Matt Daigle is excited to once again don the Toronto Police patch on his shoulder and serve the city.
He was re-hired by the Service this year, one of 10 officers hired from other police services, after initially joining in 1999.
“Stepping back is like returning to family,” said Daigle, who works in 14 Division as a Primary Response Officer responding to emergency and non-emergency calls for service. “I was welcomed with open arms and everyone was supportive of my return. It was as if I never left. Both sworn and civilian members were very accommodating and did everything to ensure that my transition was seamless.”
Back in the fold, Daigle is ready to serve without any expectations.
“Just being able to put this uniform on and say I am a Toronto Police Service (TPS) member and serve the community is quite an achievement,” he said. “I just want to re-immerse myself in the community and serve with pride and dignity. ”
Eager to return to policing, Daigle looked first to Toronto. His father, Glen, retired from the Service in 2001 after 27 years on the job.
“In my mind, Toronto Police was the only Service I was going to work with,” he said. “TPS is a policing leader, especially with the all the transformation that’s taking place. To be part of this process is huge. I looked at the other Services that tried to recruit me through a Toronto Police lens. They are all fantastic organizations, but they lack the uniqueness of Toronto Police.”
Officers seeking re-entry to Toronto Police and members of other police services who want to join the organization are required to train for approximately five weeks at the Toronto Police College.
“I did my training at the old C.O. Bick College, so coming to this state-of-the-art facility was a new and very refreshing experience,” said Daigle. “The training is exceptional. In fact, that was something that fuelled my drive to get back here. Toronto Police has leaders and experts in specific fields. The focus of the training was on community-centric policing, which I embrace. I love to be on foot and in the community getting to know who my stakeholders are.”
Daigle is assigned to 14 Division. He spent nine years in 52 Division in the past in Community Response and investigative roles. During his hiatus from the Service, he spent a few years in the private sector before attempting to return three years ago. “There was a hiring freeze at the time,” Daigle recalled. “But while I was away, I committed myself to getting better and becoming a well-rounded officer when I returned.”
Daigle returned to meet a few familiar faces, including Sgt. Chris Gordon, who he worked with at 52 Division.
“Matt spoke to me about returning to the organization and I realized how serious he was when he submitted his resume,” said Gordon, who is a member of the Services’ Talent Acquisition Team that recruits officers. “He is very community-focused and he has leadership qualities. There’s no doubt in my mind that he is going to be an asset to our Service.”
For Allan Shaw, a veteran Cape Breton Regional Police (CBRP) Officer, taking a policing course in Toronto opened his eyes to the opportunities within the Service. “Is Toronto Police hiring?” he asked of an instructor. During the lunch break at the Toronto Police College, Shaw went on the Service’s website, and immediately submitted his resume.
A few weeks later, he came to Toronto for an interview and psychological testing. He was hired in June after 19 years with CBRP, which has 205 uniformed members policing a population of nearly 100,000. Shaw said the decision to leave Cape Breton where he and his wife were born and raised was tough.
“I was excited when I saw Toronto Police was hiring because the city and the province has a lot to offer,” he said. “We have vacationed in Toronto and it’s our belief that the quality of life here will benefit us and our three little girls.”
Assigned to 41 Division, Shaw is also excited about the myriad of opportunities the Toronto Police offers him.
“I worked with officers in Cape Breton, who had served with Toronto Police and they all spoke highly of the Service, the opportunities that are here and the exceptional experience they had,” he said.
The holder of two degrees and a Certificate in Public Administration, Shaw says new learning opportunities are important to him. He is a Drug Recognition Expert, a Level 3 Collision Analyst and a Scenes of Crime Officer. He was also a member of Cape Breton’s integrated drug unit for five years. Shaw was enrolled in an Occupational Health and Safety certificate program prior to joining TPS.
“I will resume the program as soon as my family is settled here,” he said, noting that his former Service has been an exceptional employer. “The Cape Breton Service supported the concept of life-long learning.”
A/Inspector Jack Gurr said the Service is making a concerted effort to attract officers from other police services and those interested in returning to TPS after having to leave for personal reasons. “Laterals fill an immediate need for our platoons,” he said. “They come with a lot of experience.”
“I am also very excited to tell you that in order to be competitive with many other police services in Ontario, our Service is now offering a new incentive. Currently serving Canadian police officers hired by TPS will have their years of service recognized toward their vacation entitlement," Gurr said.
Therefore, if a Canadian police officer has 11 years of continuous service, at the time of hire by the TPS, they will be entitled to the same amount of vacation time as a TPS officer with 11 years of service.
" We are very excited about this as we understand the value these officers inject into our ranks,” said Gurr.
Of the 10 recent lateral hires, Chris White – who is at 51 Division – joins Daigle as a returning Toronto officer. He spent several years with the Office of the Fire Marshal & Emergency Management.
“As a previous Fire Marshall, Chris was coordinating officers at fire crime scenes and Allan brings amazing experience from a completely different part of Canada,” said Gurr, who joined TPS in 1999 after two and a half years with Peel Regional Police Service.
During the training program, the laterals are engaged in in-service training and firearm re-qualification along with many other areas to get them up to speed in the way we do things in Toronto.
For more information on Lateral transfers, please visit tps.on.ca/careers or contact Sgt. Chris Gordon at 416-808-7150.