Five new constables were welcomed to Greater Sudbury Police Service ranks during the Sept. 27 police board meeting, bumping their total number of sworn members to 279.
“You’ve answered this call to join and lead a noble profession, a profession with unparalleled challenges,” GSPS Chief Paul Pedersen told the newcomers through a virtual connection.
“You’re some of the very few who have been given the privilege of representing your community in uniform.”
Pedersen noted the new recruits have agreed to work guided by GSPS values of “respect, inclusivity, courage and honesty.”
Since the last board meeting in June, five GSPS staff members have retired and six have resigned, including five officers, according to a report tabled for the Sept. 27 meeting.
Recent hires have helped fill in these vacancies as well as meet their goal of hiring 10 additional police officers this year, which the police board unanimously approved in January and a city council vote of 8-3 approved in February.
This brings their current authorized strength to 283 sworn members, and a current sworn members count of 279.
The current GSPS civilian staff count is 140, which is their full authorized complement.
While the number of people applying for civilian positions has remained strong, GSPS talent acquisition and retention co-ordinator Danielle Hager told Sudbury.com that fewer people have been applying for constable positions.
“It’s not just a decline in applicants locally, which we are definitely seeing, it’s across the province,” Hager said, describing it as a “steady decline” for the past several years.
The province eliminated tuition fees for Ontario Police College earlier this year, which Hager credits as removing a barrier and being well-received by applicants.
With fewer people applying for positions, Hager said GSPS has had to up their game and attend more events such as job fairs as well as host recruitment-centred events. They’ve also enlisted 17 sworn and civilian staff members to assist in recruitment.
Between this year’s addition of 10 sworn members and filling whatever vacancies have come up, they’ve hired 14 constables so far this year, with more to come in November, when the next intake at Ontario Police College takes place.
Pending police board and city council budget decisions, an additional 10 members are anticipated to come on board in 2024 and four more will be added in 2025.
GSPS is proceeding “full throttle on recruitment,” Hager said. “We can’t afford to stop. Because the applicants are declining, we need to do stuff to generate that interest.”
Hiring happens year-round, she said, with more information available by clicking here.
Meanwhile, GSPS is also working to bring on more auxiliary constables, with two new members, Jacob Toner and Abraham Baby, joining. They’re currently at 20 members, but have historically maintained approximately 30.
Auxiliary members volunteer their time by participating in community events, patrol operations, ride-alongs and assisting police in various patrol activities.
Membership dropped during the pandemic due to volunteer programs being suspended after they were deemed non-essential.
New constables sworn in on Sept. 27 included:
- Mark Zettler, an experienced constable from Toronto Police Service, which he started serving in 2002. He’s originally from Kitchener and spent most of his life in the Waterloo Region, and now calls Sudbury his and his family’s home.
- Zenon Kruk was born and raised in Sudbury, and was previously a special constable with the courts branch of GSPS. He is a graduate of St. Charles College and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Laurentian University with a double major with honours in both Criminology and Psychology.
- Noah Manitowabi describes himself as a proud Indigenous person from Manitoulin Island. Prior to enrolling in Cambrian College’s Police Foundations program, he worked in the Indigenous tourism industry.
- Taylor Williamson was born in London, and has resided in Petawawa since 2018. He served as an infantryman with Canadian Armed Forces, and has worked as a manager and labourer in the past. He also has volunteer experience with Elgin Street Mission.
- Tyler Bennett was born in Sudbury, and is following in the footsteps of his father, Mark, who is also a constable with GSPS. Bennett previously served as a special constable with GSPS, and has worked as a welder/fitter as well as a tutor for welding students. He has also been involved with a homebound book delivery program, Lions Eye in the Sky, and Ste. Benedicts’ safe place for kids to talk.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.