While at Canada’s Wonderland nearly eight years ago, Stacey Gordon-Jiggins' fun day in the sun was briefly interrupted by a little girl.
“You must be a police officer,” were the first words out of her mouth, she recalled. “I said ‘no’ and then asked her why she would say that and she replied that she could tell because of the way I walk and the confidence I exuded.”
After telling the girl that she was a professional volleyball player, Gordon-Jiggins continued enjoying the rides and roller coasters at the amusement park.
“A seed was, however, planted in my head and I started thinking I would be a good police officer,” she said. “I thought I would love the job and the everyday variety of meeting new people and dealing with different things. It was the same as volleyball, that allowed me to travel to somewhere different and play with different teammates.”
When her pro volleyball career ended two years ago, Gordon-Jiggins applied to become a Toronto Police officer. She is among 88 new recruits who will graduate on January 8.
The law enforcement newcomer is confident she has the attributes to be an effective police officer.
“I am very demanding on myself, I am very physical and an emotionally strong person,” she said. “I also love interacting with people and I have always been a leader.”
A graduate of Oshawa’s Eastdale Collegiate & Vocational Institute, Gordon-Jiggins earned a human ecology and education degree from Ohio State University, where she is the only four-time All-American in the program’s history.
The university’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2003 and 2005, as well as the 2004 Big Ten Player of the Year, Gordon-Jiggins still holds records at Ohio State for kills (2,798), kills per game (6.12), digs (1,572), points (3,094.5) and points per game (6.77) and is the all-time Big Ten leader and third in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCA) history with 2,978 kills.
In her first year of eligibility, she was inducted into Ohio State’s Sports Hall of Fame, joining such distinguished alumni as Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in track and field at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and golfer Jack Nicklaus.
"Being recognized in the company of great athletes who have come from Ohio State University is definitely an honor,” noted Gordon-Jiggins, who plans to watch the Ohio State and Oregon national football championship game on January 12, if she’s not working. “The memories I have at that institution are with me every day and this honor makes me even more proud to be a Buckeye.”
After leaving Ohio State, Gordon-Jiggins played professionally for 11 years in Puerto Rico, Turkey, Spain and Azerbaijan and represented Canada on 60 occasions from 2002-2007.
She also excelled in the classroom as a five-time Dean’s List student, four-time Ohio State student-athlete and three-time Academic All-Big Ten.
Michael Lum-Walker found himself in policing after pursuing a business degree and a lacrosse career.
His aspiration of playing professional sport was thwarted when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on the first day of training camp in 2012, after being picked by the Toronto Rock in the second round of the National Lacrosse League (NLL).
Missing the 2013 season, the defenceman turned his attention to a policing career.
“I went to school for business, but I realized that was not what I wanted to do,” said the Brock University Business Administration graduate. “I, however, had a mentor in Dan Ladouceur (Toronto Rock assistant coach) who works with Durham Regional Police and is a great role model for me.”
Ladouceur will present Lum-Walker with his badge on graduation day.
The new recruit, whose great grandfather Fred Walker was a Toronto officer, said he enjoyed the rigorous preparation at the college and is set to walk the beat.
“The training was intense, but being an athlete helped me get through it,” he said.
Lum-Walker is the second Service member to be drafted by the NLL.
Drafted 15th overall by the Calgary Roughnecks in 2004, Constable Ryan Sharp spent four seasons with the Minnesota Swarm before being traded to the Toronto Rock in 2011.