You need to be part of the solution and not the problem.
Those words still resonate with Toronto Police Service Staff Sergeant Stacy Clarke after she met retired detective Terry James 21 years ago.
Late Staff Inspector Jim Sneep, a long-time friend of Clarke’s mother, forged the impromptu recruitment meeting after Clarke graduated from the University of Windsor with a degree in criminology & sociology and was considering applying to law school.
“I took those powerful words to heart and that was what really made me change my career journey,” she said. “That was also the first time that I had seen a Black female officer.”
Two decades after joining the Service and making her mark in several high-profile administrative capacities, Clarke is set to expand her capabilities through one of North America’s top programs for rising leaders interested in urban issues and effecting change.
As a 2018 DiverseCity Fellowship cohort, she is among 25 emerging leaders poised to take action on issues critical to the health and prosperity of Toronto.
“This is an opportunity to work with other members of the city who are interested in making meaningful and influential change,” she said. “When we talk about change, we only have to look at our Service and the modernization it is undergoing with the partnerships and collaborations that we have with our city stakeholders. Being part of this esteemed group also provides a platform for me to expand my professional networks.”
Deputy Chief Shawna Coxon nominated Clarke for the program.
“She was an obvious choice because of her incredible leadership,” said Coxon. “It is about more than just her exceptional work experience. It is also about her character, her constant desire to learn and the way she inspires those around her. I am very proud of her because, while I know that this is an amazing opportunity for both her and the Service, I also recognize that she has so much to offer to others in the program. She’s truly a role model of excellence.”
Joining the Service in 1998, Clarke spent the early part of her career working in the Community Response Unit, Youth Bureau and Intelligence. She has served in a wide variety of uniform, investigative, training and community-oriented policing functions.
Clarke spent two years, each, in the Homicide and Divisional Policing Support Units, respectively, before being transferred to the College in 2008. After being promoted two years later, she was assigned to 13 Division as a Sergeant. In 2012, she was transferred to 22 Division where she worked in the Primary Response Unit and Detective Office.
As a member of Professional Standards, she was assigned to the Police and Community Review (PACER) project.
Promoted to Staff Sergeant in 2016, Clarke leads the Learning Development & Standards section at the College.
Now in its ninth year, this free year-long DiverseCity program exposes participants to important regional issues, provides opportunities for personal leadership development and helps them develop a strong network of civic-minded peers across sectors. It also provides access to the region’s top influencers and a unique platform for community-focused action.
The program comprises four integrated streams of activities – interactive learning sessions, network connections, a mentoring relationship and city-building projects.