New Toronto police officer follows father's advice twice
July 8, 2019
Timing is everything.
At a young age, Nathalee Thompson was very interested in policing.
That’s mainly because Delroy Thompson, who left Jamaica 51 years ago, kept reminding his daughter that policing and nursing offer job security.
“He often said ‘you can’t be out of work in those fields because people get sick and there are always criminals’,” recounted the 44-year-old single mother. “After completing university, I didn’t think I was in the right mind set to be a police officer.”
Thompson pursued the health care profession, working as a registered practical nurse at a long-term care facility in Ajax for almost 14 years.
Starting on the floor, she transitioned to documentation and was an interim clinical manager.
“I went into the profession with the expectation that I would be caring for patients,” said Thompson. “Over the years, I was doing more administrative work.”
Feeling unfulfilled at work, she contacted a friend – a female Durham Regional Police Officer – who had been encouraging her for nearly eight years to switch careers.
“I am ready,” Thompson told her. “I then got in touch with another friend who is with Toronto Police at 53 Division and he helped me with the application process.”
Within six weeks of applying, she was hired.
The timing was perfect as the Service lifted a hiring freeze in late 2017 and there is a large recruitment drive to replace the nearly 400 uniformed officers that have resigned or retired since the beginning of 2018.
Thompson was among 129 recruits presented with their badges on June 11 at the Enercare Centre.
It was the largest graduation in 12 years.
Delroy Thompson is happy his daughter pursued the two careers he proposed.
“There will always be a job,” he said. “My only advice to her is that there is some danger in policing and she shouldn’t take too many risks.”
The new recruit is ready for the new challenge of policing Canada’s largest and most diverse city.
“The moments leading up to the graduation felt surreal,” said Thompson who is assigned to 41 Division. “I am excited, but my daughters are over the moon and so happy for me. When I told them what I was doing, the eldest reaction was, ‘Really’ and ‘Are you sure?’ The biggest thing for me at the start is going to be adjusting to a shift schedule. Earlier on in my nursing career, I was on shift duty.”
Zyanne Thompson admits she was surprised when her mom announced she was pursuing policing.
“I was, however, really happy for her and I couldn’t be more proud of her today,” said the 18-year-old who was with her younger sister Zakiyyah Williams and their grandmother, Eulalee Robinson at the graduation.
Born and raised in Toronto, Thompson completed high school at Pickering High after four years at St. Brother Andre Catholic in Markham. Introduced to soccer because of her speed, she landed a scholarship at the University of Detroit Mercy and was an all-conference defender in 1996.
With seven goals and four assists in 60 games, Thompson graduated in 1997 with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She returned to the university campus two years ago to participate in the alumnae soccer game.
“When I came back home, I couldn’t get a job in that field, so I went back to school for a nursing certification,” she said.
After the birth of her second daughter 11 years ago, Thompson gained over 60 pounds.
She went to a gym with the intention of losing weight and feeling good.
“I saw some women training as a group,” she recalled. “I befriended one of them who introduced me to bodybuilding.”
It didn’t matter that Thompson was last in her first competition.
“I was a very shy person, but I found I became very open after my first show,” she said. “I loved the experience of going on stage and showing off all the hard work I put in. It was the first time I wore a bikini and I really felt like I had won.”
Bodybuilding benefits muscle and bone health and helps to perfect diet.
“I like the science behind the sport,” pointed out Thompson who achieved her first victory in 2013 and made her professional debut two years later. “It’s very impressive when you can see what you eat can tweak your body and the way you look can change by the amount of water you drink.”
Thompson, who was sixth in the physique category at the 2018 Vancouver Pro event, has put the sport on the backburner for a few months.
“I want to spend the rest of the year getting my feet wet in policing,” she said. “But I will be back competing in bodybuilding sometime next year.”
Thompson is in the 91 per cent of the graduating class who have completed post-secondary education and among the 11 per cent of women.