Honouring John Zivcic's Legacy

22 Division
Police Dog Services

A memorial tree honouring the legacy of Constable John Zivcic who died in the line of duty was unveiled on September 15 alongside his police dog namesake.

The 22 Division officer succumbed to his injuries in early December 2013 just two days after he was involved in a collision on Bloor St. W. near Neilson Dr. The tree was planted last November at the collision site with a marker with his name and badge number.

22 Division Inspector Anthony Paoletta said Zivcic’s legacy lives on.

“This lilac tree planted in John’s honour is very significant and will have special meaning for many people,” he said, of the six year veteran who served on B platoon. “Most importantly, this tree will serve as a constant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice John made in protecting the citizens of Toronto. It will also provide some solace and comfort knowing that John’s legacy will continue to flourish and bloom.”

Paoletta said Zivcic’s friends and colleagues at the Division will cherish the memories they made with him.

“They will reflect on the times they had together with him, they will remember his love for his family, his commitment to policing and to the community here in South Etobicoke, his passion for fitness and his zest for life,” he said.

police dog
Police Dog Zee was named in honour of Constable John Zivcic who died in the line of duty Photo: Brent Smyth

Zivcic’s friend, Constable Lydia Cesar, of Police Dog Services, conceived the idea for the memorial that was supported by Superintendent Kelly Skinner.

“The tree is big and in full bloom just like John’s personality,” she said. “This is the perfect match for him.”

Cesar knew Zivcic since age 14 when she met him and his brother, Tom, at a gym.

She named her canine partner, Zee, in Zivcic’s honour.

They are the Service’s only all-female K9 team

“When I got into the Canine unit, I knew I wanted John to have a namesake,” said Cesar. “Hopefully, Zee and I will be able to pick up where John left off and make him proud.”

Zee is an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois.

Group of people with dog
Tom Zivcic, his wife Mira and their son Branimir, Constable Lydia Cesar and police dog Zee, Angie Martin (John’s sister) and her daughter Lila Photo: Brent Smyth

Hamilton Police Service Chief Frank Bergen was the 22 Division Unit Commander when Zivcic lost his life.

“What you don’t see with this tree is the significant root system that will absolutely grow and thrive and allow us all to have the beauty that it presents,” he noted. “The root system is what sustains us 10 years later as we memorialize John. Our uniform gives us authority, but it is our behaviuour that gets us our respect. John’s behaviour is a reminder that I carry on every day in my deployment. I still carry his memorial card in my hat.”

On behalf of his family, Zivcic’s brother thanked Toronto Police for the memorial.

“To all of you that have stayed in touch us over the last 10 years, we thank you and it means a ton to us,” said Tom Zivcic. “We thank Lydia for spearheading this, Superintendent Skinner for her support, Inspector Paoletta for the kind words and Frank Bergen who calls on John’s birthday, at Christmas and on other occasions.”

Black armband on a police officer
A memorial armband worn in honour of Constbale John Zivcic Photo: Brenth Smyth


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