Police Week 2015

lice Week 2015 - Description: Banner for Police week 2015

May 10-16 is recognized as Police Week all across Ontario. It’s an annual event to the recognize the work of police services and individual police officers in the community. It is an opportunity for all of us to honour the police who work so hard to help keep our communities safe.

Read the unique stories of police officers from across Ontario, to learn the diversity a career in policing has to offer.

Monday – Staff Sgt. Greg Watts - A community approach to modern policing
Tuesday - Policing as a second career

Wednesday - Carrie-Lynn Hotson – An agent for change

Thursday - Beyond the action – alternative careers in policing

Superintendent Nishan Duraiappah – Through the ranks of policing

It’s inspiring to learn about the wide-range of policing experience Superintendent Nishan (Nish) Duraiappah has gained over 20 years in the field. Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nish immigrated to Toronto with his family in 1973. He moved to Halton Region at the age of seven and has called it home ever since.

uperintendent Nishan Duraiappah

In high school, Nish knew he wanted a career in policing after participating in a police-youth initiative called the Police Ethnic and Cultural Education Program with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS).

After graduating from the University of Toronto in Criminology and Sociology, he joined the HRPS as a constable in 1995. Nish began as a frontline officer, responding to emergencies and enforcing traffic. He says that “these are the core functions of police services across our province from which all other policing services and support are built.” From there, Nish moved to general investigative divisions, where he worked on cases involving complex assaults, break and enters, thefts, and street crimes. General investigators often progress to more complex investigative assignments and Nish was no exception.

When he reflects upon his six years in drug enforcement and covert operations with Halton Region and across the province in the Regional Drug and Morality Bureau, he says, “My time working drug investigations was one of the most exciting and memorable times. This is the essence of why I became a police officer – to contribute to areas that were challenging, complex and rewarding.” Nish also worked with the RCMP Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit targeting organized crime in the Golden Horseshoe.

Promoted to Sergeant, Nish became the service’s Diversity Coordinator, where he was responsible for diversity and race relations matters. As an advisor and policy lead on diversity, equity and bias-free policing mandates for the HRPS, Nish fostered key partnerships with LGBTQ, Aboriginal, ethnic, and religious communities.

Nish successfully assumed positions as a Uniform Patrol Sergeant and Criminal Investigations Detective, Staff Sergeant assigned as the Staff Officer to the Deputy Chief of Operations, and Inspector overseeing uniform operations in Milton and Halton Hills. As an Inspector, he was responsible for the staffing and administration of the division’s 150 frontline patrol officers and was responsible for command of all critical incidents.

Nish found this rewarding because he was able to establish the region’s first Community Safety HUB, which brings together key community safety partners to address the needs of individuals and families experiencing acutely elevated risk (e.g. mental health crisis, poverty, homelessness.) Now a regional initiative for all Halton municipalities, Nish created the Milton COMMANDE, comprising HRPS officers and community partners, such as the Halton Community Housing Corporation, John Howard Society, and Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK). To date, more than 70 at-risk individuals and families have been supported by a coordinated and integrated response.

Nish’s many accomplishments and strong ties to the community contributed to where he is today. In January 2014, he was promoted to Superintendent where he oversees the police service’s new Office of Continuous Improvement and Strategic Management where they develop innovative ways to improve service delivery and ensure effective management of resources. When asked if policing is what he had imagined when he was just starting out, Nish says “I think most people enter policing knowing there are many possibilities within this career, but I don’t think anyone really knows where the experiences will take us. That’s what’s so exciting. I would have never known what these experiences would bring, but I’m thankful that policing has given me the opportunity to find out.”

For those considering a career in policing, Nish’s career path can stand as a testament to the fact that in policing, there are many ways to contribute to creating safer communities and excellence in the profession.

Beyond the action – alternative careers in policing

Staff Sergeant Rose Kucharuk – Chatham-Kent Police Service

Platoon Commander

aff Sergeant Rose Kucharuk

Staff Sergeant Rose Kucharuk is currently a Platoon Commander in the Community Patrol Section of the Chatham-Kent Police Service (CKPS). As part of her duties, she represents CKPS on several provincial committees, including the Quality Assurance (QA) Committee. Her participation on this committee ensures that CKPS has accurate, compliant, and effective procedures.

Tell us a little bit about your career in policing.

I started my policing career some 28 years ago as the first female police officer hired by a municipal police service in the former County of Kent. I’ve had a varied and diverse career, including working in uniformed patrol, forensic identification, training, professional standards, and corporate services. My current role as Platoon Commander has a strong focus on quality assurance.

Being a member of the QA Committee allows me the opportunity to learn and share best practices related to policy development with fellow police colleagues from around the province. This committee brings together some of the most knowledgeable and resourceful police practitioners in the province, giving us the opportunity to access, discuss, and develop policies for our policing organizations that serve all of our communities in Ontario more efficiently and effectively.

Are there any skills you find particularly useful in your current role?

Having a Masters in Public Administration and a certification in Municipal Management has challenged me positively in my career goals. I entered policing with a Community College Diploma back in 1987 – few police officers had degrees in that era. With municipal restructuring, downturns in the economy, social and technological changes, it became apparent that police leaders would not only have to maintain strong capabilities in solving crime and police operations, but also have the knowledge, skills and abilities to work with and understand government, build partnerships, and use management/business concepts. My Master’s Degree gave me tremendous academic understanding of past, present and future issues of public administration, including policing. It has changed who I am and how I lead; whether it be to challenge assumptions of the 'status quo,' look to build better capacity with fewer resources, or embrace the ongoing changes that policing seems to face daily.

What do you see as the biggest benefit of a career in policing?

Policing has been an exceptional career. The training and exposure to a vast and diverse variety of people and experiences has been so rewarding. I know firsthand the positive impact we make in our communities, whether it be for a member of the public, a fellow co-worker, or a colleague from another police service. I look forward to the future as policing evolves.

Sergeant Brad Price – Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)

Gaming Specialist

Sergeant Brad Price started his policing career with the OPP in January 2002. His current role as Gaming Specialist is unique – the OPP is the only police organization that provides an accredited Casino Investigations Course to their members.

rgeant Brad Price

Tell us a little bit about your current position.

I am currently part of the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau, Gaming Enforcement Branch that is attached to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). I am the Gaming Specialist in the AGCO Gaming Lab in Toronto, a section of the OPP responsible for teaching officers about gambling, the casino industry, and anti-money laundering.

The Gaming Lab is set up with casino tables, games, and other gaming equipment that you would typically see in Ontario casinos. It’s used to fully train OPP Casino Enforcement Unit (CEU) members through an accredited OPP Academy Casino Investigations Course. Some of the training material consists of learning table games rules of play and procedures, how to deal the games, cheating techniques and schemes, signs and behaviours of cheating, card marking, slot cheating and case law. The course also provides us the opportunity to provide training on proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering. The training is an important component of helping to ensure the honesty and integrity of the gaming industry in Ontario and a safe and secure gaming environment free from criminal activities.  

What is something many people don’t know about having a career in policing?

In terms of the OPP, the biggest thing that I believe people don’t realize is the endless opportunities to develop in various areas/units within our organization’s bureaus. For starters, there is my area, as well as Casino Enforcement Units, Lottery-iGaming-Liquor Investigative Units, Tactics and Rescue Units, Emergency Response Teams, Community Services, Identification Units, Canine Units, Traffic Reconstructionist, Aviation services, Snowmobile ATV Vessel Units, Underwater Search and Recovery, Drug enforcement, and Organized Crime, to name a few.

Before joining the OPP, I thought the world of policing would be demanding and difficult given the daily duties for service as a police officer. My perception was real – I wasn’t surprised. Being a police officer is challenging at times, but well worth it. I find my job very satisfying and rewarding.

Inspector Jeff Hill – Halton Regional Police Service

Human Resources and Training Inspector

spector Jeff Hill

Having always had a focus on criminal investigations, Inspector Jeff Hill’s new role in charge of Human Resources and Training has been a rewarding and humbling learning experience.

Tell us a little bit about your career in policing.

I started my career in public safety as a Special Constable with the Toronto Police Service. When I made the move to a career as a police officer, I was hired by the Halton Regional Police Service, where I’ve worked for the last 17 years. I spent most of my career in the Criminal Investigation Bureau assigned to investigative portfolios such as robberies and break and enters. In 2014, I was promoted to the rank of Inspector and placed in charge of human resources and training for the service.

Human resources is a dynamic field where best practices and legislation are always changing, not unlike criminal law. Working in this area has been a learning process, but has been very rewarding. I know that no matter where I am stationed, my experience here will be valuable.

This is the great thing about a career in policing – it allows you diversity, change and the never-ending opportunity to learn.

Is there an aspect of your current position that you like the most?

Some of the things I feel passionately about are the initiatives we’ve been working on aimed at supporting the good mental health of our members. Members of a police service are often called upon to support our communities in times of crisis. During those times we must act with strength and courage, temporarily suspending our own feelings for the greater good. In the end, however, under that Kevlar Vest we are human and feel as everyone does. It is important that we eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health and recognize that mental health awareness and wellness is just as important as your yearly physical. Our service is currently providing training to every member of the service both sworn and civilian in order to change the culture and promote the concept of a healthy, whole person. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in policing?

A career in policing is exciting, challenging and rewarding. It is an opportunity to give back to your community and contribute something positive every day. Speak to your local officer, visit your local station and be curious and ask questions to explore if this is a career for you. You may be surprised to learn what the world of policing offers.  

Sergeant Paul Potter – Ontario Provincial Police

Provincial Auxiliary Coordinator

Having started his policing career as an auxiliary constable in 1995, Sergeant Paul Potter’s current role as Provincial Auxiliary Coordinator for the OPP has brought his career back to where it all started.

ergeant Paul Potter

Tell us a little bit about your current position.

My average day is anything but average while coordinating the day-to-day operations of the OPP Auxiliary program. Auxiliary members of a police service are volunteers who are trained to accompany police officers on patrols and assist at large scale events and community initiatives. The Auxiliary program currently has 860 members that support the officers and programs of the OPP throughout Ontario. I also coordinate the processing, testing, training, and development of the applicants who want to be part of the OPP auxiliary team.  

What drew you to the role of Provincial Auxiliary Coordinator? Does your past experience help you in this role?

In 1993 my cousin, who was a police officer in Sudbury, died in the line of duty. After that I began looking for a way to support our local police officers, so I decided to join the Burlington OPP auxiliary unit. I was extremely proud to be a part of the OPP family. Being able to volunteer at community events seemed like a nice way for me to give back. Although I always respected the position, I was employed in the private sector and had no intentions of becoming a police officer. As we all know, however, life is full of changes and when the opportunity presented itself, I applied and was selected by the OPP as a Provincial Constable.

I've always maintained my close ties with the auxiliary program throughout my 17 years as a police officer because I believe in the program and their motto: “Volunteers for a better community.”

Do you have any advice for those considering policing as a career?

Make yourself as marketable as possible for police services because it is a very competitive process. For those not yet ready to make the transition to full-time policing, the auxiliary program is an excellent way to gain some experience while also getting involved in your community as a volunteer.

Carrie-Lynn Hotson – An agent for change

Carrie-Lynn Hotson, known until recently as “Sergeant Hotson,” has been fortunate to have several careers in policing. You could say that she has truly “discovered policing” and all it has to offer.

rrie-Lynn Hotson

In her 17 years as a police officer with the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS), she has worked in a number of areas, including patrol operations, crime prevention, training, drugs and street crime. Throughout this time, she has played an intricate role on teams dedicated to making change. She was part of the Community Mobilization Unit made up of members of the police service, community youth coordinators, school officials, and other volunteers, working to address issues in the community involving at-risk youth and other public safety concerns. She was also part of the team that led to the realization of GSPS’ “Shared Commitment to Community Safety and Well-being” police model, built on the premise that it takes a community effort to resolve issues and address the risk factors associated with crime.

When asked about one of her most significant accomplishments, Carrie-Lynn describes her involvement in the production of a ground breaking video designed to address long-standing barriers on rights and issues facing the Transgender community. “Initially, the idea was to work with our local transgender community, alter our training processes to correspond with the 2014 changes to the Ontario Human Rights Code, and create a short internal training video. What emerged was truly inspiring.”

The video is now seen across the country, receiving international recognition from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The GSPS has received many calls from community members to say they feel more welcome in Sudbury, have had good interactions with police, and feel safe disclosing when they are victims of crime. Community partners have also changed some of their practices to ensure they are promoting an inclusive environment guided by fairness, respect, equality and dignity.

She recently resigned from her position as Sergeant and was promoted to the position of Manager of Human Resources and Staff Development – a civilian position. As a Human Resources manager, her job is to help bring the strategic goals and vision of the organization to life through its people. Carrie-Lynn says “it is paramount that new officers understand and appreciate the need to work with community partners to promote community safety. We can’t do it alone. We need problem solvers, team players, people who are willing to enter a career of continuous learning, and want to take a proactive approach to resolving issues and determine root causes.”

Carrie-Lynn’s diverse experience as a police officer has helped her realize two important aspects about a career in policing: it provides people the chance to have several careers within one, and offers the opportunity to make a significant and meaningful impact on the lives of others.

As the profession of policing continues to grow and evolve, she notes one piece of advice for those considering a career in policing: “In order to serve your community well, you have to learn about your community, not from a book, but from being INVOLVED in it.”

Policing as a second career

While many of Ontario’s police officers pursued a policing career from the beginning, there are also many who entered the profession after a career in a different industry. Below, we talked to four police officers who switched to a career in policing.

Constable Abdullahi Ahmed – Ottawa Police Service

nstable Abdullahi Ahmed

From finance to police officer. Constable Ahmed worked in the financial industry for over six years and held several positions including customer service associate, training and development facilitator, and product analyst in business development.

What motivated you to pursue a career in policing?

Aside from discussions about policing with a school resource officer early in my high school years, my goal was – and still is – to build a bigger, stronger bridge between the Somali community and police, and between police and the community in general.

I didn't pursue policing as a career right away because of the expectations of my family. Business had been a part of my family for decades, starting with my great-grandparents back in Somalia. After studying business marketing in college, I worked at a major bank for a few years before I started to research more about policing. I reached out to a family friend and arranged a ride-along to see if this was really what I wanted to do. As you probably guessed – I loved it.

Are you happy that you chose policing?

I'm very happy that I chose policing as a career simply because of the countless positive impacts I have had on members in the community. I believe that my personal contact with individuals and the good that came out of it could not have been achieved in the financial industry or in any other field I had interest in.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to switch career paths to policing?

If policing is something you want to do or thought about doing but are comfortable where you are, then take the plunge and do some homework. Visit your local police station and ask about the possibility of ride-alongs, meet police officers, meet with recruiters, and get an understanding of what the job is all about. If you still see yourself doing the job, then go ahead and get the ball rolling. In life, you need to take risks – take the next step and don't let comfort in your current work hold you back from your dream career.

Constable Jennie Fitzsimmons – Peterborough Police Service

From teacher to police officer. Constable Fitzsimmons graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education in 2011. She began supply teaching for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board when she started to focus her attention on a new career path in policing.

nstable Jennie Fitzsimmons

What motivated you to pursue a career in policing?

I discovered my interest in policing while working with the Ontario Provincial Police Marine Unit for a summer prior to my first year of university. During my time as a marine student, I was able to observe the various roles an officer plays in the continued safety of our community.

I didn’t pursue a career in policing immediately after secondary school because I felt that life experience would be an important part of becoming a successful (police) officer. I always had a love for working with others and felt I should experience other careers that would enhance my ability to communicate. I got this experience while supply teaching for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board.

Do you use any of your teaching skills in your job as a police officer?

Communication skills have played a significant role in my daily duties as an officer. These skills are critical when responding to calls for service because they assist in investigating incidents, diffusing situations, building relationships, and completing written reports.

I also had the opportunity to work with troubled youth; some with mental health issues. Many of the techniques I developed while working in a classroom, I now apply to my daily career as a police officer.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to switch career paths to policing?

Never underestimate the valuable skills you developed in previous life experiences and education. I’ve seen firsthand how the skills developed in a career that may seem unrelated to policing can enhance your ability for success.

Also, keep in mind that each day as a police officer is very different from the next, so a greater understanding of the community and world at large can only help you to better serve the public.

Constable Kelly Wiltshire – Ontario Provincial Police

From pro athlete to police officer. Constable Wiltshire played football for four years while on scholarship in the United States before being drafted to the Canadian Football League. During his 10 year professional career, he played on four different teams, winning two championships.

nstable Kelly Wiltshire

What motivated you to pursue a career in policing?

Even though my football career lasted much longer than I had originally anticipated, I wondered what I would do when I was finished. I was always interested in law enforcement and never saw myself working in an office environment, so I decided to pursue policing as my second career.

Did your previous experience as an athlete prepare you for a career in policing?

There are many parallels between policing and football. Both require teamwork and the ability to work towards a common goal. As an athlete, I had to feel comfortable being in the public eye and being involved in the community off the field. This is also true in policing. Now I have a responsibility to serve the public, while being comfortable working with all kinds of people in the community.

Football also prepared me for the different types of pressures I would later experience as a (police) officer – the pressure to perform, learn from mistakes, and deal with some people in the public who love you, and some who don’t.

Who would you recommend a career in policing to?

I would recommend policing for anybody and everyone. That being said, I think you must be passionate about the field. I believe that to be true for any job. If you are passionate about what you do, you will be able to succeed.

Policing is always evolving. Now there are many positions outside of enforcement that require all different types of skills – HR, recruiting, training, and forensic work, to name a few. In any position though, flexibility and dedication is crucial given the ever-changing environment.

So if you are interested in policing as a career, I recommend you do the appropriate research, and make a short term and long term plan.

Constable Judith Drover-Janes – Ottawa Police Service

From educator to real estate agent to police officer. Constable Drover-Janes didn’t only have one career before she became a police officer – she had two. Before becoming a member of the Ottawa Police Service, she was an educator for 11 years and later, a real estate agent for five.

nstable Judith Drover-Janes

What motivated you to pursue a career in policing?

I always wanted to be a (police) officer, but never thought it was possible. I never thought that policing was an option for me because I didn’t see as many women on the job, let alone women of colour.

In fact, all services look to hire qualified people from diverse backgrounds, who reflect the multicultural communities we serve. 

My motivation came from the fact that I always thought I would make a solid (police) officer. In my mid-30s, I knew I had to try to pursue it, so that I would never look back and wonder. I am reminded of a quote by Nelson Mandela which best explains why I chose policing: 'May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.'

Which of your skills do you use the most as a police officer?  

A common thread between being a teacher, a real estate agent and a police officer is the close ties to people in your community. Being able to make a connection with people is important. The skills I use most and am very proud of are my strong communication and interpersonal skills. They are especially useful in the more intense and stressful situations you are often exposed to.

What advice would you give to someone considering policing as a second or third career?  

My advice is to be informed. Do your homework and if it’s still what you want, GO FOR IT!  You never want to look back and ask yourself, “what if?”  Being 37 and deciding to switch career paths was challenging on so many levels, but I was determined to succeed.  And I did.  I knew the learning curve would be steep and I was ready for the challenge.

Now I have completed eight years with the Ottawa Police Service and I have no regrets. I feel privileged to be able to wear the uniform and still have so much that I want to accomplish.

Staff Sergeant Greg Watts – A community approach to modern policing

taff Sergeant Greg Watts

As the philosopher Aristotle famously said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” That may be the greatest lesson Staff Sergeant Greg Watts has learned since joining the Toronto Police Service (TPS) 16 years ago.

When the then 22-year-old was seeking a career, Greg knew he wanted to be part of the TPS. The service was welcoming, diverse and accepting. Senior members generously showed new recruits the ropes, and Greg felt privileged to be a part of it.

His career began in the Primary Response Unit (PRU), the foundation of a police division. From Police Constable to Staff Sergeant, PRU officers perform primary uniform functions like attending 911 calls as well as non-emergency situations. Greg loved the interaction with the community and the shared goal of ensuring a safer place in which to live and work.

While in the PRU, Greg was asked to assume a job in planning. Fearing this would remove him from the hands-on work he loved, he discovered it actually expanded his knowledge of police work.

From there, Greg joined the Information Management and Practices Review Team (IMPART), a new unit responsible for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of police work. At IMPART, he was immersed in shift schedules, public complaints, and professional standards. He also worked on FOCUS Rexdale; a project Greg calls the highlight of his career.

FOCUS Rexdale, or Furthering Our Communities – Uniting Services, works to eliminate traditional silos in community service sectors to truly work together and improve community safety. FOCUS is premised on the belief that “what is predictable is preventable” and on shared responsibility. This means sectors such as the police, addictions, mental health, education, health care, housing, corrections and community based agencies all share responsibility for community safety and well-being by providing a broad spectrum of services to those at risk of victimization. As FOCUS team lead for the TPS, Greg studied programs in jurisdictions like Saskatchewan to find proven methodologies. This lead to successful partnerships with the City of Toronto and the United Way for a more holistic approach to police work. 

It’s that community approach to policing that excites Greg the most. “There are so many agencies and organizations that offer amazing programs, and many residents who want to improve their neighbourhoods. Let’s work together across all sectors and within our communities to make things better.”

Greg looks forward to an exciting new era in policing while reflecting on his career to date, “I’m so blessed to have been exposed to so many aspects of policing. I’ve learned so much and made great friendships within the community, agencies and government.”

Greg’s experiences have taught him the importance of synergy and working together for maximum impact. “That’s what modern policing is all about.”