Prabhdeep Dhaliwal, Nitish Sharma, Farhad Velji among 20 new Vancouver Police officers

SOUTH Asians Prabhdeep Dhaliwal, Nitish Sharma and Farhad Velji were among the 20 new Vancouver Police officers that were sworn in as constables on Friday.


Prabhdeep Dhaliwal
“Prab” was born and raised in Mission, BC. He was an athletic youth, playing basketball throughout elementary and high school. In 2008, he graduated from École Mission Senior Secondary School, and then enrolled at the University of the Fraser Valley where he completed a criminal justice diploma. While going to university, he worked in customer service at a golf course and retail shop. For the last two years, he has been the club champion at the Mission Golf and Country Club. Rob has worked as a correctional officer for BC Corrections at North Fraser Pre-trial Centre since 2015. He recently volunteered with the RCMP Mission Crime Prevention Office. Rob is fluent in Punjabi.


Nitish Sharma
Nitish was born and raised in Vancouver. In 2012, Nitish graduated from John Oliver High School with honours and distinction, as well as winning numerous student awards for both academics and his involvement with the community and school. Following high school, Nitish attended Douglas College where he completed his Diploma in Criminology. He currently attends Simon Fraser University part-time working towards his criminology degree. In 2015, Nitish was hired by the Vancouver Police Department as a Jail Guard and Traffic Authority member. In 2016, he became a Community Safety Officer. Nitish is an avid volunteer, working over the years with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program, the Terry Fox Foundation, and the Vancouver Foundation. Nitish speaks French, Hindi, and Punjabi.


Farhad Velji
Farhad was born in Nairobi, Kenya and moved to Canada with his parents in 1990 when he was 10 years old. Farhad’s family settled in North Burnaby, where he was quickly immersed in Canadian culture. By the time he graduated from Cariboo Hill Secondary, Farhad was playing hockey in the Burnaby Minor Hockey Association and working part-time in several fast-paced retail sales jobs. He obtained a Diploma of Technology in Broadcast and Media Communications from BCIT in 2006, and worked as a post-production coordinator and news editor. Since 2008, Farhad has been employed at ECOMM-911, working his way up from call-taker to VPD central dispatcher and supervisor.





Matthew was born in Powburn, U.K., and raised in nearby Lincolnshire.  In 2005, his family immigrated to Burnaby. Matthew’s high school years were spent dedicated to sports such as soccer and track and field. After graduation, he served as a missionary in Calgary for two years, which included helping citizens in the aftermath of the 2013 floods. Matthew later returned home to pursue a career in policing. He began studying in the Douglas College Criminology program while working part-time in the security industry. Matthew also has volunteer experience with the New Westminster PD Victim Assistance Unit.  His father is VPD Constable John Braithwaite. Matthew is proud to be following in his father’s footsteps.


Raissa was born in North Vancouver and raised in Port Coquitlam, graduating from Terry Fox Secondary School with honours. During high school, she developed a strong passion for wrestling and trained with the SFU Women’s Wrestling Team. Raissa went on to represent Canada in the Pan-American Games where she won a gold medal. Earning a scholarship to SFU, Raissa continued to wrestle with the SFU team where she won two national collegiate wrestling championships and helped the team win three Canadian inter-university sport championship titles. Raissa has a bachelor of arts degree from SFU and a UBC master’s degree in public health. She volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society and has been employed as an events manager for online educational conferences to health care providers.


Genevieve was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, into a military family, exposing her to military life and travel from a young age. While growing up, Genevieve was an accomplished figure skater, competing at a provincial level and earning her teaching certificate.  After high school, she completed a year at the University of Manitoba before being accepted into the Canadian Armed Forces. She has since earned her medical technician qualification, been assigned to the Provincial Reconstruction Team, and completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan and a tour of duty in the Middle East. She has been recognized for her hard work and dedication by being awarded the Canadian Armed Forces Warrant Officer Coin, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and the Campaign Star with three bars.


Vanessa was born and raised in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, graduating from Academie Les Estacades High School. During high school, she earned the Top Female Prospect Award in basketball and flag football. After high school, she attended CEGEP de Sherbrooke to study social work before joining the Canadian Armed Forces. During her military training, her exceptional athletic abilities won her the Top Female Athletic Award. She served in the army for two years and decided to attend Alberta Pipe Trades College in preparation for a new career. In 2016, Vanessa earned her Steamfitter Apprenticeship and placed first in her class. She worked at an industrial company in Edmonton before deciding to pursue a career in policing. Vanessa is fluent in French.


Ethan was raised in Port Coquitlam. From a young age, Ethan aspired to become a police officer and exemplified the core competencies necessary to fulfil his goals. He enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, 777 Neptune Squadron, in Port Coquitlam. He gained experience with drill and rank structure while working in a team environment. Ethan flourished as a cadet and subsequently attained the rank of flight sergeant before graduating out of the program. Once graduated from high school, Ethan immediately applied with the BC Sheriffs, where he successfully completed his training at the Justice Institute of BC and has recently been working as a deputy sheriff.


Gina was born in New Westminster and raised in the Tri-Cities area, graduating from Dr. Charles Best Secondary School with honours. Growing up, Gina developed a strong passion for soccer and played for both the high school team and with the Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club. She also volunteered with the school’s lacrosse program, and has continued to do so every year since graduating. Gina recently volunteered with the Port Moody Police Department and has been employed as an office manager at a midwifery clinic. She has a criminology diploma from Douglas College and is working towards a bachelor of arts degree.


Andrew was born in Surrey and raised in North Delta. He was the goaltender for Team BC twice and represented Canada at the U-16 World Ball Hockey Championships in Austria and Slovakia in 2008, where they won the international gold medal. Andrew graduated from Simon Fraser University with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology in June 2015. In February 2016, Andrew began his training for Traffic Authority, Jail Guard, and Community Safety Personnel.  After five months of gaining experience as an auxiliary in each discipline, he was hired on as a full-time guard in the Vancouver Jail. Andrew plays on the Vancouver Police Department’s Men’s Nitro hockey team.


Olena was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. In 2014, she graduated with two degrees, one in law and the other in commerce. That same year, Olena was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the Auckland High Court. She was a volunteer rescue technician for the Wellington Animal Rescue Unit and received the Queen’s Jubilee Award for her service during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Olena moved to Canada in 2015 and decided to pursue her dream of becoming a police officer. She recently worked as an anti-money laundering investigator in the banking industry.
Chang was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to Canada at the age of one. He graduated from Burnaby South Secondary and obtained his degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University. In 2013, Chang was hired as a Community Safety Officer and Jail Guard with the VPD. He has volunteered with the Grandview-Woodland Community Policing Centre since 2012. Chang is fluent in Korean.


Ashley was born in Vancouver and raised in Pitt Meadows and Coquitlam. Growing up, she enjoyed hearing her father’s policing stories. In 2008, Ashley completed the VPD Student Challenge, which furthered her career interests. After high school, she attended Douglas College where she obtained a criminology diploma. Since 2012, Ashley has worked in the VPD Jail where she has proven herself to be a valued and experienced team member. She has also worked in loss prevention and has volunteer experience with Big Sisters of BC. Ashley’s father is retired VPD Sergeant Garry Oleskiw.


Jacqueline was born in Calgary and raised in South Surrey, British Columbia.  During high school, she played high-level softball and soccer, ultimately going to the nationals, placing third, and being offered a scholarship from Columbia University. In 2012, Jacqueline graduated on the Dean’s List from the University of the Fraser Valley with a bachelor of arts in criminal justice and criminology. She has worked as a bylaw officer in the City of Richmond, and in 2015, she became a police call taker at Ecomm 9-1-1. Jacqueline has volunteered for Surrey Block Watch, as a member of the advisory committee for the Ferndale Institution in Mission, and as a teaching assistant in classrooms, supporting students with developmental disabilities.
Chelsea was born and raised in Coquitlam, and grew up playing competitive softball. As a pitcher and a natural leader, Chelsea led her team to three provincial titles and three Western Canadian appearances. In 2006, Chelsea graduated from Charles Best Secondary School with honours. While in high school, Chelsea won the Top Physical Education Award and two honourable achievement awards. In 2014, with an eye on policing, Chelsea returned to school to study criminology, and in 2016, graduated from Douglas College with a criminology diploma.  Chelsea now joins ranks with her sister, Vancouver Police Constable Hailey Rawlings, a Patrol officer currently assigned to District 1.
Teena was born in Salmon Arm and raised in Ladysmith, BC. She graduated from Ladysmith Secondary School with honours and enrolled at the University of British Columbia. At UBC, Teena was a competitive rower, teaching her discipline and a strong work ethic. Teena graduated from UBC with a bachelor’s of science and a master’s degree in kinesiology. She has worked in various coaching positions within the rowing field, and in 2013, began working for St. George’s boys’ school as the rowing coordinator. She has volunteered with multiple organizations and currently volunteers as the manager of the Canadian Summer Games Rowing Team (Team BC).


Nikita was born in Burnaby and raised in Surrey. She attended Regent Christian Academy and graduated from Johnston Heights Secondary School in 2010. Nikita was active in athletics during her school years, competing in a wide array of sports and received an “Athlete of the Year Award.” Nikita began working in high school and worked as a hostess, receptionist, and in various customer service fields. After high school, Nikita attended the University of the Fraser Valley where she played varsity volleyball. Her dedication to the sport and her team led to further awards. She also volunteered as a volleyball coach at the UFV for aspiring athletes. In 2013, Nikita decided she wanted to be a police officer and focused her studies on this goal and obtained a bachelor of arts in criminal justice. Nikita has been employed as a temporary labourer with the City of Surrey and an active volunteer with the Surrey Food Bank.


Kacey was born in New Westminster and raised in Coquitlam, graduating from Centennial Secondary School. At a young age, he developed a strong passion for volleyball and played for both the high school team and with the Focus Volleyball Club. Kacey enrolled in the Criminology Program at Douglas College, and returned to his high school to coach the school’s volleyball teams. He also started coaching youth volleyball at the Focus Volleyball Club and led his team to a Lower Mainland regional championship in his first year of coaching. Kacey continues to coach volleyball for both organizations. He previously worked as an officer with the Canada Border Services Agency.


Justin was born and raised in North Vancouver. While growing up, he discovered a passion for baseball and played for the Langley Blaze premier team. In high school, Justin attended the RCMP Youth Academy where he discovered a passion for policing. After graduation, he continued this pursuit at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, where he earned a degree in law enforcement studies. Justin has worked in the security industry and has extensive police-related volunteer experience with the VPD Club Fit program. He most recent work was as a civilian employee with the Vancouver Police Covert Intercept team.


Darren was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and earned a bachelor of arts degree with honours in sociology. He continued his education at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where he earned a masters’ degree in social work. In 2010, Darren moved to Vancouver and recently worked as a drug and alcohol program coordinator with the Lower Mainland Purpose Society. Darren and his team have been nominated for staff excellence awards, and Darren himself received the award for innovation in leadership.