“You’ve got to follow your passion. You’ve got to figure out what it is you love – who you really are. And have the courage to do that. The only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your dreams.” ― Oprah Winfrey Kishona Neethirajah, Auxiliary Constable in Toronto Police Services, shares her journey.
My journey as an Auxiliary Constable began two years ago when I graduated from the class of 2015. But this is not where my passion started for policing. I moved to Canada from a small town in Sri Lanka with my family at the age of 9.
As a child, I had always had a desire to become a police officer. But coming from an orthodox family, my parents were skeptical of a career for women in the law enforcement field. This led me to put a pause on my dreams and pursue my education as a registered nurse at Ryerson University. After completing my four year degree program, I decided to follow my passion. Although nursing is a great profession, my heart was longing for my childhood dream.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to apply for a volunteer position as an Auxiliary Constable with the Toronto Police Service. Ever since starting my new life in Canada, I have always encountered pleasant officers who were welcoming and kind. The work that police officers do is truly amazing and sometimes overlooked.
A lot of people from the Tamil community have a slight fear of law enforcement due to previous encounters in their native land. This encouraged me to be a part in changing this perception, as well as inspiring other women who want to follow similar dreams.
During my 3rd year in university, a police officer came to my seminar to discuss the various community engagements including MCIT (Mobile Crisis Intervention Team). This conversation reminded me of who I really wanted to be. I felt a spark and got the courage to pursue a career that I admire and love.
After being successful in the process for a position as an Auxiliary Constable, I informed my parents. To my surprise, they were very happy and excited about the new position. Seeing me grow and develop as a person in this field, my family and friends became my greatest support. They had seen the new opportunity and wanted nothing but the best for me. My family’s opinion of policing evolved into a positive perception, allowing me to further pursue my passion with greater support.
My new journey as an auxiliary constable exposed me to different types of opportunities. Being an auxiliary is a rewarding volunteer position that allows positive engagements with the community. Auxiliary officers are part of a very dedicated and committed team of community volunteers. As auxiliaries, we are also responsible for carrying out the same level of expectations, which include positive communication and demonstrating the Toronto police’s core values.
Auxiliary members are from various backgrounds and expertise who volunteer their time to serve the community. Auxiliary Constables can be found at many community events engaging with individuals to enhance public relations. This is my favourite part of the job because I get the opportunity to interact with various individuals and be a role model for others with similar interests.
My goal one day is to become a police officer and represent the Tamil community to help build positive engagements. Nursing gave me the insight to being non-judgmental and opened my eyes to looking at people in a different light. As a registered nurse, I can combine both my medical and auxiliary experience to purse a career as a police officer. I have a long way to go and a lot of improvements to make. But every time I wear the auxiliary uniform, I feel closer to my dreams.
As a female, physical fitness is one of my biggest hurdles. But that will not stop me from pursuing my passion. Each day, I work hard to be stronger and to better myself. One day I believe my hard work will pay off.
For those of you who have an unmet passion, follow your heart. From my own experience, I have learned that you are happier when you do something you love. Never let others influence your career path. Have the courage to come out of your bubble and your happiness will find you. As long as you put in your best effort, everything else will fall into place.
Kishona Neethirajah, RN
Auxiliary Constable #51862
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