In Christine Crosby’s Grade 12 Yearbook are the words, ‘I will be joining Toronto Police next year.’
Getting married and having a baby sidetracked that aspiration but she found a way to contribute to the Service and the community years later.
The 13-year 33 Division volunteer was the recipient of the John Herra Memorial Award presented to the Volunteer of the Year at the Service’s Volunteer Appreciation Night on April 10 at the Toronto Police College.
Herra was an Auxiliary member who retired as an Inspector in 1996 after 14 years of community service.
Interacting with a TPS volunteer canvassing her neighbourhood was the spark that ignited Crosby to volunteer with Canada’s largest municipal police service.
“This lady had a lanyard with a Toronto Police logo on it and when I asked her what she was doing, she said she was volunteering with 33 Division,” recalled Crosby, who is the managing director of a North York homecare service. “I said, ‘I would like to do that’ and I applied. The rest is history.”
Over the years, she has worked on numerous community safety projects, including child fingerprinting.
“I love doing that because I enjoy interacting with children,” said Crosby, who is a certified cognitive coach. “I also relish interacting with the community, particularly seniors.”
Joining the 33 Division Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) seven years ago, she was elected Civilian Co-chair in January 2016.
“Christine has been deeply committed to an involved in the health and safety of community members,” said Insp. Richard Hegedus. “She displays a positive image of the Service at all times. She also wears her CPLC uniform with pride at every event and always projects a positive and cheerful attitude, lifting the spirits of those around her.”
Crosby, who donates about 100 hours annually to the Service, maintains the 33 Division CPLC Facebook page and her social media posts support TPS members in their work. This year, she has led several ‘Purse Patrols’ and pamphlet displays at Shopper’s Drug Mart Stores to educate seniors about distraction theft. She also recently created an online Neighbourhood Watch group for her community which will have a lasting impact.
Supt. Rob Johnson, with assistance from 33 Division Crime Prevention & Community Relations Officer Const. Leslie-Anne Henry, nominated Crosby for the award.
“Christine is a very active member in her Division,” said Johnson, the 32 & 33 Divisions Unit Commander. “Because of all of her efforts, she has earned the respect and gratitude of her peers, her Church family, neighbourhood residents and her partners here at Toronto Police.”
Volunteering for the 2015 Pan Am/Parpan Am Games in the Golden Horseshoe motivated Holly Rutherford to want to do more to give back to the community.
“I lived across from the Marine Unit so I went there and asked if there was anything I could do at that unit,” she said. “That is when they told me about the formal program and I decided to become an Auxiliary member.”
Rutherford was honoured with the James Gordon Carnegie Award presented to the Auxiliary Member of the Year.
The award, which recognizes outstanding leadership skills and proven commitment to the community, honours the legacy of the organization’s first Auxiliary member whose community involvement was extensive and distinguished for four decades before his passing 21 years ago.
Assigned to 51 Division, Rutherford performs a vast range of details, including foot patrols, food drives, community BBQs and in bike registration clinics. She also has attended every CPLC meeting since becoming an Auxiliary, further strengthening bonds between the Service and the community.
In addition, she supports Traffic Services with their R.I.D.E spot checks, the mounted unit with crowd control training which is one of her favourite details and assists with the delivery of the Service’s lock down training. She is a ubiquitous fixture at the city’s global events and major details, including the Santa Claus Parade, the Chief’s Gala, the Lieutenant Governor’s Children Games and the Communion Breakfast.
“When at these details, if you need someone to step up to the plate and take on extra responsibilities, you can always rely on Holly,” said Supt. Dave Rydzik. “If you need someone to stay late at a detail, she will be there for you. If you were to ask her how her week is going, she will excitedly tell you about the events she has done and the events she’s looking forward to doing. Her level of enthusiasm and passion for what she does is infectious and she draws the very best out of her colleagues at 51 Division. If a 51 Division member ever needs a partner to work with on a local detail, Holly will, without fail, make herself available.”
Last year, Rutherford – who spent 29 years at Toronto East General Hospital (now Michael Garron Hospital), retiring as the Executive Support Co-ordinator – volunteered over 1,100 hours.
Shortly after migrating from England in 1983, Maryclare Holmes and her roommate stumbled upon an Auxiliary pamphlet.
“We went to have a look at see what it was all about,” she recounted. “We were recruited that very day.”
Holmes, a founding member of the 43 Division Auxiliary Toy Drive, was recognized with the Chief William Blair Award created in 2013 by the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit to honour an Auxiliary member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to community service.
Blair was the Service’s Chief for a decade up until April 2015.
Completing 600 hours yearly, Holmes has volunteered with many of the Service’s specialty units and in noteworthy details, including World Youth Day 2005, the Rolling Stones Concert for SARS in 2003 and Sick Kids Telethon.
“I have enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie fostered over the years,” said Holmes, who started in 22 Division and single-handedly took the lead in the body-worn camera surveys pre and post-pilot project in 2015 and 2016. “I still exchange birthday and Christmas cards with many of them. That along with working in my own community has been very important.”
S/Sgt. Rosemary Nash was the recipient of the 40-Year Auxiliary Milestone Service Award while Stephanie Clement was honoured with the Victim Services Toronto Community Service Award. They were unable to attend the event.
Also, Auxiliary Members Francis Godwin was recognized for 40 years of volunteer service, Robert Clements was honoured for donating 55 years, Hubert Weitz was praised for his 55 years of volunteerism and Daniel Hayward was celebrated for his 60 years of volunteer work.
Five, ten, 15, 20, 25 and 30-Year pins were presented to volunteers at the event that coincided with National Volunteer Week celebrations observed from April 7-14.
Chief Mark Saunders said volunteers are an integral part of the Service and their work should never be taken for granted.
“I think if we go back years before, our organization didn’t quite understand the value and the impact that you make when it comes to community safety,” he said. “So when I look at Command Officers here and Senior Officers here and so many people that are here from the Service, it shows that there’s sustainability to the relationship. It is not just worlds on a page when we say thank you. We mean it from the heart and that’s something that’s so critical.
“As we evolve, if we are going to be successful in community policing, one of the things we have to do is understand the environment that we are working within. We have to redefine what value is when it comes to the relationship with us as an organization and the public. That relationship part is the most crucial foundational piece when it comes to how you define success. Those that volunteer their time and those that are here as loved ones, I want to say thank you for everything you have done. It doesn’t go unbeknownst to us that you are doing so many other things in your lives and dealing with so many challenges. Yet, each and every time we have asked you to step up and work with us to keep the city the best and safest city to live in, you have done so day after day and moment after moment.”
Our volunteers, with their selfless dedication, genuine commitment and their enduring hard work create the foundation for healthy and safe communities
Toronto Police Services Board member Frances Nunziata said the volunteers are an extraordinary group of people who are critical to the work of the Service and the city.
“Our volunteers, with their selfless dedication, genuine commitment and their enduring hard work create the foundation for healthy and safe communities,” she noted. “We pay tribute to the way our wonderful volunteers demonstrate to the community that by working together, we have the strength and the power to meet our collective challenges and accomplish our shared goals… We owe you a great debt. Your generosity and dedication enrich our society in many different and unexpected ways… You demonstrate your care, compassion and commitment daily through your actions, giving selflessly in so many ways across this city.
The Service has about 650 volunteers and Auxiliary members that donated nearly 100,000 hours last year.
Volunteers have always been an integral part of policing, dating back to 1834 when the Service had one paid police officer and 14 volunteers.
For more information on volunteer roles with the Toronto Police Service, please visit theVolunteer Webpage