Black Liaison Officer Connects to Community

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit

Community policing appeals to Constable Curtis Celestine.

After spending five years as a School Resource Officer and a stint as a Neighbourhood Officer in 55 Division where he started his career 12 years ago, Celestine is enjoying his role as the Service’s Black Liaison Officer.

Working in the Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit since June 2023, his job is to connect to Black communities in Toronto to build partnerships and trust.

The position, he said, is multi-dimensional speaking to students, community organizations and running programs.

“The entire premise of the Black Liaison Officer program is to build bridges between TPS and the city’s Black community,” Celestine said. “The only way I believe that is possible is by building meaningful partnerships with relevant community organizations. We can accomplish this by both supporting existing community-run programs and, the part I enjoy most which is creating initiatives that can benefit the community long term. I’ve spoken to troubled youths/parents at schools, women’s groups about safety issues, cultural groups about employment opportunities in TPS, created workshops, and partnered with ProAction Cops and Kids to run youth sports programs just to name a few.” 

He helped plan the Service’s most recent Black History Month event, which has been celebrated annually since 1994. He said Black history matters.

“I believe it’s a celebration that everyone should partake in because Black history is Canadian history, which is world history,” noted Celestine. “Too often, history is written by the victor and it omits the contributions of others. If you’re not well versed in the truth, you would believe that no other race has done its part in the shaping of our global society especially in terms of wealth. Yet, the majority of ‘first world’ nations were built on either the blood, sweat and tears of others, or directly from the wealth of their ‘third world’ neighbors. Education is key.”

Last summer, he ran a citywide basketball program out of the Toronto Pan Am Centre in Scarborough. It closed at the OVO Centre that is the Raptors practice facility.

“The young people were very engaged and loved it,” Celestine said.

He is planning a workshop that will give young people hands-on experience in the skilled trades.

“This will offer youths the chance to explore careers in the trades,” said Celestine, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago. “There is a lack of minority representation in the skilled trades.”

He is also teamed up with Mattis Law to run a mentorship program.

Prior to joining the Service, Celestine played basketball professionally and coached at Durham College.

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