Very few recruits would be prepared for employment with the Toronto Police Service better than Jen McGuire.
The fourth member in her family to join the Service, she will be sworn in with 33 other newcomers at a graduation ceremony on September 10 at the police college.
Her father, Jeff McGuire, spent 35 years with the Service, rising to the rank of Acting Deputy Chief in charge of specialized units before joining Niagara Regional Police Service as its Chief in June 2012. Older sister Amy McGuire is a Detective Constable at 14 Division and Laura McGuire, the second of the three children, is a civilian at 23 Division.
The youngest of the three daughters said she knew at a very young age that she would be following in the footsteps of her father and siblings.
“I wanted to be a cop since I was about two years old, because it runs in the family,” she pointed out. “I have many positive role models to follow.”
McGuire said there is one aspect of the training that her uniformed family members couldn’t prepare her for.
“They told me about the physical training and how it would be tough,” she said. “They were right. You don’t know what you are capable of until you don’t have a choice.”
A graduate of Brock University sports management program, McGuire spent almost 18 months as a United Way campaign manager and a year in Australia caring for the kids of a couple who are police officers.
“That was a very productive period in my life,” said McGuire, whose brother-in-law, Derek Leary, is assigned to the Emergency Task Force (ETF). “I learnt how to run a campaign and taking care of kids taught me a lot about responsibility. I was also able to learn more about policing from an Australian perspective. All of these things, I think, will serve me well with Toronto Police.”
Unlike McGuire, Amy Beckles was turned on to policing after joining the Service, five years ago, as a civilian with Video Services.
“Part of my job was preparing disclosure reports and I got to hear some of the cases and basically see first-hand what the public doesn’t get to see,” she said. “That was when I really became interested in policing as a career.”
Beckles spent almost two-and-a-half years with Video Service before securing permanent employment with the Property & Evidence Management Unit.
“The time spent there was valuable as I learnt a lot, but I wanted to go out into the community and make a difference as opposed to working behind the scenes.”
The product of Barbadian immigrants, Beckles was raised in Malvern, which was designated a priority neighbourhood by the provincial government.
She completed high school at St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School and graduated from York University with a human resources management degree.
Like most of the new recruits, she said the training was rigorous.
“It was extremely demanding, but it taught me never to give up no matter how hard things get,” noted Beckles.
At the University of Toronto, most of Shawn Chow’s classmates were pursuing studies that would lead them to careers in either accounting or life sciences.
“That was fine, but the recurring theme was they were all looking for 9-5 jobs,” said Chow, who did a double major in criminology and sociology. “I wanted a career where I would be doing something different and challenging every day.”
Chow made the decision to pursue policing during his second year in university.
“I chose criminology as a major at that time,” he added. “Before then, I was on a social work career path. Policing, however, seemed a better fit…I was looking for something where you can go out and effect positive change. I am not going to save the city. But I would be more than happy if I can go out there and perhaps help change the way in which someone views police and policing. That would mean a lot to me.”
Chow applied to York Regional Police Service, three years ago, when there was a hiring freeze at Toronto Police.
“When the freeze was lifted, I applied to Toronto and was unsuccessful in the first interview,” he said. “I re-interviewed and passed the second time. I am just so excited to be a member of the largest municipal police outfit in Canada.”
Christine Hardie was overwhelmed when she moved to Toronto from Ottawa two years ago.
“My first thought was this is one of the greatest cities in the world,” said the University of Ottawa graduate, who enjoys horseshoeing. “Apart from the Maritimes, where I was born and raised, the people here are so friendly.”
Deciding she was going to settle in Toronto, Hardie turned her attention to making a career choice.
“I went through several jobs and experiences that included working with the homeless and marginalized groups,” she said. “When someone mentioned I had the skills to do well in policing, I decided I was going to look at that as a career. The more I looked it, the more attractive it seemed to me as an occupation.”
Of the 34 new recruits, 38.2 per cent are visible minorities and 26.5 per cent are women.
A total of 88.2 per cent successfully completed post-secondary education and 20.6 per cent have previous military or policing experience.
They speak several languages, including Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Arabic, Cantonese, French, German, Greek, Patois and Polish.
Of the 18 new recruits who speak a second language, 11.8 per cent speak two or more languages other than English.
If you are interested in pursuing a rewarding career with the Toronto Police Service, please visit our website at www.torontopolice.on.ca/careers or call (416) 808-5646.