S/Sgt. Frank Partridge couldn’t have asked for a better 64th birthday present.
The outgoing Toronto Police Service member got the opportunity to patrol 42 Division with his son, Const. David Partridge, just days before his retirement on December 31.
“I get to cap off a long career in a very positive way,” said Partridge, who joined the Service in November 1979. “I get to be with my son working at the Divisional level. I am leaving happy and very contented.”
Partridge is the last of the Service’s original Public Order Unit (POU) members. The unit was formed in 1988 ahead of the G-7 Summit in Toronto to deal with crowd control. There were nearly 240 members at the start.
“To be honest, I volunteered to join that unit not knowing what I was getting into,” he said. “After 31 years, I can say that was the love of my professional career. Working with that unit enhanced my understanding of true discipline. We are trained to work as a team under the direction and supervision of senior officers.”
Partridge was on duty during the riot at Queen’s Park on June 15, 2000. Dozens of officers and protestors as well as nine police horses were injured during the melee.
“I can remember that day as if it was yesterday,” he said. “A protestor with a huge two by four swung at me and I took a direct hit on my left collar bone. If I wasn’t wearing body armour, the bone would have broken. With assistance from Community Response Unit members and the Mounted Unit in particular, we quickly regrouped and were able to clear the crowd back from the Queen’s Park entrance and prevent any more injuries."
Partridge’s son, who served in Afghanistan during his four years with the Canadian Military Infantry, joined the Service in 2008 and became a POU member three years later. Public Order officers are called out to large-scale events and demonstrations to help keep the peace.
A Corrections Officer for about 18 months prior to becoming a police officer, the elder Partridge was assigned to 13 Division, Traffic and 42 Division before going to 32 Division in 2005.
“I really relished my time there,” he said. “They treated me better than I deserve. I say that because they understood the stress I was going through when my son was on active duty in Afghanistan. Some of the officers there were Army veterans and they reached out to me. The guys at 32 and the people I have encountered during this journey are what I am going to miss the most now that my policing career is at an end.”
Partridge, who has been married for 39 years, will be busy in retirement planning on spending time with his family, including a fourth grandchild on the way.
“I have things to do, but I will find time to come back every now and again and visit my police family.”