By RON FANFAIR
An initiative spearheaded by Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE) founding president and Toronto Community Housing chair, David Mitchell, to identify the threat of gangs at the Toronto East Detention Centre, was recognized last week with a Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Ovation award.
The Security Threat Unit, which also included John Lawson, Letizia Trovato and Kenton Chance, who now heads the Ontario Correctional Intelligence Unit, worked to create an unprecedented networking relationship between the Toronto Police Service Intelligence and Correctional Services to share information.
The success of the innovative partnership has led other security agencies, including the Canadian Border Services Agency and Correctional Services Canada, to form partnerships and extend the sharing of critical information.
“The recognition we have received is a significant achievement for out-of-the-box thinking and team work by a committed group of members at the East Detention Centre to ensure that we make our contribution to public safety while maintaining security in the institution,” said Mitchell, who was recently promoted to Superintendent at the Mimico Correctional facility.
“This is the ultimate honour by your peers, recognizing what you do and saying it’s innovative and it’s good stuff…Our goals were to reduce violence and the flow of dangerous contraband getting into the institution and increase our contribution to public safety.”
Jamaican-born Ontario Provincial Police acting sergeant, Shernett Williams, was part of the OPP Bound team honoured with an Ovation award for leadership. Individuals interested in joining the provincial law enforcement agency spent three and a half days with the team learning about the organization’s history and traditions.
Deputy minister and OPP Deputy Commissioner, Jay Hope, conceived the idea to establish the OPP Bound team to attract more women and visible minorities.
A graduate of Seneca College’s law enforcement program, Williams joined the OPP in 1993 and was assigned to the Number Five District Headquarters and the Cambridge Detachment before becoming a recruitment officer with the career development bureau six years ago.
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Rick Bartolucci and Hope presented the awards.
“This is not just another awards ceremony,” said Hope. “It is special because they celebrate outstanding achievement and it honours the passion and commitment of staff in the pursuit of excellence.
“The awards also embody the values of our ministry which are accountable leadership, responsibility, employees who are committed to public service, equitable behaviour, diversity and equity in the workplace.”
Added Bartolucci: “Today we celebrate players who understand that it’s very important to be creative so that we can always be one step ahead of where we are supposed to be in order to provide confidence to the people of Ontario.”