Community Police Academy renewed in Toronto
By Meaghan Gray
Ilana Gorban, Samson Chen and Jonathan Rozenblit have aspirations of becoming Toronto Police officers.
By Meaghan Gray
To be selected for the first batch of Community Police Academy participants is a major step on their way to becoming officers. They were among 30 students selected from 150 applicants.
“This course will help to broaden my understanding of policing,” said Gorban, who was a 22 Division-Humber College Police Rover for two years. “I am glad that I was accepted.”
Rozenblit, 20, is a part-time police foundations student at Seneca College. “I learned about the program through Constable Randy Arsenault (@PCArsenault), who I follow on social media,” said Rozenblit, a security guard. “I network with other officers and I am interested in learning a little bit more about community policing.”
A graduate of the Humber College Police Foundations program, Chen was a police Rover for four years. “I want to understand the way Toronto police operate and get a better grasp of how they serve the community,” he added.
Staff Superintendent Peter Yuen was tasked with the responsibility of renewing the program that’s run in conjunction with Humber College — who offer graduates credits towards a Community Policing Certificate.
“We have designed a robust curriculum and I promise that you will not be bored,” he told the participants. “It is our hope that you can go back into your community and tell them what policing is all about and help clear up some of the misconceptions. You can help them understand why and how we do things and that we are part of the community.”
During the inaugural eight-week academy, officers from various areas within the Service addressed the class, providing insight and information on the challenges and responsibilities of policing. The class was introduced to a curriculum based on topics presented to regular recruits at the TPS College including scenario-based training, Introduction to the Criminal Justice System, Neighbourhood Policing/ Situation Tables, Traffic Safety and the Law, Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse, Homicide Investigations, Use of Force, Diversity and Inclusion, Professional Standards, Sex Crimes and Forensics. Participants also received a tour of the Mounted Unit and Police Dog Services.
Zachary Mitchell, a youth volunteer in Etobicoke and godson of former Jamaica Canadian Association president Audrey Campbell, who is a citizen volunteer with the Police and Community Engagement Review (PACER) committee, believes the course will enhance his ability to serve the community. “Everything I learn here, I can take back to my community,” said the Humber College police foundations program graduate.
Inspector David Rydzik and Sergeants Donovan Locke and Candace Paul played a role in shaping the program. “You will receive comprehensive and meaningful insight into police officers who work in your communities, as well as the rest of the Service,” said Rydzik, the Divisional Policing Support Unit commander.
The general views of the CPA graduates suggest that the program has improved citizen perceptions of the TPS. One of three class valedictorians, Sarah Miller, said she wasn’t sure what to expect when she entered the program. “I knew a credit was going to be offered at Humber College for their Community Policing program if you graduated from this academy,” she said. “I have already done the program at Humber, so I wanted to compare the two and see what this curriculum was going to be like.
“Humber College gives you more of an overview of policing in Canada while this program deals with community policing and, more specifically, Toronto Police.” An administrative assistant at a security firm, Miller hopes to become a 911 Communications Operator.
Faiza Zulfiquar, who started a full-time job on December 12 as an alumni coordinator at the University of Guelph-Humber, where she graduated, holds the academy program in very high esteem. “I thought you would sit in a classroom and just listen to officers speaking,” she said. “The real-life scenarios made it very engaging and practical. I really didn’t expect the program to be this good.”
Meaghan Gray is the Section Head of the Information & Issues Management section at the Corporate Communications unit of the Toronto Police Service. She can be contacted at: Meaghan.Gray@torontopolice.on.ca or followed on Twitter at: @mrsmeaghangray.