Novice ‘inspectors’ gain insights on law enforcement
Alexa Tomaz, 11, of Port Dover and Sebastian Dickieson, 10, of Walsh, are this year’s winners of the Norfolk OPP’s Inspector for a Day event. Their shift began Wednesday morning at the Norfolk County court house where they were sworn in by Justice Kevin Sherwood. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
Two Norfolk youngsters got a rare inside look into the high-stakes world of policing on Wednesday.
Alexa Tomaz, 11, of Port Dover, and Sebastian Dickieson, 10, of Simcoe, were chosen from nearly 120 entries in the Norfolk OPP’s Inspector For A Day competition.
The pair filed short essays with the local detachment explaining why they would like to be police officers for a day. Their heartfelt entries earned them an all-day ride-a-long with Acting Insp. Shawn Nash, the head of the Norfolk OPP.
“Being able to spend the day with people who are living my dream job and seeing what they do on a day-to-day basis would be a thrilling yet educational experience,” Tomaz, a Grade 6 student at St. Cecilia’s School, said in her application.
“I always thought it was really cool how police officers keep our town safe and sound and would love to see it happen in real life.”
In his submission, Dickieson, a Grade 5 student at Walsh Public School, mentioned that he comes from a long line of police officers and hopes one day to continue the tradition.
“I want to be in law enforcement because I like helping to keep people safe from danger and criminals,” Dickieson said in his essay.
“I think people who break the law should be charged and taken to court for trial. I also would like to be a good example to my little brother. I am not afraid to use weapons if absolutely necessary in order to protect innocent people.”
Insp. Nash contacted the winning entries personally. Tomaz did a dance around the family Christmas tree after learning her application had been selected. Dickieson was rendered speechless.
“Just to see the smiles on their faces this morning – it was phenomenal,” Const. Ed Sanchuk, spokesperson for the Norfolk OPP, said Wednesday.
Both youngsters were fitted with official-looking uniforms and hats. Their uniforms arrived Monday and both immediately tried them on.
“I was thinking ‘This is what it looks like to be a cop,’” Dickieson said. “`I can finally be a cop.’”
Their morning began with Justice Kevin Sherwood of the Ontario Court of Justice swearing them into service. There was a press conference after that and then a meeting with Norfolk Mayor Charlie Luke.
Tomaz and Dickieson then rode along for a vehicle pullover, after which they made a stop at Teeterville Public School for an OPP Kids presentation.
The pair had lunch with Insp. Nash and then sat in on a seminar about the safe transport of offenders and a demonstration by an OPP canine unit. Their parents picked them up at the detachment around 3 p.m.
Unfortunately for the youngsters, they don’t get to keep the uniforms. The epaulets, shoulder flashes and belt buckles are real and could be used for nefarious purposes in the wrong hands. That’s why their families were on hand taking multiple photos and video.
Sanchuk says events like this can have real-life consequences. He recalled how the Norfolk OPP staged a Cop for a Day event about 18 years ago.
The winner of that event went on to serve with the local force. Const. Jeff Wardell recently accepted a transfer to the Perth OPP.