Matthew Torigian remembers getting his police badge and it was nothing like recruits who get theirs today. “It was in the doorway of the home of one of the local justices of the peace,” Torigian said. The chief of the Waterloo Regional Police Service was on hand at Elmira District Secondary School Apr. 13 to welcome six new officers to the service.
Torigian said when badging ceremonies were started in the region, they were performed in the gym at police headquarters. It wasn’t until the change of command ceremony in 2007, when Torigian was appointed chief, that WRPS started to make the events public. With a positive response, Torigian decided to make the public presentation of the badges permanent and now badges recruits three times a year at schools and other community areas throughout the region.
“The reception is fantastic,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for members of the community to hear about (officers’) backgrounds and to see that they are a part of the community, with that connection and that bond.”
The ceremony featured a police colour guard, speeches and an inspection of the new officers in addition to the badging. Torigian also took the opportunity to recognize rural north division officer Paul Rabidoux for the work he has done in the Mennonite community. Rabidoux has worked on projects such as one that designed reflective safety vests for children in the Mennonite community to wear when walking at night.
New constable Chad Hall said the experience of finally receiving his badge was surreal.
“Growing up, policing was always a thought in the back of my mind,” said Hall. “I’m happy to be able to do what I did.”
Hall’s goal is to work with youth, providing a positive role model in his assigned division of Waterloo North.
“It’s very important to build a strong community from the ground up and I don’t think there’s any better way than to connect with youth,” he said.