The excitement was unbelievable when Tony Picard told his two young sons on August 12 they would be visiting the Toronto Police Marine Unit the next day.
Steven and Liam Spice, who have health challenges, are huge supporters of Toronto Police.
“They twisted and turned the entire night,” said Picard. “They didn’t sleep and morning couldn’t come fast enough for them.”
Supt. Colin Greenaway, the Special Emergency Response Unit Commander, facilitated the visit after learning of the boys’ support for the Service.
On August 8, the Emergency Task Force and Police Dog Services were conducting a search warrant for a dangerous offender in the city’s west end when the boys’ reached out to Const. Scott Aikman who was assisting the ETF.
He took photos of the boys with one of his dogs, Karma, which is calm and gentle with children.
“I was told these boys were very supportive of Toronto Police, clapping and thanking us,” Greenaway said. “When I asked the mom what type of wish they would like, they said they would love to go to the Marine Unit. I found it very important to give them their wish. It’s great to have positive role models who are supportive of the police and it’s also great that children, who are our future, can come out and get their wish and in the process have something proactive and positive in terms of the police and community’s interaction.”
Picard said his sons have always had an affinity for city cops.
“Whenever they see a police officer in the neighbourhood, they go up to them and say, ‘Metro Cops are Tops’,” he pointed out. “When we go to Sick Kids Hospital for my young son who has a brain condition and often see doctors there, we try to go over to the Police Museum at headquarters.”
Steven Spice said he freaked out when his dad told him that he and his brother were going to the Marine Unit
“I couldn’t sleep and I kept telling my brother what we would do when we got on the boat,” said the nine-year-old who has a brain condition and has undergone two surgeries. “I like the police because they save lives, they seem nice to everyone and they capture the bad guys.”
Liam Spice, seven, suffers from Autism.
Cristal Spice relished seeing her sons’ happy.
“This is by far one of the happier days in their lives,” she noted. “Any interaction with the police is a positive experience for them, but for them to actually go on one of the police boats is really, really special. They were over the moon when they learnt they were coming and I have never seen them run so fast out of the house as they did when Supt. Greenaway showed up at our home to pick us up. When they did wake up this morning after a restless night, they were like, ‘Is he here yet and can we go now?’”
The boys also visited the Canine Unit.