Police Week Celebrates Community Partnerships
Toronto Police Service members took the opportunity to play with kids and young adults to kick off Police Week.
Over 200 children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities took part in the 39th edition of the Toronto Police Games at Variety Village on May 13 at the start of the week that celebrates police and community partnerships.
Variety Village President and CEO of Variety Village Karen Stintz says the Games are a perfect embodiment of Police Week.
“It’s really special to be able to bring the police and the community together, to deepen our understanding of how we do need to work together in order to benefit our communities,” Stintz said.
Superintendent Kim O’Toole, who is on the organizing committee and has been volunteering at the games for over 25 years, couldn’t be prouder of the event that continues to mean so much to both Service and community members.
“We have Service volunteers who come every year and bring their kids, they bring their spouses and volunteer as families every year,” said O’Toole, of TPS members making up many of the 100-plus volunteers.
“It’s a big family. The participants know the volunteers, the volunteers know the participants, and it’s a special feeling of kinship, support and acceptance.”
Constable Ian Ringle, of 51 Division, has been volunteering for the past 12 years, even before becoming a police officer.
“It’s great, you grow up with them, and see them grow and progress through the years, and it’s probably my favourite day of the year,” he said. “It’s just happiness.”
Everyone also had the chance to check out police vehicles and meet officers at an outdoor display.
Chief Myron Demkiw said the Games are part of the great work that sworn and civilian Service members do all year.
“The Children’s Games is one of the many examples of the teamwork between our Service and local partners and it demonstrates the positive impact programs like these have in our communities. When we work together, we can accomplish great things,” the Chief said.
Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit Superintendent LeeAnn Papizewski said everyone benefits from the day.
“Learning from each other, supporting and sharing our experiences together and building lasting connections that are mutually meaningful and purposeful is something we take away from the Children’s Games each year.”