When Constable Nelson Santizo’s application to be transferred to 31 Division was approved, he was excited to be returning, as a neighbourhood officer, to where he grew up.
“I have lots of fond memories of this place,” said Santizo, who migrated with his family from Guatemala and lived in the Shoreham-Driftwood area for 15 years. “Even though the hills are no longer there in the Shoreham parkette, the trees I climbed to play as a young boy are still in place.”
Some neighbourhood residents remember Santizo and his family living in the area and have welcomed him and his Shoreham-Driftwood neighbourhood partner, Constable Dalida Matias, with open arms.
“I certainly recall his family living here,” said Kellie Joiles, who founded the Shoreham Court Animators six years ago. “We are glad to have him back.”
The organization hosts an annual barbecue to raise funds to purchase backpacks and school supplies for children in the neighbourhood.
On August 14, Santizo and Matias organized a movie night as part of the community fundraiser.
Joiles, who has been a community resident for the last 32 years, welcomed the collaboration.
“We are trying to work closely with the police to clean up the neighbourhood and keep the bad guys out and the good guys in. Here we have two of the most beautiful officers I have ever met, helping us to do this. They are both open and honest and it’s so nice to have Nelson coming back to the community and giving back,” she said.
We are trying to work closely with the police to clean up the neighbourhood and keep the bad guys out and the good guys in
Emma Messam said the officers are an integral part of their community.
“When they come here, they respect us and deal with us as human beings,” said Messam, who has lived in the community for the last 15 years. “That’s all we ask for. They don’t harass anyone. They come and interact with us. Nelson and Dalida are wonderful officers who represent their organization very well.”
The bond between the community and the officers was evident as children approached the police scout car as the officers made their way to the Toronto Community Housing complex for the fundraiser.
“They know us on a one-on-one basis,” said Santizo, who joined the Service 12 years ago and has worked in 11 and 14 Divisions. “We participate in programs at local schools with our Community Response Unit officers, so we see them in their classrooms. When we are out in the community, we see them where they live and they come up to us and give us hugs and high-fives. It’s really great.”
A 10-year Service member, Matias feels the love and warmth whenever she enters the community.
“Despite the struggles that some of these people might be having, they always welcome us openly,” she said. “They make our job easier and we are grateful for that.”
Matias and Santizo were also appreciative of the support they received from area businesses who donated raffle prizes for the event.
“When we told them what it was for, they were all willing to contribute,” said Matias.
The donors included Tim Hortons, McDonald’s, No Frills, FreshCo, Cineplex Odeon, Domino Pizza and Swiss Chalet.