Firefighting was at the top of Michael Clarke’s career goals when his father suggested he join the Toronto Police Auxiliary program to secure a meaningful volunteer experience.
While donating hundreds of hours at 42 Division in five years, Clarke’s priorities changed.
He really wanted to be a Toronto police officer.
Last week, the married father of a one-month old baby, Nolan, achieved his goal when he was among 89 new recruits presented with their badges at the swearing-in ceremony at the Toronto Police College January 8. To make the occasion even more special, Clarke received his badge from his father – retired Superintendent Bob Clarke.
“I have always looked up to my father,” said the proud son. “He’s my mentor and role model. Nothing makes me happier than following in his footsteps. This is a very special moment for our entire family.”
Clarke is assigned to 42 Division, where his dad was the unit commander for several years.
“I am lucky and very fortunate because I am going to a Division and community that I am very familiar with,” he said.
The rookie was attracted to firefighting after a co-op stint with the Markham Fire & Emergency Services in Grade Nine.
“He enjoyed it tremendously, to the point where that was the job he was looking at,” recalled his father, who spent 39 years with the Service before retiring in 2012. “I suggested a stint with our Auxiliary program would help with his application for the fire service when the time came. He, however, loved being around police officers and was smitten.”
I told him he’s in the Service to help people and he should be himself always.
The family patriarch is excited his son has been assigned to 42 Division.
“He knows the area, the community and some of the people who are still at the station,” he added. “It’s a familiar territory and it will help make his transition seamless.”
Clarke, whose nephew Constable Jerry Clarke is at 43 Division, shared some advice he offered his son.
“I let him know that, while the law enforcement aspect of policing is extremely important, crime prevention and community service are even more critical,” he said. “I told him he’s in the Service to help people and he should be himself always.”
Michael Clarke’s twin brother, Stephen, is a welder.
“I don’t think there is any chance of him becoming a police officer,” said his father. “He enjoys what he’s doing and is quite proud of his occupation the same way I am.”
On December 6, Clarke's wife gave birth to their first child.
“I was happy that I had completed my training at the Ontario Police College and was on hand to witness the birth,” the new dad said. “This is an exciting time for me and my family.”