Two days after turning in his badge at the end of January after 42 years with the Toronto Police Service, duty desk sergeant Kelly Mohammed and his wife will head to the Dominican Republic for a vacation.
Mohammed relishes travelling. He also enjoyed being a cop for over four decades. When he takes his next trip, however, he wouldn’t have to worry about returning to work.
“You know, sometimes you go away and your mind is still on the job,” said Mohammed who joined the organization in May 1969, a year after migrating from Trinidad & Tobago. “As the vacation nears the end, you start to think about work again. I wouldn’t have to do that this time around.”
Mohammed said his interest in law enforcement was sparked while growing up in Barataria, a small town just east of Port-of-Spain, the capital of T & T.
“Several police officers lived in the district and I admired the way they did their work and the respect they received,” he said. “I wanted just to be like one of them.”
Mohammed’s wish was granted when the TPS – the only police service he applied to – hired him. He did his probation at 52 Division before being transferred to 53 Division where he spent 30 years. His final move was to the duty desk at headquarters in 1999.
He worked with several divisions, including the Morality and Investigative units but it was his posting with the Community Mobilization Unit that he said brought him the most satisfaction.
“I am a people person and I enjoy the interaction and helping others,” said Mohammed. “Policing is about the community we serve and not about us. The human side of policing has always appealed to me, like helping elderly people, mediating in domestic disputes and referring individuals who need medical help to the right agencies.”
Mohammed becomes very emotional when he talks about the time he reunited a young man, who was on medication for a mental illness, with his mother after nearly six years.
“The day he graduated from high school, he did not go home,” said Mohammed. “He had a dentist appointment the next day and he did not show up there either. Obviously, he did not use his medication and he became disoriented and was separated from his family for a few years even though he was right here in the city. It so happened one day he came in to headquarters and I was able to determine that he needed help and eventually, after doing some investigative work, hooked him up with his family who were delighted to have him back.”
The veteran cop said there are many mentally disturbed people roaming the city like the one who entered police headquarters lobby wielding a machete about nine years ago.
“When I told him to hand the weapon to me, he refused saying he wanted my gun instead,” said Mohammed. “He then proceeded to tell me that I should shoot him.”
The threat was averted when Mohammed, with the help of fellow officers, subdued the man without incident.
“That was the closest I came to using my firearm,” said Mohammed, the secretary-treasurer of his Mississauga church board. “There were so many things going through my mind at that moment with the adrenalin flowing. I knew that I might have had to use more than one round to stop him if he advanced closer to me and there was concern that the bullets could have ricocheted off our walls. It was also during afternoon rush hour and people were moving around outside and inside our building.”
In retirement, the father of three and avid gardener plans to learn to play the piano, travel and continue keeping fit by riding his bicycle. He was a racing cyclist in T & T and close friend of the late David Gibbon – the brother of top Trinidadian rider Roger Gibbon – who was killed in a road accident in Arima while on an afternoon training ride in the late 1960s.