A north Etobicoke police officer was named Toronto’s Crime Prevention Officer of the Year last week.
Const. Ryan Willmer, 23 Division’s crime prevention officer, said he was “shocked” by the honour, awarded to him by the Crime Prevention Association of Toronto (CPAT) last Wednesday, after a month-long online campaign saw him draw the most support.
“For me, I don’t do it to be recognized. I do it because I like doing it and it’s part of my job,” he said. “What I love about my job is that every day I meet someone new and make a new contact. Working with the high schools, meeting kids I getting them to realize that as police, we’re here to help them...It’s a good feeling knowing that the message I’m trying to get out is actually reaching the community and that they’re actually appreciating it.”
CPAT is a non-profit, community-based organization that strives to prevent crime through “mobilization, education and support.”
To celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, CPAT opted to recognize Willmer and his fellow crime prevention police colleagues across the city “for the work they do in the community, dedication to the job and the impacts they have made on the City of Toronto.”
“This award was created to recognize the important work Crime Prevention Officers do within their divisions to support a safe and vibrant Toronto,” reads a statement regarding the online competition on CPAT’s website.
In addition to outreach work, Willmer’s duties as 23 Division’s crime prevention officer also include running the station’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and TPS Links), doing safety presentations with youth groups and businesses, and managing 23 Division’s more than 20-volunteer strong auxiliary officer program.
It was one of Willmer’s auxiliary sergeants, in fact, who headed up the campaign to get him voted CPAT’s Crime Prevention Officer of the Year.
“Ryan’s instrumental in putting initiatives into place, making sure that safety’s an issue, but also making it so it’s rewarding (for the auxiliary officers) – that it’s fun and challenging, and it’s not just doing tedious things but really getting out and working with the public,” Auxiliary Sgt. Rick Jordan said of Willmer.
“His dedication to crime prevention is great. He’s done a fantastic job and he’s really looking to make the neighbourhood and the community that much safer and better so people can really reach out to police officers and the auxiliary, too.”