic job in encouraging individuals – particularly female applicants – to apply, assert and be successful.”

Anyone wanting more information on how to apply and future information and PREP sessions should visit theToronto Police Careers website.

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