A message from your fabulous Co-Chairs! 

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Serving with Pride (SWP) is a not-for-profit LGBTQ2 network, made up of police, corrections and criminal justice professionals from across Ontario. We are dedicated to promoting diversity, inclusion, awareness, and acceptance of LGBTQ2 police, corrections and criminal justice personnel and to building bridges with the greater LGBTQ2 community that we serve.


Serving with Pride is an amazing organization with a long history of successfully assisting our LGBTQ2 members and improving the overall relationship between police and the LGBTQ2 public. 


While your organization or service may have an internal LGBTQ2 peer support network, you undoubtedly recognize that there may be police officers or employees who still don’t feel comfortable being “out” at work. SWP provides a confidential, safe network of peers who understand the systemic barriers and stereotyping that are unique to the police environment, without being tied to any one service.


For those officers and employees that are already “out” and comfortable at work, the network also provides an extensive network of peers along with opportunities for participation at social and learning events that will allow them to not only advance in their own personal and professional development but give them an opportunity be a catalyst for continuing change, representing their agency, sharing their experiences and best practices.


We are proud of the work that our board has been doing to edcuate police, corrections and criminal justice professionals.  We have trained employees from approximately 35 (or over 250 people) services across Ontario with our LGBTQ2 101 series. With this education those porfessionals are better equiped with understanding of the LGBTQ2 community and their unique needs.

It is our hope that you use the resources available on our website and share our key messages with all of your colleagues to promote the value and benefit of becoming a member of Serving with Pride. For more information about SWP, questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@servingwithpride.ca.

Joanna Styrczula

Jean Turner


Serving With Pride, Co-chairs

And now, for your executive! 

Jean Turner - Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 'O' Division (Ontario)



Jean Turner began her career with the RCMP in 2002 as an Operational Communications Centre (OCC) dispatcher where she quickly excelled; earning a Commanding Officer’s award for her innovation and outstanding effort in developing and implementing a database that is still being used by the “O” Division OCC today.

She was promoted to the position of Communications Specialist, RCMP Communications & Media Relations in 2006 and promoted again to Senior Communications Advisor in 2018. 

In her current role, Jean develops and executes stakeholder communications strategies and products for Division internal and external communications requirements. Provides expert strategic communications advice, research, analysis, planning and oversight, to the Commanding Officer and the Division Executive Committee (DEC) on high profile communications trends and issues affecting programs, business lines, stakeholder relations or strategic priorities.


She also provides subject matter expertise with respect to Division media relations, social media, web presence and creative services support in design/publishing and provides coaching and mentoring; guiding and advising subordinates, setting goals, objectives and priorities for other team members.

As chair of the RCMP "O" Division (Ontario) LGBTQ2 Employee Network, past co-chair  and current champion on the RCMP “O” Division Diversity and Employment Equity Committee and past Divisional representative on the RCMP LGBTQ2 National Advisory Committee, Jean has a keen interest and experience in workplace diversity and inclusion issues.

She is happily raising her two children and in her spare time likes live music, golf and biking.

Co-Chair/Media Relations

Joanna Styrczula - Peel Regional Police Service

Joanna been employed with Peel Regional Police since 2009, and has worked in
numerous bureaus over the past 10 years. Joanna is currently assigned to the Equity and
Inclusion bureau (EIB), but has for several years been supporting and working closely with
EIB in an effort to develop the organizations capacity and understanding of 2SLGBTQ+
issues. Joanna also began her career with the Ministry of Correctional Services in 2003 until
2009. In her past position as a School Resource officer, Joanna has heard from the diverse
voices of students and staff who run Gay-Straight Alliances in schools within the Region of
Peel, and leverages their ideas to better understand the needs and interests of 2SLGBTQ
youth. In addition, Joanna has worked with Safe City Mississauga where she aided in a
review of hetero-normative presentations on intimate partner violence in order to facilitate
more inclusive materials on 2SLGBTQ relationships for high school students. Joanna is also
a Co-Chair on the Peel Regional Police Chief’s 2SLGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, where she
has used this platform to build relationships between police and 2SLGBTQ+ community
members and agencies.


She also sits on the Peel Regional Police Diversity and Inclusion Committee whose mission
is to foster trust and promote equity, diversity and inclusion throughout all areas of the
Recently, Joanna authored a proposal to create an LGBTQ Internal Support Network for
Peel Regional Police in order to promote visibility, and develop mandates, strategies and
programs that are aimed at promoting diversity and inclusivity. Through this work, she
hopes to transform societal and systemic barriers and present an affirmative view of those
who identify as 2SLGBTQ.
Joanna is enthusiastic about her involvement with Serving with Pride and is driven to use
this role to bring awareness, form partnerships, and promote positive change in the


Dena Peden - Durham Regional Police Service


My name is Dena Peden. I am a lifetime resident of the Region of Durham, Ontario. For over fifteen years I have proudly served as police officer with the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS). I currently hold the rank of Sergeant and work as a Diversity Training Coordinator. I have had the opportunity to work in a number of roles within the police service such as emergency response; special investigative assignments and community lead initiatives. I am a graduate of the Police Foundations Program at Durham College and have acquired a Bachelor of Applied Art - Justice Studies Degree from the University of Guelph, both with distinction.  

I lead and support a number of community programs within the community that have a direct connection to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) youth. I specifically established Police involvement in a program called Colours that is affiliated with Carea Community Health Centre. The program provides an open, unbiased, and safe environment for LGBTQ youth and Allies between the ages of 13 to 20 years.  It fosters a strong sense of involvement in the community by building trusting relationships through offering community resources and workshops with special guests for all youth in attendance. I acquire program funding through ProAction Cops & Kids.


Since 2015, I’ve held a Secretary position on the Board of Directors for Serving with Pride. I also served as a founding director of the Ajax Pride House that was established in advance of the 2015 PAN AM games. The Ajax Pride House was a collaboration of several community agencies. I also work closely with the Durham Boys & Girls Club and support a variety of other youth focused programs that provide opportunities for LGBTQ youth. I am committed to leading by example, I am a guest lecturer at the Ontario Police College to support the establishment of ‘best practices’ related to diversity, equity and inclusion. I am a champion for being your authentic self!


Tijana Lakovic - Sergeant with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, TSDC


Tijana Lakovic is a Sergeant with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services who believes in an anti-oppressive practice and client-centred care.

Tijana currently holds a Diploma in Police Foundations, a double Major Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Psychology and a Masters of Social Work. As a member of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services she is currently the member of the tactical unit- Institution Crisis Intervention Team, the Critical Incident Stress Management Team, a Women in Corrections committee member and a Positive Space Champion. 


Tijana is committed to advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community and furthering education within law enforcement agencies.


Tamara Lopez - Border Services Officer - Canada Border Services Agency


Tamara was recently appointed as a director for Serving With Pride and couldn’t be more elated to begin her role further advancing the LGBTQ2 Community in the world of law enforcement.


Tamara graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree with a major in Psychology and minor in Sexuality Studies from the University of Windsor. During her time in Windsor, Tamara became heavily involved in student governance and student politics by being a board member on the University of Windsor Student Alliance, where one of their roles was to oversee the various student clubs on campus. Tamara noticed that there was not a LGBTQ2 club on campus nor a designated “safe space”. Therefore, Tamara, along with a faculty member and another student put in a proposal to create the group “Out on Campus” as well as a safe space for students. Tamara was also able to put in a proposal to receive funding to send several students to the largest mid-western LGBTQ2 Conference held at Ohio State University in 2003 as well as host an event on campus for National Coming Out Day. Tamara has won numerous awards from the university for her advocacy including Volunteer of the Year and Student of the Year Awards. Tamara’s legacy at the University of Windsor is that both Out on Campus and the safe space still exists to this day.


She began her career with the CBSA in 2005, having worked as a student for one summer in 2003. During her time with the CBSA, Tamara has worn many hats including Facilitator at the National Customs College in Quebec, line officer, trainer – both in-house and with the government of Canada’s Joint Learning Program. Tamara has also had the opportunity to be a part-time professor at both Sheridan and Humber College teaching in the Police Foundations Program. In 2017, the CBSA announced that it created its first LGBTQ2 Committee and Tamara, being passionate about further advancing all identities, quickly joined the committee and is on track for training to become a Positive Space Ambassador, where she will be able to train others on the importance of being inclusive.


Tamara also hosts a video segment for the CBSA called “Carpool Conversations” with her two most recent episodes focusing on diversity and inclusion. Tamara has also been a member of the CBSA’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion as well as Women’s Advisory Committee and has helped plan, promote and educate others on the topic of diversity and LGBTQ rights and history. The CBSA has utilized Tamara for media purposes to promote International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Bi-phobia and will be featured in their upcoming recruitment campaign showcasing the CBSA’s diverse work force.


She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for her commitment to activism both inside and outside of work.


Outside of work, Tamara is very active having recently retired from the University of Windsor’s Alumni Association Board or Directors after a 6-year term; had her own television program showcasing the community and hosting such events as the Santa Claus Parade each year. She is also the host of Women As Career Coaches put on yearly by the Halton Industry Education Council which is attended by 700 women. Tamara is also a motivational speaker having spoken at numerous high schools in the Halton Region about her career and the different roles that she has had. Tamara graciously accepts any opportunity where she can make a difference, and she hopes to do just that during her time on Serving With Pride.


Benjamin Cruickshank - Ontario Provincial Police, South Wellington Operations Centre - Rockwood



After attending the Ontario Police College and the Provincial Police Academy, Ben started his career with the OPP at the Caledon Detachment.  He transferred to the South Wellington Detachment in order to be closer to his husband and home in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

Prior to becoming a police officer, Ben studied in the registered nursing program, was a life and critical illness underwriter, an Executive Member of the Canadian Institute of Underwriters and President of the Southwestern Ontario Underwriters Association.

Ben has also dedicated much of his time as a Canadian Forces Reserve Officer, working in the CIC, earning the rank of Major.  Through this length of service Ben earned his Canadian Forces Decoration.  In 2012 Ben was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal recognizing his time and dedication to Canadian youth.

Ben's personal motto is: "ducere exemplo" (Lead By Example).  This is something that he strives to live by in his professional and personal life.  Being open and honest about his sexual orientation at work is important for him and he has been supported by his colleagues and service.  Ben has been partnered with his husband for nine years, and married for three.


Patty Retsinas - Toronto Police Service


The Toronto Police service is the largest, most diverse and most influential municipal police service in Canada serving 140 official and unique neighborhoods. I have policed every single one of those neighborhoods in various aspects of my career. However, 10 out of my 29-year career as a Police Officer I exclusively patrolled 51 and 52 division, the core of the city that attracts millions of visitors each year from all over the world. The area also encompasses what is known as the Church and Wellesley community also known as the "Gay Village”.


My legacy to the community is a StreetsArt Toronto mural. Working closely with a street artist, I conducted countless hours of research, interviews and community consultation. We created a mural that now stands on the wall of 425 Church Street “It’s in Our Hands”. The mural represents the service’s “past, present and future” relationship with the city’s LGBTQ2S+ communities. Components of that relationship is represented in the mural.

I am currently in my third term as the Co-chair of the Toronto Police Service LGBTQ Internal Support Network. It has become my passion to support my peers and advocate for LGBTQ equality in the workplace. I have assisted in spearheading several initiatives to help create the TPS a more inclusive place to work for our LGBTQ members.

I have been involved in hosting several educational events such as; former Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynn, discussing “Being Out in a Leadership Position”. Orlando Chief of Police, discussing “Pulse Night Club Shooting”. Viewing of the documentary “The Fruit Machine” and panel discussion with survivors of the purge, Director and Lawyer of the class action law suit. After the expulsion of Toronto Police Service from Toronto Pride Parade, as co-chair of the ISN I founded the First Responders Pride Party to create a safe space for our members to celebrate Pride.

In collaboration with Toronto Firefighters and Toronto Paramedics the ISN raised over $50,000 that has been donated to numerous community LGBTQ2S+ charities and organizations that support emergency response members. I am an educator for Fair and Impartial Policing and keep up with best practices and networking by attending conferences and seminars related to diversity.

In 2014 I assisted with hosting the First LGBTQ North American Conference in Toronto and attended the 1st World LGBT Conference for Criminal Justice Professionals in Amsterdam and the 2nd in Toronto.

Currently I am a co-producing a documentary called “Comingoutcops” in partnership with members of SWP and Ottawa Police. A community film focused on humanizing LGBTQ2S+ members in Law Enforcement. The documentary is expected to premier in the spring of 2020.

With 29 years of policing with The Toronto Police Service, a leader in policing and a life time resident of the GTA, I have developed an intimate knowledge and deep love for the City and for my LGBTQ2S+ community. I keep my head in the game so that I can continue to champion for LGBTQ2S+ equality, to improve and build public trust, foster new relationships and build bridges.


Matthew Cudahy - Ministry of the Solicitor General


I have served for 21 years as a Correctional Officer and Sergeant, at 5 different institutions across Ontario, from the old Toronto (Don) Jail to my current assignment at Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay. Although I am originally from Toronto I have lived all over the province and currently reside in Peterborough, which has a very active Pride community for such a small city.

I've seen a lot of changes in the service over the years and various institutions I've worked and I believe I bring a positive, proactive and inclusive approach to my role as a Sergeant in Correctional Services. I am an executive committee member with Pride in Corrections (PinC) which is our internal LGBTQ2+ support network, and a Positive Space Champion. My office and workspace is known to be a safe and inclusive space for all staff. As policies adjust to become more inclusive, both for our staff and for the inmates within our facilities, I have found all levels of administration struggling to apply those policies within the workplace in a relevant manner. As both a supervisor and a member of the LGBTQ2+ community I have been able to not only advise administration on the application of these policies but also advocate and enforce their application when necessary.

We have come a long way since I started in the jails in 1999, but there is still work for us to do and I believe education is the answer. That's why I believe in Serving With Pride, an independent organization whose goal is both to advocate for inclusivity within our workspaces and within the communities we serve, and to provide relevant LGBTQ2+ education to our peers. I am both pleased and honoured to be sitting as a Director on the SWP Board.


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