New Career Path for Parking Officers
After three years in the Canadian military police in Petawawa, Arden Earhart was looking for the next challenge.
Born and raised in Toronto, she wanted to come back home.
“I didn’t want to become a uniformed officer, so I looked into other options,” said the Carleton University Criminology graduate. “I was seeking a change of pace.”
She is one of 29 Parking Enforcement Officers who on December 8 at Toronto Police College.
“This is an opportunity to get to know more of the city while doing a job,” said Barhart, who applied last summer for the position.
She won the High Academic Achievement Award with a mark of 99.3%.
Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue reminded the graduates that they each bring unique lived experiences to their new role.
“Do not underestimate your value and the importance of your role in our organization,” she said. “The operational support you provide the Toronto Police Service and the people of Toronto is an invaluable and vital service.”
Parking Enforcement Officers help to recover stolen vehicles, provide language interpretation, emergency support, crime management and assist with corporate and local community policing initiatives.
“You are a highly visible, uniformed presence in our communities and you ensure public safety by fostering crime prevention,” said Pogue. “Your job is physically demanding and the work that you do to keep Toronto moving means you move with it, whether that is by foot, bicycle, motorcycle or car.
“As Parking Enforcement Officers, over time you will become intimately familiar with the streets of our City. As you cover Toronto’s 158 neighbourhoods, every day you will make judgement calls drawing from your training and knowledge of municipal by-laws in order to keep the city’s roads and people safe.”
Chair Ann Morgan said the Toronto Police Services Board recognizes the hugely important role parking enforcement officers play in the city.
“Tasked with the responsibility for the safe and orderly flow of traffic in Toronto, you maintain road safety by monitoring and enforcing parking laws on our streets,” she pointed out. “You also play a critical role in supporting Torontonians as they live, work and play on a daily basis, ensuring that parking spaces are used appropriately and for proper purposes.
“As you do your jobs interacting with members of the public each and every day, you also act as important ambassadors for our Service. Be proud of the organization you represent as you demonstrate your professionalism, integrity and work ethic in all that you do.”
The graduating class is ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse with nine members speaking more than one language.
“Through you, we can engage with our different communities and neighbourhoods, speak to community members in their home languages, create and fortify relationships and thus enhance our ever-important partnership with the public which is the critical key to all we do,” Morgan said.
A total of 26 of the 29 graduates have post-secondary education and 40 per cent of the group has extensive volunteer experience.
“We are lucky to have each one of you for your wonderful talents, your valuable skills and unique insights,” added Morgan. “You truly bring the community into the Service. Upon graduating today, you will become part of an impressive organization. You should be extremely proud and privileged to stand among those whom you now join.”
Born in Iran, Majid Ghasempour was raised in Dubai where he was a United Arab Emirates Special Forces member for five years.
“I have always had a passion for law enforcement,” the class valedictorian said. “When I came to Canada in 2014, I started to prepare for a career in that field by doing over 23 law-enforcement related courses.”
The class trained for five weeks.
“I enjoyed every moment of it,” said Ghasempour. “The trainers were excellent in terms of their clarity in delivering material and I am happy that I am now part of the Toronto Police Service family.”
The recruits training covered many subjects, including writing handwritten and electronic hand-held tickets, towing, private property, fire routes, accessible parking, considerations and by-laws.
They also received training in crisis communications, defensive tactics, tactical communication, powers of arrest, occupational health & safety and ethics training at the police college.
Supervised by Joanna Catania, the other training officers were Lori Young, Pamela Carswell, Glen Germaine, Heather Graham and Kim Nearing.
Assigned to a platoon at one of the three Parking Enforcement Units, each recruit is partnered with a Coach Officer to mentor them and allow them to hone their skills so they can confidently perform their duties.
There are now 319 Parking Enforcement Officers patrolling the city.
Learn more about becoming a Parking Enforcement Officer here.