Toronto gets second Black female senior police officer
January 11, 2019
Meeting retired officer Terry James 22 years ago was Stacy Clarke’s first encounter with a Black female Toronto Police officer.
Late staff inspector Jim Sneep, a long-time friend of Clarke’s mother, forged the impromptu recruitment meeting after Clarke graduated from the University of Windsor with a degree in criminology & sociology and was considering applying to law school.
The meeting changed her career path.
“I remember Terry telling me that I need to be part of the solution and not the problem,” recalled Clarke. “Those words were powerful.”
Two decades after joining the Service, she has joined the city’s police senior rank as an inspector.
The appointment comes eight years after Sonia Thomas made history.
Clarke doesn’t take the promotion lightly.
“I am standing on the shoulders of trailblazers and I now have a responsibility to lift as I climb,” said the 2018 DiverseCity fellow. “The promotion also proves that anything is possible.”
Spending the early part of her career working in the community response unit, youth bureau and intelligence, she also split four years between the homicide and divisional policing support units before being transferred to the police college in 2008. After being promoted two years later, she was assigned to 13 Division as a sergeant. In 2012, she was transferred to 22 Division where she worked in the primary response unit and detective office.
As a member of Professional Standards, Clarke was assigned to the Police and Community Review (PACER) project that focused on how the Service could enhance public trust and safety while delivering a bias free service.
Former Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) president Audrey Campbell was Clarke’s co-chair on the PACER committee.
“When I met Stacy five years ago, she and retired superintendent Dave McLeod were tasked with meeting community representatives and stakeholders to hear our concerns and issues with respect to police treatment and marginalized communities, especially when it came to carding,” said Campbell. “Trust was the big issue. In those five years, Stacy demonstrated that only was she trustworthy, but she understood our concerns and was compassionate. Through her promotions to staff sergeant and now inspector, she has demonstrated that you can rise without compromising your morals and integrity.”
Promoted to staff sergeant in 2016, Clarke led the learning development & standards section at the police college before being elevated to the senior ranks.
She has been assigned to 14 Division.
Clarke is one of five Black female senior police officers in Canada. In addition to Thomas, Ingrid Berkeley-Brown is a deputy chief with Peel Regional Police and Vanessa Leslie and Isobel Granger are inspectors with the Ontario Provincial Police and Ottawa Police respectively.