Justin Keehn is very passionate about policing, law, psychology and technology.
He also possesses excellent study habits and loves absorbing new information like a sponge.
Those qualities paid dividends for the new recruit who finished with a perfect 100 per cent mark in the cumulative written tests and final examination.
“I took all the time available to read into the things I was interested in and to study,” he said. “I was very committed to doing my best and I am happy with the end result.”
A graduate of the Georgian College Police Foundations program, Keehn was among 20 new graduates presented with their badges by Chief Mark Saunders at a graduation ceremony on June 7 at the Toronto Police College (TPC).
The Honour Student Award recipient, assigned to 13 Division, was an Auxiliary member for nearly two years.
Retired Superintendent Peter Lennox said Keehn’s feat should not be taken lightly.
“Achieving 100 per cent is a remarkable accomplishment,” said the former TPC unit commander, who attended the ceremony. “The amount of hard work and dedication required for an officer to be perfect on all of these tests is very significant.”
As a Child Youth & Advocacy Centre (CYAC) children’s aid worker investigating abuse, Sarah Middleton developed a growing affinity for police work about three years ago.
“It occurred to me that I might enjoy the daily challenges of policing, using my social work skills, and I could really be good at it because of my background,” she said.
With the encouragement and support of TPS investigators who are part of the CYAC program, Middleton, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Work from Ryerson University and Wilfrid Laurier University respectively, successfully completed her training and was presented with the Harry Mayzell Leadership Award.
“I was in there with them, all the time, asking questions and they were very supportive,” she said. “They gave me frank advice and assured me policing is the best job I would ever have. They helped prepare me for interviews and encouraged me when I was struggling with the physical component.”
Christopher Moyer is following in the footsteps of his father, Ian Moyer, who retired as a S/Sgt. at 55 Division, three years ago, after 35 years with the Service.
“Today is about family and carrying on tradition,” said Moyer, whose brother – Andrew Moyer – is a civilian member with the Service.
The father of an eight-year-old son was a court officer for three years prior to becoming a uniformed officer.
“I gained a lot of experience in Court Services that will help me,” added Moyer, assigned to 42 Division.
The family patriarch provided his son with lots of advice.
“Be humble, be respectful and treat people the way you would want to be treated, are some of the things I told him,” he said. “This is a wonderful day because I never thought this would happen. Policing is not something he was interested in growing up. I think his love for the profession grew over time.”
Moyer and Middleton achieved 99 per cent in the tests.
A total of 16 of the 20 recruits averaged 90 per cent.
Welcoming the graduates to the fold, Chief Mark Saunders told them to be proud of the uniform because they deserve it.
“Out of many, you rose to the top,” he said. “So, you being here is well-deserved.”
They are the first Service members to be recruited, hired and trained based on the new competencies and core values framework.
“If we are going to continue to be world leaders, we have to continue to move forward and you are going to be part of that journey,” Saunders pointed out. “These new competencies and core values represent excellence in policing. They are the principles and behaviours that your colleagues and, equally important, members of the community have told us are required to move us towards the modern and community-centric police service that we are striving to become.”
“You represent this excellence and you represent this city you are about to serve. Let your lived experiences guide you, and not define you, as you embark on your careers. If you are going to be guided by integrity and self-responsibility, if you treat all people with respect, equity and dignity, and go the extra mile to make others feel safe, supported, and included, you will succeed in one of the most challenging aspects of policing, and that’s building and maintaining trust with the public that you will serve. It won’t always be easy, but in policing the largest city in Canada and the fourth-largest in North America, you will be challenged at times by the very same people that you are sworn to serve.”
Saunders encouraged the graduates to use their top-class training to overcome those hurdles.
“The decisions you make may be difficult at times,” he added, “including whether to stop someone, to search someone, to take away someone’s liberty, or to use as much force as is necessary for the situation. Trust that you will make the right decision based on the rule of law and for the public good. Always remember that the decisions you make reflect not just you as a person or as a police officer, but on the entire police service and the profession of policing globally…You are from a generation of police officers that are the most trained, incredibly educated and the most informed. Use these skills to show the public every single day that you, too, believe and demonstrate the best of what policing has become.”
Mayor John Tory, a member of the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), told the recruits that the graduation marks the beginning of a highly respected and highly challenging public service career.
“This is a career which requires a great deal of courage, compassion and commitment,” he said. “Each of you is graduating today because you embody these noble qualities.”
TPSB Chair Andy Pringle reminded the graduates that they are now part of an impressive organization, comprising professional and dedicated members.
“It is a talented and committed team, renowned and respected internationally,” he said. “And you will soon find it is, most certainly, a family. You should feel honoured and privileged to stand among those who you now join.”
Pringle noted that the diversity of the class mirrors the city they will be serving.
“The quality of our Service is strengthened when the diversity of our great city is reflected in those who police it,” he said. “Through you, we can reach out to our different communities and neighbourhoods, speak to community members in their home languages, build and strengthen relationships and thus enhance our ever-important partnership with the public. Today, you begin your career as peace officers and gain an incredible opportunity to make a significant and lasting impact on our city. You gain the opportunity to make a personal contribution to the safety and well-being of the community that you have vowed to serve and protect.”
The recruits join the Service at a time when the organization is undergoing a transformation and major culture change.
“It is an exciting time and it is an important time,” Pringle said. “As our newest members, you will be part of this significant transformation and we welcome your contribution as to how we can serve the public most effectively and most efficiently, continually working alongside our communities in true partnership. Be proud of yourselves as you perform your valued responsibilities and take satisfaction in knowing that your role is critical in keeping our city safe, while allowing us to enjoy a quality of life that’s envied around the world.”
Acting Superintendent Steven Molyneaux, unit commander at the Toronto Police College, swore in the new recruits as police officers nearly five hours before the graduation.
“When you are in this building, there’s a sense of optimism and excitement and we see our future in you,” he said. “Our job as senior officers is to grow future leaders. You are the future leaders of this organization. You agreed to it this morning when I swore you in and it is non-negotiable.”
Molyneaux told the newcomers that graduation doesn’t mark the end of their training.
“In fact, it’s just the beginning,” he said. “You have agreed to be lifelong learners. The Service will help you with that as we partner with accredited academic institutions, but we need your commitment…You have joined the best police service in the world and you told us why. You want to make a difference, you want to help people, you want to do things that matter, you want to make a positive impact and you want to inspire…Remember, at all times, that policing is not about what you can do but, rather, what you should do.”
Amarjit and Narinder Malhi could barely contain their excitement as they watched their son - Manroop Malhi - graduate.
“I am so happy that he’s a police officer because this is something he always wanted to so,” said the officer’s father.
Malhi was a security officer and Auxiliary member for two years with 23 Division before becoming a uniformed officer.
“My dream has come through,” he said. “When I found out the Service was hiring again after the freeze was lifted, I applied and got lucky. This is a great day for me and my family.”
Leonida Sonatin was the recipient of the Military Veterans Award, Anthony Baroudi secured the Diversity & Inclusion Award and Laura Mackasey was the class valedictorian.