Showing Pride in Policing

51 Division
Sgt. Henry Dyck is the recipient of this year’s Serving With Pride 2SLGBTQ+ Visibility Award.

The provincial honour was presented at the organization’s 15th annual gala held virtually on October 16.

The 51 Division Neighbourhood Community Officer (NCO) Supervisor was recognized for being a role model, building positive relationships and raising the profile of 2SLGBTQ+ police and criminal justice professionals in the community.

“It’s wonderful to receive this award on the 15th anniversary of Serving With Pride that’s an organization that’s trying to bring LGBTQ people together to help each other as colleagues in the justice community,” Dyck said.

“I have always tried to be visible during my career with TPS. Coming out is a very personal thing, but everyone who is willing to do it and be visible makes it easier for us to do the same thing. It’s only when we are visible that we get to talk about those things that are affecting us and try and make positive change both inside the law enforcement community and in the community as a whole. It is also a statement to young people trying to be who they are that there are examples of people within law enforcement who have been willing to come out.”

Dyck dedicated the award to law enforcement officers who came out and took the difficult road of being visible before it was easy to do so, and retired Ontario Court of Appeal judge Gloria Epstein.

She led the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations that offered 151 recommendations, including a transformative new approach to the roles of both the police and communities in addressing missing persons’ cases.

The Review was prompted, mainly, by the tragic deaths of LGBTQ2S+ members in Toronto and by concerns about how Toronto Police handled the investigations into the disappearances.

“Judge Epstein brought visibility to the nature of the relationship of the LGBTQ2S community and the police,” said Dyck. “This enabled us to have those important and difficult conversations that will better all of us for the future.”

Dyck, who with retired officer Patty Retsinas co-chaired the Toronto Police LGBTQ2S+ Internal Support Network, was mentioned several times in the report released last April.

“The idea that internal support groups representing those in the Service who come from disadvantaged groups should confine themselves exclusively to internal matters is short-sighted,” Epstein wrote. “It conforms with hierarchical, closed and paramilitary police culture that silences dissent and, ultimately, may be an impediment to building better relations with marginalized and vulnerable groups.”

Supt. Peter Moreira, who recently transferred from 51 Division where he was the Unit Commander to Public Safety Operations, said Dyck deserves the accolade.

“Henry is an exceptional human being who gives more than most,” said Moreira. “I have witnessed this countless times, from having his grandmother knit clothing to give to those in need to organizing Thanksgiving meals and donating food and pies. He can always be counted on to connect with passion. He is an outstanding example not just for LGBTQ2S+ members, but all officers who want to connect with compassion.”

Dyck did graduate work in History and Ethics in Canada and the United States and was a religious minister and assistant manager at a homeless shelter before joining the Service 17 years ago.

He served 10 years at 14 Division before joining 51 Division.

In his role as NCO Supervisor in his Division, he oversees the Church-Wellesley Village, Moss Park, Regent Park, Yonge Street, St. Jamestown, Waterfront and Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) that is an innovative approach led by Toronto Police, the City of Toronto and United Way Toronto & York Region, that aims to reduce crime and victimization and improve community resiliency and well-being.

Established 15 years ago, Serving with Pride supports 2SLGBTQ+ policing, corrections and criminal justice professionals to be ‘out’ in the workplace.

It also provides a safe and supportive forum for members in Ontario to network, inspire and communicate effectively with each other.

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