The largest class of Parking Enforcement Officers were deployed to the road in December.
The 44 Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs) graduated on December 15 at the Toronto Police College.
Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue told the recruits their new role carries a lot of responsibility.
“Each and every one of you will not only provide critical operational support to our organization, but you will keep our world-class city moving, whether it is our residents or the thousands of visitors and commuters who come in and out of Toronto every day,” she said. “I know you will be guided by integrity and responsibility and that you will treat people with respect and dignity. By doing so, you will support our Service in building and maintaining trust with the communities we serve.”
Pogue reminded them that doing their jobs in Canada’s largest city will not be easy.
“It will be challenging, but rewarding,” she said. “Remember your training. And always remember that the decisions you make reflect not just on you as a person, but on the Toronto Police Service, the family that will be here for you on the good days and the bad. Today is just the beginning and I know you will make a positive impact on your fellow members and on the public. I know you are up to the job.”
Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) member Lisa Kostakis said the role PEOs serve is hugely important.
“Tasked with the responsibility for the safe and orderly flow of traffic in Toronto, you maintain road safety by monitoring and enforcing parking laws on our streets,” she said. “You also play a critical role in helping Torontonians live, work and play on a daily basis, ensuring that parking spaces are used appropriately and for proper purposes. As you do your jobs, interacting with members of the public each and every day, you also act as important ambassadors for our Service.”
Kostakis encouraged the newcomers to be proud of the organization they represent as they demonstrate professionalism, integrity and work ethic in all they do.
“We are lucky to have each one of you for your talents, your skills and your insights,” she added. “You truly bring the community into the Service.”
Of the graduating class, 14 speak three languages other than English and 34 have post-secondary education.
Receiving parking tickets in the city sometimes left new PEO Gurkirat Ghuman a bit frustrated.
Now, he is on the other side issuing tags as a member of Toronto Police Services Parking Enforcement Unit.
“I know how it feels to get a ticket,” he said, knowing that he will now have the role of explaining why he had to give a ticket to help people understand the rules of the road.
“You deal with a lot of stressful situations and the goal is to use your communication skills to de-escalate conflict.”
Before joining the Service, Ghuman was a security officer.
“I did that for four years and also issued parking tickets as part of my job,” he said.
Ghuman is fluent in English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
Having a father who was a military officer in India prompted Divya Kaith to consider pursuing a career in law enforcement.
“When I was doing security work in the Toronto Area, I came in contact with a few parking enforcement officers which motivated me to want to do this,” the former security guard, supervisor and recruiter who migrated from India in 2016 said. “I am looking forward to my new role and very excited.”
Ghuman and Kaith shared the Highest Achievement Award with a perfect score of 100 per cent in training.
Brittney Gay was the Class Valedictorian.
The recruits were in training for six weeks covering many subjects, including writing handwritten and electronic hand-held tickets, towing, private property, fire routes, accessible parking, considerations and by-laws.
They also received training in crisis communications, defensive tactics, tactical communication, powers of arrest, occupational health & safety and ethics training at the police college.
The training officers were Lori Young, Pamela Carswell, Glen Germaine, Joanne Catania and Kim Nearing.
“They trained us well and answered all our queries and doubts,” added Kaith. “They made the experience awesome.”
The new officers will spend the next five weeks with a coach officer on the road before being assigned to the east or west end of the city. The Parking Enforcement Unit comprises 374 members.
Thinking about a career with the Toronto Police Service? Visit www.tps.ca/careers