2021 Election Candidates
The following people have submitted their interest to run for a position on our Executive Board. This page will be updated with names and biographies as they are received.
Co-chair - 1 position available
1. Stephen Reid.
Stephen Reid is the Executive Director for the Police Association of Ontario (PAO), a position which he started in May 2015. As the operational head of the organization, Stephen has been leading the implementation of an ambitious government relations and public engagement strategy that has been promoting the role of all police services professionals as an integral and important part of public safety in the province.
Building relationships with the government and opposition parties in the Ontario legislature has been a primary focus of the PAO leading up to the implementation of the new Comprehensive Police Services Act (COPS Act). The PAO is actively involved in advocating for programs and services that continue to support all front-line police services personnel covering mental health and wellness, vaccinations, and new technologies to name a few.
One of the most successful programs Stephen has been involved in has been the launch of the PAO Police Hero of the Year program that began in 2016. The campaign is designed to have the public nominate the sworn and civilian heroes that have made a difference in their lives and communities. Since the program has been in existence, we have received over 1,000 nominations in total from citizens that want their heroes to be recognized.
Stephen has also been actively involved in communication strategies over the past six years, responding to any number of issues and crisis events involving its membership. As he continues with his PhD studying how negative media stories in Canada and throughout the world is affecting police service personnel self-legitimacy, Stephen continues to be a staunch believer in being an active participant in any conversations about policing as a public service.
Recently, Stephen began a diversity and inclusion speaker series involving three webinars for members across Ontario focused on LGBTQ2SA+, BPOC and Indigenous community relationships with policing. He has been tasked with mapping out a strategy of implementing actionable steps towards bridging the gaps in the relationships.
Stephen and his partner Matt live in downtown Toronto a few blocks from the Church Wellesley neighbourhood.
Treasurer - 1 position available
1. Tijana Lakovic. See our Board of Directors page for her full biography.
Secretary - 1 position available
1. Tamara Lopez. See our Board of Directors page for her full biography.
Director - 2 positions available
1. Ben Cruickshank. See our Board of Directors page for his full biography.
2. Carmen Wong
Carmen Wong began her career with the Toronto Police Service in 2005, and is currently the new LGBTQ2S Liaison officer for the Toronto Police Service. Being new to the role, she has committed herself to learning about the various communities and also making new connections with members of the communities, LGBTQ2S agencies and liaison officers from various jurisdictions.
She is currently in the initial phase of research, design, and strategic planning for how the liaison position will evolve. She intends for it to encompass the development and delivery of training material, providing and encouraging peer support for internal members, expanding the position from a sole officer to a broader team, strengthening the relationships that her police service has with diverse communities, increased advocacy and assisting with cultural change within the organization. She feels these objectives are well aligned with the work that Serving With Pride does and that it would provide value to the organization as she continues to build community relationships.
Her lived experience as refugee who grew up abroad, a racialized immigrant, and an out queer woman who has fifteen years of policing experience in Canada’s largest city brings a unique lens to her work in strengthening relationships with those in the LGBTQ2S communities who feel most marginalized and underrepresented.
She is a strong believer in working collaboratively, learning from others, and sharing information, the reciprocity of the knowledge and networks shared between her role as a liaison officer, and Serving with Pride will be extremely beneficial to advance the objective of advocating for LGBTQ2S representation and visibility.
Youth Director - 2 positions available
1. Breanna Watts
Breanna has dreamed about becoming a police officer since she was young and will be one step closer when she starts the Police Foundations program at Durham College in the fall. "I would love to be a part of the Serving with Pride Board of Directors because I have heard so much about the organization and how much they have done for the 2SLGBTQ+ community." Breanna was an active member of her high school GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) where she helped to spread awareness and education and she sees SWP as an opportunity to continue that work on a larger scale. Breanna feels she would contribute to the Board by bringing fresh ideas and perspectives and help connect with other youth leaders. "Being a part of the Serving with Pride Board of Directors would be an amazing opportunity because I will learn so much and I could take that knowledge to my peers."
2. Jesse Castle
Growing up, if there were two things missing in my hometown community of ~40,000 people, it was visible 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and leadership, as well as resources for this marginalized group of people. Coming out was terrifying, and not knowing what was going on due to lack of education within the school systems made things that much more difficult. I struggled severely with my mental health, ultimately playing with the idea of suicide until I attempted in 2014. This was also the year I finally “came out” as a lesbian, only to discover my true identity in the Fall of 2017, which would be the greatest turning point in my life when I finally transitioned from female to male and embraced my cultural identity as Two-Spirit. In hindsight, I firmly believe I would not have made many of the mistakes I did in my childhood and adolescence should I have had one 2SLGBTQ+ role model visible in the community. Because I made those mistakes and nobody else was in the spotlight, ready to be criticized on all fronts, I decided to step into the proverbial ring for a cause much greater than myself. This move caused much heartache due to callous words spoken by cruel teens, but also allowed a platform for other struggling individuals to stand upon. And now, 7 years after coming out the first time and 3.5 years after coming out the final time, I stand a changed man with an indomitable spirit for the well-being of those around me.
I’m applying for the Youth Director position because I firmly believe in Serving With Pride’s leadership and direction, and I believe that my unique perspective from years lived both as a female and male will provide me with insight that may be used in championing 2SLGBTQ+ rights. I am also hoping to inspire those around me from historically challenged backgrounds to rise up, get involved, make a change from the inside-out. I firmly believe that transparency as well as education and visibility will be catalysts for improving trust between the 2SLGBTQ+ community and police. The only way that police organizations can attain this is by having visible representatives within individual police services who can liaise with their communities in order to address unique community needs and social determinants of health that may play an impact in law enforcement personnel’s approach to solving problems. I believe that my background in Addictions & Mental Health, my resourcefulness with regards to community resources and partnerships, as well as my interest in ethics and philosophy will help me succeed in my eventual career as a police officer. Moreover, I hope to hone my own skills by learning from the current Board of Directors at Serving With Pride, as they have paved the way for me to have the opportunity that I do. I believe as a Youth Director, I will be guided and mentored while also being able to help with understanding the generation gap between one group to the next.
3. Noah Clouthier
My name is Noah Clouthier, I am 18 years old and I currently attend the University of Toronto for social science. I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community and I also have the dream of becoming a law enforcement officer in the future. I love being an active member in the community, I feel that it is important to build up my community so that it can be a more inclusive place for the next generation.
I currently work in Durham Regional Police’s Equity & Inclusion Unit as the Student Project Administrator. Every day I am able to see the future of policing, I am able to do my part in making a service more equitable and inclusive for members who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. As a Youth In Policing Team Leader, I was able to encourage and impower members of my team to always be their authentic selves because that is diversity. Diversity is being able to be your authentic self without the fear of being judged or excluded.
I want to be a Youth Director for Serving with Pride because I want to share my insight into how Serving with Pride can reach more youth throughout Ontario. I know this organization can provide so much support to youth like myself who has always had an interest in policing but always told I couldn’t be a police officer due to my sexuality, which is not true. I want to network with police agency throughout the province to discuss how to promote a safe work environment for LGBTQ+ service members who still face discrimination. I would like to join your executive board because your organization impacts LQBTQ+ police service members as well as provides training about inclusivity and impacts youth in the community. Your organization is changing policing to be more inclusive for LGBTQ+ individuals and I want to be a part of that amazing change.
I am looking forward to the upcoming Annual General Meeting and I hope I will have the opportunity to work with this amazing organization.
4. Lauren Wexler
I am twenty years old and currently residing in Toronto, Ontario. At this time, I am enrolled in the two-year Police Foundations program at Humber College. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a part of law enforcement. I never had a specific career plan, however being in this program and learning about all the different career paths I could take, I knew being a police officer was the direction I wanted to go in.
I am a queer Jewish woman, which has created adversity for me at times. Having to deal with the constant fear of being who I am has given me the strength to try and deter that from happening to anyone else. My ultimate goal is to advocate for youth just like myself on a larger platform than just social media. I believe that serving with the Pride Board of Directors, as a Youth Director could allow me to bring in a new perspective and new ideas to the team of directors. I am young, but I have had my share of adversity, and believe I could really learn a lot as well as give a lot to this team.