Jamaican-born Rohan Thompson has become the second Black Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer to make the rank of superintendent.
“I am very happy and pleased to receive this recognition,” he told Share shortly after learning of the promotion last week. “I appreciate all of the support I have received from family, friends and my mentors.”
Thompson’s supporters include Jay Hope, who was the provincial police service’s first Black senior officer before retiring in April 2012.
“As one of Rohan’s mentors, it’s gratifying to see him making this crucial and difficult step into the highest ranks of policing,” said Hope. “He’s someone who has always excelled in promotional exams and as a SWAT team leader. I have no doubt he will achieve the rank of deputy commissioner in the OPP or with some other progressive law enforcement organization. Living in the United States, I see how really backward policing is only in terms of recruitment and promotion of Blacks. This little step is amazing for the OPP in particular.”
In his new position, Thompson will be responsible for the Correctional Services Oversight and Investigations Unit, created in the summer of 2013 to strengthen compliance and accountability and streamline investigations which were also shared with the Ombudsman.
His promotion becomes effective on January 1 and he will report to Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Stephen Rhodes.
Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services director, David Mitchell, said Thompson paid his dues and fully deserves the elevation.
“Rohan’s promotion to the rank of superintendent with the OPP is an acknowledgment of his professional excellence and another indication to young people in our community and in this profession that hard work and perseverance will pay off,” said Mitchell, who is an Association of Black Law Enforcers’ (ABLE) co-founder and ex-president. “I salute the OPP as they continue to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
As an inspector since September 2008, Thompson is an operations manager in the Greater Toronto Area with responsibility for overseeing and supervising the Niagara, Whitby, Cambridge and Highway 407 detachments, the emergency response and canine teams and the traffic unit.
Born in St. Elizabeth which is in southwest Jamaica, Thompson said his love for policing was derived from two brothers who were Jamaica Constabulary Force members.
Coming to Canada in 1982, he graduated from Glenforest High School in Mississauga and George Brown College and was a summer co-op student with the OPP prior to becoming a uniformed member in 1990.
“This is the only organization I wanted to work with because it provides employees with the opportunity to see the province in a way you would not be able to do in most other jobs,” said Thompson, a married father of two children.
Assigned to the Port Credit and Niagara Falls detachments during his first six years on the job, he was promoted to sergeant in 1996 and staff sergeant six years later. In that role, he was requested to assemble a Provincial Emergency Response Team (PERT) when the OPP conducted a gap analysis in the wake of the September 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
The PERT comprises specialists trained to respond to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive disposal and urban search and rescue operations.
An aide-de-camp the last five years to David Onley who stepped down as the province’s lieutenant governor last month, Thompson was recently re-appointed to serve Elizabeth Dowdeswell, who succeeds Onley.