When a position for a School Resource Officer (SRO) with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) opened earlier this year, Constable Tanya Devries grasped the opportunity.
Devries, in her 22nd year with the Service, is assigned to St. Mother Teresa Catholic Academy and Francis Liebermann Catholic High School.
She has already made a significant impact in the two Scarborough schools.
With the support of staff and students, Devries started floor hockey and a social club.
On June 5, she was recognized by the Rotary Club of Scarborough with the “Service before Self” award.
This is the 15th year that the community-based service club has honoured a member of the city’s police, fire and emergency services.
Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins joined Rotary Club of Scarborough president Chris Mussleman in presenting the award to Devries at their weekly luncheon at the Scarboro Golf & Country Club.
“Whatever task Tanya is assigned, she does it with the utmost passion,” said Beaven-Desjardins.
When Devries learnt from a guidance counsellor of a student who was going through some tough times, she started lunchtime floor hockey at St. Mother Teresa Catholic Academy.
“I was able to fill several holes in his life which is much more fulfilling now because other staff at the school and I have taken him under our wings.”
“Tanya is someone who just goes above and beyond,” said S/Sgt. Andy Ecklund, 42 Division Community Response Unit manager. “She puts her heart and soul into it and makes the lives of students better.”
At Francis Libermann, Devries established a social club for girls who don’t have an interest in sport.
“During the lunch break, I show them educational videos and we have a discussion afterwards about leadership, self-confidence and other things,” she said. “I also mentor the girls.”
Growing up in a small Ontario town, Devries said policing was on her radar at a young age.
“When our family business was broken into, I wanted to know who the culprits were,” she pointed out. “That is where my investigative passion came from.”
The University of Toronto criminology graduate started her policing career at 33 Division.
“I was there for a short while before going to 55 Division, where I spent nearly 10 years,” she added.
Devries, who has also worked in Intelligence, Hold Up, Homicide and Major Crime units, has been at 42 Division for eight years.