Staff-Sgt. Riyaz Hussein, 41, the officer in charge of recruiting, says there will always be enough people coming to headquarters with resumés, but that often the “cream” doesn’t apply.
By attending community events and other social functions, Hussein says the force can meet one on one with potential candidates, especially members of the city’s various cultural and ethnic communities.
He points out that, although the police service does not have specific quotas on visible minority hires, it does want a workforce that reflects the diverse community that Toronto has become.
“Each individual is hired on his or her own merit as a person,” says Hussein, who grew up in Scarborough but was born in Tanzania.
Amaan Dawood, 32, is an example of a newly minted constable who joined the service after chatting with recruitment officers during a community event.
Born in Kenya but raised in the GTA, Dawood holds a degree in urban and regional planning from Ryerson University. Because of a glut in his field, he worked in clothing retail for 10 years.
A police officer friend planted the seed for a career change, but it wasn’t until early 2006 when, by pure chance, he pursued the idea. Dawood, a Muslim, was participating in the annual Ismaili charity walk, a function where Hussein was manning the information booth.
“We had a great talk,” Dawood says. “I had a lot of my questions answered. He made me feel comfortable and I was pretty well sold.”