Many career and education paths led the newest group of Booking Officers to their new role.
For Balpreet Jhajj, the role is a natural progression of his time at the Toronto Police Service, who would like to work towards becoming a police officer.
After nearly two years as a Parking Enforcement Officer (PEO), he applied to become a Booking Officer.
“I gained some skills and experience as a PEO and I wanted to move to another challenge,” said Jhajj who is among six new recruits who graduate on April 14. “I feel I am ready for the new role in am in.”
Assigned to Divisions to support frontline officers, Booking Offciers process individuals arrested by police by taking fingerprints and photos and safely managing prisoners in custody.
For Jhajj, working in the insurance sector as a claims adjustor sparked his interest in policing.
“I worked on auto and injury claims and it was during that time that I encountered police reports that helped insurance companies make meaningful and informed decisions as to how they would like to adjudicate a claim,” he said. “That’s when I really started to get interested in policing.”
Completing an undergraduate degree in Electronics before migrating from India 14 years ago, Jhajj finished a Business & Marketing course at Sheridan College.
“I wanted to enhance my skills and become more marketable,” he said. “Most of the work I did for my degree program in India was theoretical. In addition to preparing me for the job market in Canada, the Sheridan program helped improve my communication skills.”
Jhajj is assigned to 51 Division.
In high school, Amardeep Manak started thinking about policing as a career.
“I didn’t have a career goal and my guidance counselors suggested I look at policing,” the Lincoln Alexander Secondary School graduate noted. “I did and soon realized the career is more than what it seemed. There are so many options and tasks and that really resonated with me.”
Manak was a security guard at Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital for almost a year before applying to Toronto Police.
He said the training was intense and at times overwhelming.
“Right at the start, we had to do virtual training for a week which was a new experience for me,” Manak, who is assigned to 52 Division, said. “I felt I absorbed as much as I could have if I was in a classroom.”
Jose Agudelo learned of the Booking Officer position through his girlfriend’s father who is a retired Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer.
“He took me under his wing and told me about the Special Constable role and how it can be a great way to make a start if I wanted to become a uniformed officer,” he said. “I started to do some research and, on the Toronto Police website, saw there were openings.”
Agudelo, who will work at 14 Division, completed the Police Foundations program at Sheridan College and the Forensic Identification course at Humber College.
“My professors were also very helpful in terms of helping me craft a resume,” he said.
Prior to joining the Service, Agudelo worked in traffic enforcement at Toronto Pearson International Airport, dabbled in construction and was a Loss Prevention officer for a private company.
Leaving Ghana 12 years ago, Martinson Arhen aspired to be in law enforcement.
He was a security guard and Woodbine Race Track and private investigator prior to joining the Service.
“When this opportunity for a Booker came up, I jumped at it,” said Arhen who graduated from the University of Guelph/Humber Justice Studies program. “I am so happy to be with Toronto Police.”
The training, Arhen said, was first-class.
“The instructors were fantastic in terms of giving us all the training we need to be effective and efficient,” he added. “Because of the small class size, we also got a lot accomplished.”
Arhen is assigned to 14 Division.
With a passion for serving and protecting, Luke Nigli is now in the right place.
“Most of my previous work experience was in security,” said the former University of Toronto parking enforcement officer who was born in Dubai. “My goal is to become a uniformed officer. But if I don’t achieve that, I will be the best Booking Officer possible. Right now, this is the perfect place for me to be at.”
Manak is going to 52 Division.
As a reservist with the Canadian Armed Forces for almost six years, Vincent Ng feels he can thrive in his new role.
“I also was in customer service which meant I had a lot a interaction with community members which is something that is necessary in policing today,” said the former PlayStation Field Marketing Representative and Best Buy Canada and Sony Sales representative.
The small class size appealed to Ng who has an undergraduate degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto.
“I didn’t expect it to be that small coming in,” he said. “We were able to collaborate as a group and get a lot of things done.
Ng is assigned to 55 Division.