Volunteering in Uniform
The latest class of 30 Auxiliary Officers, who serve with the Toronto Police Service in a volunteer role, graduated this week.
Acting Staff Superintendent Shannon Dawson said Auxiliary officers support the Service in building and maintaining trust with the communities the organization serves.
“I know you will be guided by integrity and self-responsibility and that you will treat people with respect, equity and dignity,” she said at the May 17 graduation.
The graduates speak 23 languages, including Farsi, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin and American Sign Language.
Dawson said the experiences they bring are an asset to Canada’s largest municipal police service.
“Although you have come from different places, have different backgrounds and education and speak different languages, you are alike in your compassion and have demonstrated a genuine commitment to your community,” the senior officer added. “I have every confidence in your ability to serve with professionalism, with integrity and according to our core values.”
Currently, 300 Auxiliaries volunteer approximately 70,000 hours of their time annually to assist the Service’s community mobilization initiatives, crime prevention programs, special events, parades, searches for missing persons and emergency call outs.
All Auxiliaries join because they want to serve their community, while many also want to gain policing experience with an eye to joining the Toronto Police Service in a uniform role.
New Auxiliary Akmal Waizi has always admired police officers and has pursued the career, now enrolled in a Criminology post-secondary program.
“Everything I had done in the last few years have been geared towards law enforcement,” he said. “The goal is to become a police officer in Toronto.”
Waizi said the 10-week training enhanced his personal development.
“I was quiet and shy before I joined the program,” he said. “I am now more confident in speaking and sharing my views. I grew as a person because of this program. I came out of my shell and am walking taller.”
Laiba Khan, who came to Canada from Pakistan at age 12, always wanted to be a police officer.
“I have had positive interactions with officers and that is the main reason why I shifted from law, which I briefly thought about pursuing, and choosing to go this route,” she said. “I also think I could be a role model for women, particularly those of colour who are considering policing as a career option. Starting out as an Auxiliary member is a stepping stone I will make much use of.”
Khan, who is assigned to 14 Division, graduates next month from the University of Toronto where she is doing a double major in Criminology and Sociology.
Toronto Police Services Board Interim Chair Lisa Kostakis said Auxiliary members bring a calm, professional and reassuring presence to city streets.
“You make it possible for us to continue to ensure that Toronto is the safest place in which to live, work and play,” she said. “In making the decision to become Auxiliary officers, you are making a personal contribution to the safety and well-being of your community. At the same time, by joining the Auxiliary Service, you are embarking on a tremendous opportunity for career advancement should you choose to pursue policing as a career. I understand that for many of you that is your ultimate goal. I encourage you to work towards this. There are many people here who are ready and willing to support you in achieving this goal.
“Be proud of yourselves when you are in the community performing your responsibilities. Your role is critical for strengthening our police service. The people of Toronto trust you and rely on you.”
Deputy Chief Rob Johson presented new Auxiliaries with their graduation certificates.
In each graduating class, the student who demonstrates outstanding performance in the various training programs is presented with the Julian Fantino Award for their proficiency.
Frederick Crisolo scored 99 per cent and was one of the highest achievers in the Fitness Award program in addition to having an exemplary attendance record.
A former TPS Chief, Fantino was a Metro Toronto Police Auxiliary member for five years before joining the Service in 1969.
Omar Karimi was the Class Valedictorian while Farhang Irani won the Life Saving Award.
While working as an Air Canada Customer Service Agent on March 21, 2022 at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, the 14 Division Auxiliary member helped revive a passenger who had fallen down a nearby carousel and was in medical distress.