Paying Tribute to Veterans and Supporting Wellness
The TPS Month of Remembrance Veteran Epaulette Program is a joint initiative between the TPS Military Veterans Wellness Program within the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit, the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
By purchasing a set of epaulettes earlier this year, TPS members helped raise more than $20,000 for veterans’ causes in Toronto.
“As an infantry soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces my career has been nothing short of rewarding, from training overseas to serving Canada at home during natural disasters,” said Constable Conor Holly, who serves as a Reserve Infanteer. “It’s really nice to know that we have this support at home and abroad and comforting to have support from your coworkers and the police service as a whole. I am proud to be a part of it.”
The Canadian Armed Forces is in full support of the month-long initiative and approved use of their camouflage pattern for the epaulettes.
“32 Canadian Brigade Group (CBG) is pleased to partner with the Toronto Police Service and show support for Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces personnel currently deployed on operations and the military families that support all of us,” said Colonel John McEwen Commander, 32 Canadian Brigade Group, the Reserve Army in Toronto, Greater Toronto Area and Niagara. “This fall, we are proud to see members of the Toronto Police Service wearing special remembrance epaulettes during the month of November.”
Since its creation in 1834, the TPS has had a strong connection with the military with many members and veterans in its ranks. They include men and women who have fought in every Canadian war from the 1866 Fenian Raids to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
“There is a proud history of service that is shared between the Canadian Armed Forces and Toronto Police Service and this campaign is a fitting reminder of the exceptional dedication to service that has been displayed by many of our members throughout our history,” said 32 Combat Engineer Regiment Corporal and TPS Constable Jordan Kowalski. “The epaulettes also let veterans in our communities know that we acknowledge their service and are here to help if they need it. The funds raised allow us to support both our own members, as well as veterans in our community.”
When on patrol, officers will field questions about the epaulettes and have an opportunity to raise awareness about remembrance, veteran issues and initiatives, and an acknowledgment of those serving in Canada and deployed overseas
During the First and Second World Wars, hundreds of Toronto Police members took a leave of absence to serve Canada, with 38 making the ultimate sacrifice. These fallen TPS members rest in thirty cemeteries across seven countries.
Over 100 TPS officers have served more recently on International Policing Peacekeeping and Peace Operations, as peacekeepers, investigators, monitors, instructors and mentors to police in conflict zones including Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Jordan, Haiti, South Sudan, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iraq. There are currently dozens of active military reservists – most of them from 32 CBG - in the TPS, and many more Veterans of military service.
"As a member of both the Toronto Police Service and 32 Brigade, this fundraising initiative means a lot to me and I am glad that this important connection is being made. I know from personal experience that support from home is beneficial to soldiers while deployed overseas,” says 32 Combat Engineer Regiment Sergeant and TPS Constable Robert Muff. “I look forward to wearing my military epaulettes for the month of November and seeing others do the same, as Veteran awareness is being proudly displayed."
TPS Constable and member of the48th Highlanders of Canada, Matt Scarlino said he hopes to start conversations with people about the military and veterans issues through the epaulettes.
“When on patrol, officers will field questions about the epaulettes and have an opportunity to raise awareness about remembrance, veteran issues and initiatives, and an acknowledgment of those serving in Canada and deployed overseas,” said Scarlino.
The epaulettes were produced by Grant Custom Products, a Canadian manufacturer of military products whose founder served in WWI
Coffee with a Cop, Veteran and Soldier Event
To further honour the Month of Remembrance, The Toronto Police Service Military Veterans Wellness Program and 52 Division will also be hosting Coffee with a Cop, Veteran and Soldier on Tuesday November 9, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
TPS members currently serving in the military, are veterans themselves, or have a personal connection to the CAF will be chatting with members of the community at Yonge and Dundas Square.
The event aims to raise awareness about Veteran wellness issues and strengthen community relations.