New deputy chief excited to join local force

February 2, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

If Leah Gilfoy has learned one thing during her 26-year career with the Toronto Police Service, it is the importance of engaging and working closely with the local community.

A mantra that has served her well in the big city, it’s one that should do her even better in Orangeville. Sitting down with the Citizen on Monday, the newly announced deputy chief of the Orangeville Police Service (OPS) spoke with excitement about what this new role means to her on both a personal and a professional level.

“I really can’t find the words to appropriately say how excited I am to join the Orangeville Police Service,” Ms. Gilfoy said. “This is a huge opportunity for me. In Toronto, I have been one of 5,000 officers. Here in Orangeville, I can make a real difference.”

As she listed off what is an incredibly impressive resume, it’s clear to see OPS’ newest addition is more than qualified for the position. Kick-starting her career as a constable in 1991, Leah was placed in 12 Division, based at Black Creek Drive and Trethewey Drive, in one of the most economically and culturally diverse communities in Toronto. There she spent 12 years, working in various different areas, most notably the unit’s drug squad.

Ms. Gilfoy was recognized for her work ethic and leadership potential in 2004, when she received the first promotion of her career. She was promoted to sergeant and moved to nearby 13 Division, which provides policing services to the core area of the old City of York and where she was charged with operating a platoon of 13 constables.

“That was my first experience in a supervisory position and it really opened my eyes into what exactly it means to be a leader. I learned a lot during my time there,” Ms. Gilfoy stated.

After stints with the Criminal Investigative Bureau, Professional Standards and at the Toronto Police headquarters, Ms. Gilfoy eventually settled into the role of detective sergeant, once again with Professional Standards. While she has enjoyed her career in the big city, Leah says she could not pass up the opportunity to come home to Dufferin County.

“This is definitely a homecoming of sorts for me. My husband and I have lived in this community for 22 years. We do everything in Orangeville, our kids grew up playing sports in Orangeville. It’s a wonderful community. I couldn’t think of a better place to live or work in,” Ms. Gilfoy said.

Her husband, of course, is long-time OPS Const. Andy May. Asked if working alongside her husband could spring any potential problems, Ms. Gilfoy answered with a categorical no. The pair worked together for years at the Toronto Police Service before Mr. May transferred to Orangeville in 2009.

“Personally, I think it’s a great thing that you have two people working together whose main aim is making a difference in their community,” Ms. Gilfoy said.

As she prepares to assume her position at the end of the month, Leah is already coming up with ideas on how she can help take the OPS to the next level. She has ideas of implementing a more progressive style of policing, which focuses more on getting to the root cause of problems, potentially preventing future crimes rather than focusing solely on enforcement. She also plans to better connect with the people of Orangeville and really try to drive home the sense that the local police force is here for them.

“Right now, the OPS might be considered something of a small service. I think we should try and expand on our footprint, help more people know who the Orangeville Police Service is,” Ms. Gilfoy said.

In her duties, Leah will be in charge of all operations at the facility, allowing Chief Wayne Kalinski to spend even more time engaging with the community. Having already met most of the officers and civilian staff, Ms. Gilfoy is confident she’s joining a winning team.

“This police service is great; the staff are great. They are really community-focused people. From what I can see, they really are the cream of the crop,” Ms. Gilfoy said. “I can see how much these officers care about their community. I can’t wait to get started.”

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