A gay police officer who travels the country to prevent bullying says the Calgary Police Service is among the most progressive in Canada.
"I think it's absolutely no secret that Calgary Police Service is light years ahead of other many other agencies around the world when it comes especially to youth initiatives," said Const. Tad Milmine.
Milmine moved to Calgary last year. Growing up in Ontario, he was neglected at home and severely bullied at school.
"I used to be really, really shy and I used to cry a lot," said Milmine.
"The kids learned at a very young age that I had this trigger that all you had to do was call me a couple of bad names and it didn't matter where I was or who was around me, it was uncontrollable."
His early life was lonely and painful and Milmine says he lacked the confidence to pursue his dream to become a police officer — until he was in his 30s. That's when he joined the RCMP, stationed in Surrey, B.C.
Hoping to save kids from the pain he had experienced as a child, Milmine developed an award-winning anti-bullying program, Bullying Ends Here. He presented it at schools across the country.
Even though Milmine was doing the presentations on his own time, last year, he says the Mounties gave him an ultimatum: policing or presentations.
It was his dream job but Milmine quit, choosing to continue reaching out to kids. He didn't go long without a badge though. Calgary police welcomed Milmine and his program into the service last summer.
Calgary's police chief says the new recruit is a positive addition to both the service and the city.
"(There's) all kinds of benefits that occur when a person like Tad can stand up in front of a group of people and explain firsthand what kind of damage can be done when intolerance occurs," said Chief Rick Hanson.
"We know that we will be a better police service by ensuring that we have more people with diverse backgrounds coming to the police service."
Milmine says working with the CPS is a dream come true. He says feels more supported in Calgary than anywhere else he has been.
"It really is the way that I envisioned policing to be," said Milmine. "On my days off, I can continue doing what I believe to be important ... I truly have to pinch myself every day to realize my dream is happening."