A message from your fabulous Co-Chairs! 

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.

Brian Mitchell

Jean Turner


Serving With Pride, Co-chairs

And now, for your executive! 

Brian Mitchell - Appleby College

Brian Mitchell served for 7 1/2 years as a Police Constable with York Regional Police & the Hamilton Police Service. When he started in Hamilton, after many years of wanting to live the dream of becoming a Police Officer, the goal was finally realized and the career of a life time began. Brian began his career 'in the closet', afraid of what people would think however after coming out to his squad he has learned that there is nothing but trust and support from his colleagues at the Hamilton Police Service. Since 2012, he has assisted in the creation of a service wide positive-space initiative with a dedicated LGBTQ+ positive space in each division and has also assisted with many fundraising and community events specifically geared towards the LGBTQ+ community in the City of Hamilton. 


After many years of policing, Brian made a careful and calculated decision to leave law enforcement for a career as Manager of Security for Appleby College, an independent school which is in Brian's community and will allow him to continue to make change, albeit from a far different perspective. 

Brian lectures at the Ontario Police College along with other community members to new recruit classes in the area of LGBTQ+ education in law enforcement. Brian believes that even though being a member of the LGBTQ+ community has been widely accepted in the major city centres, our brothers and sisters who serve across the remainder of the province still face discrimination within their detachments making this education an extremely important and necessary step.

Previous to policing, Brian worked with York Central Hospital as their Special Events Coordinator and held many positions at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto. His volunteer experience includes the CIBC Pride Network, United Way, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Hamilton-Burlington and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. 

Brian is extremely pleased to be re-appointed Co-Chair of Serving With Pride and is looking forward to the many exciting opportunities that will arise in the coming days, weeks, months and years for Serving With Pride and the advancement of equality for everyone SWP strives to assist.


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 was recently 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

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.


Joanna Styrczula - Peel Regional Police Service

As a dedicated advocate for the LGBTQ community, Joanna Styrczula is an active member and
Director for Serving with Pride.

Joanna has been employed with Peel Regional Police since 2009, working in numerous bureaus
and is currently assigned to the Neighbourhood Policing Unit as a School Resource Officer.
Joanna also began her career with the Ministry of Correctional Services in 2003 until 2009. In
her recent position, Joanna has heard from the diverse voices of students and staff who run
Gay-Straight Alliances in schools in the Peel Region and uses their ideas to better understand
the needs and interests of LGBTQ youth. In addition, Joanna has worked with Safe City
Mississauga where she aided in a review of heteronormative presentations on intimate partner
violence in order to facilitate more inclusive materials on LGBTQ relationships for high school

Joanna also sits on the Chiefs LGBTQ Advisory Committee, where she has used this platform to
build relationships between police and LGBTQ community members and agencies. 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 LGBTQ.

Joanna is enthusiastic about her position as Director for Serving with Pride and is driven to use
this role to bring awareness, form partnerships and promote positive change in the community.


Stephen Hertel - Corporal/ Platoon Leader with the University of Toronto Campus Police Service

I have been involved in various point in my career as a member and part of the first steps of Serving with Pride since its beginnings in 2006.


I’ve been the University of Toronto’s LGBTQ2 liaison officer since starting with the service in 2001.  As well I’ve added Indigenous People (First Nations House) liaison since 2005.  I’ve attended many international conferences where I was fortunate to learn and meet other members from different Police agencies. 


Working for a University has had awesome rewards with the LGBTQ2 community through my openness, educational value and community involvement.  It’s paramount for our service, as it is with SWP to be a strong, professional resource, and community partner. 


As policing is changing in the province, SWP will be seeing more and more Specials in different roles in Police Services.  Law enforcement agencies resources and their funding are changing to include Special Constables as a valuable and important asset.


Moving forward SWP will see “Specials” coming out and a director specific to their needs may prove beneficial. I've had over 20 years as an out gay man working in Policing in the Toronto area for more than 25 years.  I've gained community contacts and allies in the LGBTQ2 networks and think that with my enthusiasm, creativeness and drive to continue the awesome forward movements SWP is doing, will make me a great SWP Director!


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