Homemakers, health care practitioners, entrepreneurs, tradespeople and students comprise the newest Auxiliary class that graduated on July 24 at the Toronto Police College.
The 27 recruits, whose ages range from 19 to 60, bring a vast array of experiences and perspectives to Canada’s largest municipal police service whose Auxiliary program started 62 years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel.
In welcoming the newest members, Chief Mark Saunders told them they are being counted on to lead by example.
“Leading by example is crucial,” he said. “Whether you like it or not, people are looking at you when you wear this uniform. Some do because they like the uniform, but one of the things that they want to see is if that uniform that you are wearing represents the values of what that uniform stands for and they will look hard, whether you like it or not. You have chosen to rise to that challenge and you will do just well if you follow the training.”
Saunders also reminded the Auxiliary members that teamwork in law enforcement is a crucial aspect of the job.
“Once you have accepted to wear this uniform in any capacity, you no longer have the ability to say ‘I’ anymore,” he said. “You represent a team and you now represent ‘We’. In all of your training, there were tasks that involved teamwork that is essential and crucial in law enforcement in today’s environment. You will be working with a multitude of teammates. I ask that you work well and you listen because there is a lot of wisdom, knowledge and experience that comes with that relationship. Please listen and work with us and we, at the same time, get to learn from you who come with a lived experience.”
Of the 27 new recruits, nearly three-quarters have post-secondary education and 22 of them speak a language other than English.
“You bring to the Service a fairly incredible array of ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity truly reflecting the unique city that we all live in,” noted Toronto Police Services Board Chair Andy Pringle. “You are frankly one of our greatest ambassadors in the community. We are lucky to have each and every one of you. Your talents, skills and insights will serve the community and our Service well.”
The graduates included 2010 Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) summer student Jillian Fernandez who was the class valedictorian.
“I have always been interested in policing, not as a career, but as a way to give back and I discovered that through the YIPI program,” said the Canadian Credit Union Association policy analyst who has a Master’s degree in Public Service from the University of Waterloo.
Western University second-year Political Science student Jiaze (Ryan) Xu learnt about the Auxiliary program last year while doing the Heart & Stroke Foundation Big Bike Ride.
“It was through talking to paid duty officers who were escorting the riders that I discovered the program,” said Xu who migrated from China five years ago. “I figured it would offer me a great way to give back to the community while having a better view of the policing world and what they do. The concept of community policing, which I had never heard before I joined the program, is one of the things that stood out for me during the training.”
Xu aspires to be a lawyer.
At age 60, Greg Carver is the oldest graduate.
“I am doing this because I do have a genuine desire to serve the community I live and work in,” said the StrengthBox Gym owner who completed the Community Police Academy program last November. “There is also something to be said about trying new things. This is something that’s completely new for me. Opening yourself to different experiences always bring opportunities, so I never say no to things. I look at them as a challenge. What this is going to lead to, I don’t know. What I know is that I will enjoy this experience.”
Carver started interacting regularly with Toronto Police officers and civilians about five years ago.
“My business is next to a division and I ask them a lot of questions,” he said. “The more I find out, the more I want to learn. I would say that my interactions with the police definitely changed my perspective on policing. I have always been
In each graduating class, the student who demonstrates outstanding performance in the various training programs is presented with the Julian Fantino Award for their proficiency.
A former TPS Chief, Fantino was a Metro Toronto Police Auxiliary member for five years before joining the Service in 1969.
For the first time ever, four participants earned a perfect 100 per cent mark.
They were Sapandeep Singh, Karan Bhanot, Jung Su Park and Karwal Prabhjot.
In the last six decades, Auxiliary members have provided countless hours of service during the 2010 G20 Summit, papal visits in 1984 and 2002 during World Youth Day celebrations, at the 2003 Rolling Stones concert and at the sites of the 1962 propane plant explosion in Maple, the 1969 natural gas explosion in Malton and the 1979 trail derailment in Mississauga.
During the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Auxiliary officers – working 24-hour shifts – undertook 836 assignments and contributed approximately 8,370 volunteer hours.
Currently, over 340 Auxiliaries volunteer approximately 70,000 hours of their time annually to assist the Service’s community mobilization initiatives, crime prevention programs, special events, parades, searches for missing persons and emergency call outs.
To learn more about becoming an Auxiliary member, visit tps.on.ca/careers.