More diversity among nine Windsor Police Services graduates
'Our community is changing rapidly and we have to follow suit'
Nine new officers joined the ranks of the Windsor Police Service, who were introduced to the city at Wednesday night's Windsor police badge ceremony.
Among the graduates was former CFL player Arjei Franklin. He said his background in athletics drew him into joining the service.
"That team atmosphere has always been a part of me and you miss it when you leave the sport," he said.
Knowing how important teamwork is to the police service was a selling point for him, so was knowing he would be helping the community.
"When you think about the job description of a police officer is to help and that's quite a noble responsibility," Franklin said.
While in police college, there was a mix of backgrounds and ethnicities. Franklin said the minorities were well represented there.
"Every service wants the service to reflect the community and I think it's clear that that's definitely the initiative with many of the police services," he said.
Drawing in more potential diverse officers is something police in Windsor have been working on. Franklin said people from diverse backgrounds may not always consider it as a career, but they should.
"Having a familiar face on the service, when you go to some of the communities here in Windsor or in southern Ontario on the whole is important," he said.
The newest class of officers is a "great start" for diversity officer Neil MacEachern. Moving forward, he said more classes will look like this.
"We get a lot more diverse folks from our community who are getting a lot more interested in policing," he said.
MacEachern goes to underrepresented community groups in the city to talk about what Windsor police do. Education is an important tool for them to help recruit potential new officers, but it's not everything they'll need if they want to be an officer.
"First and foremost, we have to find someone who believes in our community ... They have to be someone who is involved in our community and wants to give back," MacEachern said, adding the biggest part of the job is helping and protecting the community.
Diversity, for MacEachern, means more than just people coming in from different backgrounds. It almost means highlighting different life experiences and education backgrounds.
"We want someone that will make us better. Make us grow. We can't always stay the same. Our community is changing rapidly and we have to follow suit."