Volunteering to Serve Community

Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit
To be a valedictorian once is significant. To be bestowed with the honour twice in four years is extra special for Teighan Mittal-Mercer who received the recognition at the Toronto Police Service (TPS) Auxiliary graduation on December 10.

He was the top student in the 2015 Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) summer class.

“Getting an opportunity to represent my classmates, many of whom I didn’t know before the program started, and be that one voice talking about our experiences on graduation night is quite an honour and I take it very seriously,” said Mittal-Mercer.

Policing topped his career options after taking part in the YIPI program .

“It wasn’t a career that I envisioned as I have no family members or close friends who are police officers,” said Mittal-Mercer, who was assigned to 14 Division. “During that program, I became fascinated with the work that officers do, including their commitment to serve and protect. I knew then that was what I wanted to do.”

The Ursula Franklin Academy graduate and Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) security guard plans to apply to become a TPS uniformed officer next April after graduating from the University of Guelph-Humber Justice Studies program.

Like Mittal-Mercer, Victoria Freitas is enrolled in the Justice Studies program at Guelph-Humber and aspires to be a police officer.

“I love working in the community, especially with young people, and policing is one of those professions that offers an opportunity to do that,” the Canada Border Service Agency employee said.

The 29 graduates spent the last nine weeks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays preparing for their new role that includes assisting with the Service’s community mobilization initiatives, crime prevention programs, special events, parades, searches for missing persons and emergency call outs.

A group of people in TPS auxiliary uniform
New Auxiliary officers march into their graduation Photo: Kevin Masterman

“Every day in class was a new learning experience,” said Freitas. “One of the things that stood out for me is that Toronto Police has no many different units that provide endless possibilities.”

Toronto has been Brian Canonigo’s home for the last two decades since migrating from the Philippines.

“This city has given me so much and I want to give back something to it,” the former Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada member said. “I wasn’t really thinking about becoming a police officer, but now I have gone through the Auxiliary training, I think I will give it a shot. If I am going to become a cop, Toronto will be the only Service I will serve because this city has been so good to me and my family.”

Toronto Police Service Deputy Chief Peter Yuen told the graduates they are now part of an organization that’s committed to delivering excellent and modern policing services.

“You represent the city in terms of its diversity and language skills and I want you to go out there and serve with pride and distinction,” he added. “I acknowledge your commitment to volunteerism and now is your time to give back to the city.”

A group of people in TPS auxiliary uniform in a gym
The 29 graduates formed up for their graduation ceremony on Dec. 10 at the Toronto Police College Photo: Kevin Masterman

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.

A former TPS Chief, Fantino was a Metro Toronto Police Auxiliary member for five years before joining the Service in 1969.

The award winners were Sean Angus, Michael Briggs and Glenn O’Dea who scored 100 per cent in the examination.

Since the Auxiliary program was established 63 years ago, members have provided countless hours of service during the 2010 G20 Summit, papal visits in 1984 and 2002 during World Youth Day celebrations, at the 2003 Rolling Stones concert and at the sites of the 1962 propane plant explosion in Maple, the 1969 natural gas explosion in Malton and the 1979 trail derailment in Mississauga.

A group in TPS uniform
Supt. David Rydzik with Chief Julian Fantino Award winners Sean Angus, Michael Briggs and Glenn O’Dea, who scored 100 per cent in the examination, and Deputy Chief Peter Yuen Photo: Kevin Masterman

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