WATCH: Toronto Police Service welcomes new recruits
A diverse class of 89 new recruits were welcomed today into the Toronto Police Service.
91 percent of the new constables have completed post-secondary education and one in five has previous military or policing experience.
At six foot four, Jung-Yul Kim is one of the tallest new officers, but that’s not his only claim to fame. Kim donned a different kind of uniform spending six years playing football in the CFL. Four years with the Calgary Stampeders and two years with the Toronto Argonauts. He’s also had a career as an actor and stuntman.
Zsofia Balazs was an Olympic swimmer competing for Canada in the 10 kilometer swim in the 2012 London Olympics. The 24 year old says many of her skills as a long distance swimmer will help her in the new career. “Just the physical side of it, the mental side of it, that you have to think on your toes, and nothing’s guaranteed,” Balazs explained.
Valedictoria Julia Roizman quoted Doctor Seuss in her speech to the graduating class. Calling herself an “old girl”, Roizman says everyone had to make sacrifices to become police officers. She has three children aged 11, 9 and 5 who were at the Toronto Police College to congratulate their mother. “It’s kind of hard to put into words with three young ones, for three months to go to Ontario Police College, and then you have to come here for two months. It’s a huge sacrifice,” Roizman said.
The class is comprised of 13.5 percent women and 34.8 percent visible minorities. 56.2 percent speak two languages while 29.2 percent speak two or more languages.
This is the second class of recruits this year. 60 graduated in May. Before that, there was a three year hiring freeze. The chief of police explains this is a period of rebuilding. “Over the past three years we lose on average about 180 officers a year and we haven’t been able to hire, and through attrition we’re down a substantial number of officers,” explained the chief.
Blair says every officer is re-trained annually with an emphasis on how to avoid the use of force. Jung-Yul Kim explains why he’ll use his physical strength is he has to, but that won’t be his first choice. “We’ve been trained to de-escalate situations with our mouths and our presence”.
The new recruits will be deployed to their new divisions a week from now.