Volunteer Awards Show TPS' Best
Despite a few negative interactions with police nearly five decades ago, Melville D’Mello chooses to dwell on the positive ones.
“The officers listened to what I had to say and treated me with respect,” he said. “I remember that and when the time came for me to make a decision what organization I would like to volunteer with and give back to community, Toronto Police Service (TPS) was it.”
Auxiliary Sergeant D’Mello was recognized with the Chief’s Award at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Night at the Toronto Police College (TPC) on April 20.
The Award was created in 2013 by the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit (CPEU) to honour an Auxiliary member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to community service.
For D’Mello who migrated from Kenya in 1972, the award is a shared honour.
“This is also for the community partners that I have worked with me and my team members,” he pointed out.
After graduating from TPC in April 2008, D’Mello was assigned to 43 Division. He was promoted to Sergeant five year later and transferred to 42 Division.
Based on community feedback, he initiated a Babysitting Certificate Course to engage young people and provide them with valuable life skills and an opportunity to work collaboratively with TPS members.
Starting in Malvern and L’Amoreaux, the course is now offered citywide with more than 100 young people receiving training so far.
“For many young Auxiliary members, Mel is a mentor, shining example and an inspiration,” said Auxiliary Coordinator Constable Andrew Rosbrook. “Always energetic, imaginative and enthusiastic, he is truly unique and an irreplaceable member of the Auxiliary program and a worthy recipient of the Chief’s Award.”
TPS Chief Myron Demkiw said volunteers are a vital part of the organization’s efforts to build safe and healthy communities.
“For the Toronto Police Service, this partnership is the cornerstone of our model of community-based policing,” he said. “Everyone who volunteers with us do so because of a genuine and unfailing commitment to the quality of life within our neighbourhoods.
“You willingly contribute significant time and energy to this important cause, often at a personal cost to you as you make sacrifices in your work life or family commitments, frequently and without complaint. When we unite in our efforts to enhance community safety, we build strong and healthy neighbourhoods along with powerful and productive alliances.”
The Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) funds volunteer programs and support many of its initiatives.
Vice-Chair Frances Nunziata said volunteers, through their dedication, selflessness and compassion, weave the foundation for healthy, kind and safe communities.
“We owe you a rich debt,” she said. “Your commitment and generosity enrich our society in a variety of incredible ways. You invigorate our communities and infuse them with kindness. You share information and engage our communities, connecting us to segments we would not ordinarily reach. You demonstrate your caring, your compassion and your commitment daily through your actions, giving selflessly in so many ways across the city.”
With the Board and the Service modernizing their approach to policing, Nunziata said policing for the community with the community is one of the cornerstones.
“You exemplify this philosophy,” the Toronto City Councillor added. “Now, more than ever, the role you play in community safety is a pivotal one.”
TPS Chinese Community Consultative Committee Co-Chair Alex Yuan and Chiefs Youth Advisory Committee (CYAC) member Daniel Araujo were the recipients of the John Herra Memorial Award presented to community volunteers who display leadership and commitment.
Herra, a Toronto Police Service Auxiliary officer, retired as an Inspector in 1996 after 14 years of community service.
With Superintendent Warren Wilson who is the other Chair, the Chinese CCC addresses concerns and issues pertaining to hate crime, road safety, human trafficking and gun & gang violence.
“Alex leadership has guided us to deliver on value added initiatives that have helped the community to be more aware and informed so crimes and harm can be prevented,” said Wilson.
Superintendent David Rydzik, the CYAC Co-Chair, said Araujo’s commitment to supporting others, his remarkable leadership skills and relentless efforts to make a difference in the community made him a standout candidate for the honour.
“Daniel is known for his willingness to take on challenging assignments and his innate ability to connect with people break to down barriers and create meaningful conversations,” the senior officer added. “In addition, he is deeply passionate about addressing the needs of young people in our city. He is a true leader and an inspiration to those around him.”
Auxiliary Sergeant Amanda Broughton, who joined the program in 2012 and was assigned to 32 Division, was honoured with the James Carnegie Memorial Award.
It’s presented to an Auxiliary member who demonstrates outstanding leadership skills and proven commitment to the community. The award honours the legacy of the organization’s first Auxiliary officer whose community involvement was extensive and distinguished for four decades before his passing in November 1996.
After graduating from TPC, Broughton was deployed to 23 Division where she provided support and comfort to community members.
“Amanda always embraces every opportunity that the Auxiliary program provides her with and never turns her back on a challenge,” said Inspector Paul Rinkoff. “When the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit approached her and asked if she would be interested in creating a presentation on the Auxiliary program to be delivered to community groups and Youth in Policing Initiative students, she leapt at the opportunity. She was also quick to respond when a request went out for supervisors who would be willing to spearhead the Neighbourhood Community Auxiliary pilot program.”
The Victim Services Crisis Volunteer Award was presented to Robert Holmes who has been with Victim Services Toronto since 2009.
A special video focussing on late Auxiliary member Bob Clements, one of the longest serving Auxiliary members, was shown during the ceremony.
He passed away in 2022.
Clements joined the Auxiliary program in January 1963, six years after the formation of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force.
The Auxiliary program was established in 1956 in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel in 1954 which killed 81 people in Canada, the majority in Toronto.
Auxiliary officers are trained, uniform volunteers who work alongside police officers to deliver crime prevention programs as well as help keep people safe at large events in the city from the Santa Claus parade to the Caribbean Carnival.
Last year, about 300 Auxiliaries volunteered approximately 60,000 hours, assisting in community mobilization initiatives, crime prevention programs, special events, parades, searches for missing persons and emergency call-outs.
To learn more about the Auxiliary program, visit tps.on.ca/careers.