Growing up in northern Ontario, Staff Sergeant Nancy McLean didn’t believe she could be a police officer.
On October 3, she was among 33 Service members recognized with commemorative watches to mark 25 years’ service.
“I am 5-foot-3 and the majority of the officers from where I am from in Elliott Lake were big, sturdy and male,” she said.
While working for the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division decades ago, she met retired 14 Division Sergeant Tim Zayak.
“He told me I could be anything I want to be, including a cop, so I threw my hat in the ring and made it happen,” said McLean.
After 14 years at 14 Division, she was promoted in 2007 and assigned to 51 Division where she spent a year in the Primary Response Unit and seven years in the Community Response Unit. She was promoted to Staff Sergeant in 2016 and posted to 52 Division.
“This job has been so much fun,” McLean said. “The most fulfilling aspect is interacting with community members and the people I work with. I am in this for the long haul.”
For over 25 years, Craig Smyth has commuted daily from his Hamilton home to downtown Toronto where he leads the Video Production Section of Corporate Communications.
It has been worth it.
Recruited from Niagara Regional Police Service where he spent four years after graduating from Mohawk College, Smyth has enjoyed making a significant contribution to the Service creating video productions that span crime prevention to officer safety training.
Of the hundreds of law enforcement videos he has produced over the years, the ‘Move Over: Protect Us All’ video released in 2006 ranks at the top of his projects.
“That was perhaps the biggest and most complex production we have ever undertaken,” Smyth recalls. “It involved working with multiple police and emergency agencies as well as external organizations. And like so many videos we produce, it is satisfying to know that it contributed to both officer and community safety.”
Smyth has also adapted and innovated along the way, seeking out new technologies as they have emerged.
“When I started in 1992, there was no way one would have imagined that the technology would have evolved the way it has,” he said.“At the time, we were using three-quarter inch video tape which was big and cumbersome. We copied videos onto VHS and distributed them through the internal mail system. That was labour-intensive and time-consuming. Now, we are utilizing smaller, streamlined HD equipment and transmitting digital video through the network. Social media has allowed us to reach members of all of our communities, something we certainly couldn’t do back then.”
He also relished his time as part of two bid committees trying to bring the World Police & Fire Games to Toronto in 2015 and 2017.
“I enjoyed working with a special group of people for a common cause,” Smyth said.
Smyth’s wife of 28 years, Diane Smyth, attended the commemorative ceremony at the Old Mill.
“I am very proud of him,” she said. “Despite the long commute to work, he gets up daily without complaining ready to contribute to Toronto Police.”
The couple has two children.
The Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) hosts the celebration, which started in 1982.
“To spend a quarter of a century with an organization like this, or any organization for that matter, is undoubtedly a tremendous achievement,” said TPSB Chair Andy Pringle. “I believe that the quality of an organization is really defined by the calibre of the people it attracts. I think we are extremely fortunate to have the people we have. It is because of your countless contributions, knowledge and expertise that the Service is what it is. You have allowed us to maintain a position of eminence.”
Chief Mark Saunders also thanked the longstanding Service members for their loyalty and remarkable contributions.
“When you look at what’s going on in urban centres across North America and then you look at the footprint of Toronto and the things that we have done, we are far ahead of most others,” he said. “That is because of the strength and tremendous dedication you have put forward, understanding the importance of working with communities and not against them.
“I still remember when I first got on and what it felt like when you heard people actually worked for 25 years and how daunting it was. That seemed like forever and forever. You are now part of that ‘Forever Club.’ It’s a badge of honour… As you go forward, share your knowledge and wisdom.”
Other uniformed members honoured were S/Sgt. Eduardo Wulff, D/Sgt. Leah Gilfoy, Sgts. Samuel Samm and Chung Wong and Constables Laurence Barrett, Richard Cashmore, Troy Culley, Susan Mundy and Valerie Francis (retired).
Civilians honoured were: Denise Baker, Cheryl Bremner, Lidija Craighill, Ann D’Amico, Rosaria Gjoni, Jeffrey Johnson, Mark Lang, Loreta Pascual, Nelia Pereira, Henedina Salcedo, Anthony Soloperto, Dana Styra, Terry Wiederhold and retirees Glyne Rollock, Roshdy Rofaiel and Diane Francis.
Auxiliary S/Sgt. Charlemagne Otto and Auxiliary
Constables Errol Walters, Alastair Wedderspoon, Christopher Petranik and Harry
Shore were also recognized for their long service.