Straight out of high school, Alycia Lindberg knew she wanted to be in law enforcement.
Told that she was too young at the time and needed some experience, she joined the Canadian Armed Forces.
After seven years as a clerk with 1 Service Battalion in Edmonton, Lindberg returned to school in 2014 and earned a diploma in correctional services. She then applied and was accepted as a Court Services Special Constable.
On graduation day on December 3 at the Police College, she was among 21 badge recipients. This is the first time that badges were presented to court officers.
“This is a happy day for me,” Lindberg said.
Born and raised in Vancouver, she spent six years in Edmonton before relocating to the Greater Toronto Area earlier this year.
“I came here to join my best friend,” she said. “So much has happened in the last few months. The training in the last eight weeks to get to this point where I am graduating was awesome and I will cherish the friendships I made with an amazing group.”
In 2011, Lindberg did a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan where she carried a weapon. Based at Kandahar Airport, her job included completing arrival and departure messages and other administrative duties.
“That was a very intense experience as there were rocket attacks daily near the camp I was in,” added Lindberg, who is assigned to College Park Court.
Bradley Gervais spent six years doing security work before joining the Service.
“Since elementary school, I always wanted to be in law enforcement,” he said. “I did a lot of co-ops and volunteered with the Ontario Provincial Police just to get some experience.”
Graduating from Georgian College’s police foundations program, Gervais said the Court Services training gives Court Officers a solid base to build on.
“There are so many things I learned that will serve me well as I move forward,” he said. “But the biggest thing I am taking away is the friendships I made. When we started, we sat at different tables and didn’t really interact with each other. That changed and we became a family. That is what I will miss.”
Nearing the end of the training, Christopher Pedro was hired by Peel Regional Police. Instead of quitting to prepare for his new role as a uniformed police officer, he chose to graduate with his fellow court officers.
“When I start something, I like to see it right through to the end,” said Pedro, who will have his court officer badge for a week before turning it in.
The initial eight weeks of training included defensive tactics and academic courses.
“They learned court terminology and were trained on how to search and escort,” said Crystal Dyke, the Court Services Training Centre acting supervisor. “In Week 6, they did a weekend dynamic scenario training on the Saturday and Sunday at the Toronto East Court. They got to put all they learned into practice and it went well. This group has come a long way and it is interesting to see how much they have grown and developed since they first came in.”
The graduates now spend eight more weeks with coach officers as they learn various aspects of their new role providing security to courthouses and escorting prisoners.
Graduates include: Peter Wambui, Cam Quyen Mac, Tiffany Allen, Andrea Sargeant, Jacob Wilson, Gabriel DaSilva, Dustin McInroy, Kevin Ramkissoon, Michael Amenta, Su Zhen Huang, Cassandra Ouellet, Jay Sharma, Alexis Psomiadis, Kristyn Rigby, Manojraj Francis-Saviour, Chaojie Li, Michael Postiglione who had the highest overall marks in the class at 97% and Carla Laird who was the class valedictorian.
Deputy Chief Shawna Coxon asked the class to wear their uniform with pride remembering it represents professionalism, compassion, integrity and excellence.
“The role you’ve chosen is meaningful but at times will be difficult,” Coxon said. “You’ll be dealing with people at the worst points of their lives… I ask that you act with compassion even at times when it’s difficult to do so.”
Toronto Police Services Board member Ken Jeffers said the class is very qualified and well-equipped to serve their community.
“You bring a wide and rich range of other experiences to this dynamic city,” Jeffers said. “I know this too with stand you in good stead as you embark on your careers in public service.”
Court Services Acting Manager Carol Gowanlock acknowledged Talent Acquisition for finding the best candidates for the job as well as the work of Court Services Training Seciton as well as the leadership of Toronto Police College Acting Supt. Steven Molyneaux, who is retiring from the Service after 35 years.
With this graduating class, there are now 545 court officers, comprising 380 full-time and 165 part-time.
“We are still recruiting,” said Dyke, who joined Court Services 12 years ago. A new class begins training in February.
For more information on careers with the Toronto Police Service, visit tps.on.ca/careers