By Ron Fanfair
Toronto Police Service
Constable Melinda Mantle has been named Toronto Police Services 42 Division Officer of the Year for helping foster a positive school environment.
The School Resource Officer (SRO) is making significant contributions in Scarborough where she has spent her entire policing career, since joining 42 Division a decade ago.
At the Division’s annual Family Fun Day on June 4 at Burrows Hall Community Centre and Park, Mantle was presented with the 42 Division Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) Officer of the Year Award for her outstanding impact in the neighbourhood.
“There is something new to do every day and the people I work with are simply amazing,” said the officer, who worked for non-profits before joining the Service.
Lester Pearson Collegiate Institute
She was assigned to Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute, two years ago, as their SRO. It’s a very busy school and the job is quite challenging,” she said. “The school is very diverse with many different cultures. I have learned so much since I have been there.”
In addition, Mantle assists with the breakfast program and runs a weekly girls’ workout program at the school.
When asked who she would dedicate the award to if she had the opportunity, Mantle didn’t hesitate in singling out 42 Division Neighbourhood Officers Constables Kathleen Petersen and Devon Martin. “They are simply amazing people to be around and they help make my job easy,” she said.
Denise De Paola, the principal at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute, said Mantle is an important member of the school community. “She has been able to build positive relationships with students and families by participating in extra-curricular celebrations and events such as the semi-formal prom and the lunchtime weight-training club for girls,” said De Paola. “Her leadership in Pearson’s involvement in the Cycle for Success program was greatly appreciated by students who benefited from the initiative. She regularly communicates with our administration to identify student and program needs and actively seeks support from her Division or the community to help.
“Her presence in the school has aided in ensuring a positive school climate and in changing students’ perception of law enforcement and their role in the community. This is evident in the number of students who will approach her to connect and seek support.”
Staff Sergeant Andy Ecklund said Mantle deserves the accolades. “She is an excellent officer who is very engaged in her school,” he noted. Her interactions with the young people are really incredible and you feel and see that connection. She has taken that community and made it her own.”
She continues a family tradition of policing the city. Her father, Larry Mantle, retired from the Service last year after nearly four decades on the job, while her uncle – Donald Mantle – retired as a Superintendent after 35 years with the Service. He died in 2012. Mantle’s brother, Bryan Mantle, is assigned to the Gun and Gang Task Force. – Toronto Police Service