ROBINDER GILL and HERMUNDEEP KHALLAR were among the 24 new Vancouver Police recruits that were sworn in on Friday by Vancouver Police Department Chief Adam Palmer.
Robinder was born and raised in Vancouver. He attended the Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning and graduated with honours. He enrolled at Simon Fraser University, earning his bachelor of arts degree in geography.
He has been an active volunteer in the community with the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib since 2008, and the Don’t Doze Art Collective. Robinder is fluent in Punjabi.
Hermun was born and raised in Vancouver. He attended John Oliver Secondary and went on to Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where he graduated with his bachelor of arts in criminology.
Hermun worked in the security industry as a site supervisor and was awarded the Client Service Manager Award. He has volunteered with Big Brothers since 2017, and the South Vancouver CPC since 2013. Hermun is fluent in Punjabi.
THE 24 men and women will now embark on a rigorous training process that includes intensive legal studies, physical fitness, force options, and practical training in the field. It’s a daunting challenge, but one these recruits say they’re ready for it.
“I chose the Vancouver Police Department because this city has so many unique communities and is extremely diverse,” says Constable Donna Blaszak, one of VPD’s newest recruits. “I’ll get to work in a world-class city alongside other experienced police officers. It’s an opportunity you won’t find anywhere else.”
Like other recruits, Blaszak brings to VPD a diverse and impressive resume which includes academic success, community involvement, and multiple languages. In fact, the recruits of Class 161 speak at least seven different languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, Cantonese and Spanish.
The VPD recruiting process is extremely competitive. Only a fraction of the applicants who apply make it through the selection process. The average age of a successful VPD candidate is 27 years, however the minimum age to apply is 19 and there is no age limit. Successful candidates are chosen on a combination of factors, including physical fitness, community involvement, character and life experience.
Anyone interested in joining VPD is invited to attend an information session. The next one takes place at 10 a.m. on September 14 at the Justice Institute of B.C. For more information visit joinvpd.ca.
ARINEIDE BASSO Ari was born and raised in Brazil. At the age of 17, she was accepted into law school at the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana. She graduated in 2008, passed the barrister exam, and became a member of the Order of Attorneys of Brazil. After practicing as a civil lawyer for two years, becoming a police officer became her dream. In 2015, Ari made a life-changing decision to seek a better, safer life for herself, and chose Vancouver to be her new home. She completed a Certificate in Tourism and Hospitality and worked numerous retail sales jobs. Ari has volunteered more than 200 hours at the Kitsilano Fariview CPC, and received a community service award for distinguished service. She is fluent in Portuguese and can converse in Spanish and Italian.
DANUTA “DONNA” BLASZAK Donna was born in North York, Ontario. She attended Capilano University on a basketball scholarship and has been a driving force in developing young women through sport since 2010. Donna currently coaches developmental camps through New Heights Basketball Academy and Collingwood Secondary School. She travelled to Costa Rica with a group of 18 girls in an effort to revitalize an underfunded school and teach basketball. Over the last three years, Donna has raised $15,000 for cancer research in British Columbia through her participation in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. She has worked as a general insurance broker, fitness trainer, customer service manager, program coordinator, and coach. Donna speaks Italian and French.
RYAN BOIVIN Ryan was born in Burnaby and raised in Langley. He attended Walnut Grove Secondary and graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a bachelor of business administration in entrepreneurial leadership. While at Kwantlen, Ryan won entrepreneurial competitions and raised $15,000 towards the Scholarship and Awards Foundation. In April 2018, Ryan was hired as a Special Municipal Constable with the VPD. He has volunteered with the Spirit of the Children Society and was a role player for the West Vancouver Police Department. Ryan is fluent in French.
VINCENZO CAPORALE Vincenzo was born in Burnaby. Growing up, he played a variety of high-level sports and captained several Canadian select soccer teams playing in Europe. In 2014, Vincenzo graduated from Alpha Secondary with honours, and this summer earned a bachelor of arts degree from Simon Fraser University, with a major in criminology and a minor in Italian studies, as well as a Certificate in Police Studies. Vincenzo actively volunteers with a variety of programs throughout the community, including with the VPD Cadet Program and serves as a reservist artilleryman with the Canadian Army. In 2018, Vincenzo was hired as a Special Municipal Constable with the VPD, preparing him for a career in policing with the City of Vancouver. Vincenzo is fluent in both spoken and written Italian.
EVAN CHENG Evan was born and raised in Vancouver. He attended Vancouver College and went on to UBC, where he captained the UBC Rowing Team. Upon graduating with his bachelor of commerce, Evan was a member of the national rowing team, where he competed in multiple world rowing championships and world cup events. Evan was employed as a chartered professional accountant and volunteered as a rowing coach. During his physical test, Evan set a new VPD record for the Leger Shuttle run with a score of 14.3. Evan speaks Cantonese.
SAMUEL COULTER Sam was born in New Westminster and raised in Coquitlam, B.C. At 17, he was selected for the provincial soccer team, and twice represented B.C. in national championship winnings. In 2014, Sam received a Certificate in Public Safety Communications from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and enrolled in the Sports Science Program at Douglas College. He was hired as a Traffic Authority member in 2017, and later expanded his responsibilities as a Special Municipal Constable and worked full-time as a Community Safety Officer.
ALISON DENT Alison was born in Surrey, B.C. and grew up in Burnaby. As a youth, Alison participated in a variety of activities, including Brownies, Girl Guides, competitive synchronized swimming, and high school rugby. She graduated from Cariboo Hill Secondary with a scholarship and attended Simon Fraser University, graduating in 2009 with a degree in English. In 2011, Alison began working with ECOMM as a call-taker. Eleven months later, Alison was promoted to the role of dispatcher, and four years later she was promoted to the role of central dispatcher.
ANTHONY DI PIETRO Anthony was born and raised in Burnaby. As a youngster, Anthony excelled at both soccer and lacrosse. He attended Burnaby North High School, where he graduated with honours and earned many academic achievement awards. Following high school, Anthony attended Douglas College, where he completed his youth justice diploma, including two practicums working with at-risk youth. In 2016, Anthony began working as an asset protection investigator. He completed his basic and advanced security training at the JIBC, as well as a K-9 handler certificate. Anthony and his K-9 partner “Joey” finished at the top of the class.
ANDREW HAIRE Andrew was born in New Westminster and raised in Port Coquitlam. After high school, Andrew enrolled at Douglas College to study criminal justice. During his first year of school, he was offered an electrical apprenticeship, attended BCIT and completed his Red Seal electrician’s certification in 2016. Despite success in his employment, Andrew never lost sight of his goal to become a police officer. In 2015, Andrew began volunteering at the Hastings-Sunrise Community Policing Centre and re-enrolled at Douglas College. Andrew was hired as a Special Municipal Constable in 2017 and was successful as a Jail Guard.
STEPHANIE ISAKSSON Stephanie was born and raised in Delta. From a young age, she was involved in a variety of sports, but excelled in softball and soccer, which she competed in both nationally and internationally. In Grade 7, Stephanie’s soccer team won an international cup in Minnesota, and in Grade 9 she was awarded Student Athlete of the Year. After graduating from Seaquam Secondary, Stephanie obtained a Diploma in General Studies from Douglas College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Stephanie has worked as a Special Municipal Constable with the VPD since 2017, and volunteered with Delta Police Departments CoPS Program.
TIMOTHY JACKSON Tim was born in Burnaby and attended St. Thomas More Collegiate School, where he was the captain of both his football team and senior wrestling team. Tim was the recipient of several football awards and was named Eastern Conference All-Star in 2011. After graduating, he received scholarships for his athleticism and academics, and committed to playing football at the University of Guelph. He obtained his bachelor of science in 2016, and has worked as a personal trainer, a youth mentor, and in the orthotics industry. Tim has volunteered with the Guelph Student Support Network, the Vancouver Police PMBA, and co-founded the Jack. Org Chapter, a nation-wide mental health organization.
JORDAN LASHAR Jordan was born in Vancouver and grew-up playing lacrosse and soccer at a competitive level. He attended Simon Fraser University, where he excelled in his academics and was the captain of the men’s lacrosse team. He won the team’s Unsung Hero and Offensive Player of the Year award. Jordan graduated with a bachelor of arts in criminology. He has volunteered with the Burnaby Mountain Selects Lacrosse Program and the Hastings Sunrise Community Policing Centre. Jordan is also an assistant coach and recruit coordinator with the SFU men’s lacrosse team. He works part-time as a casual logistics attendant at Children’s Hospital and has been a Special Municipal Constable with the VPD since 2018.
DOMINIC LEUNG Dominic was born in Hong Kong and raised in Burnaby. He attended Burnaby North Secondary, where he won a personal provincial gold medal for the breaststroke. In 2011, Dominic joined the Canadian Forces as a medical technician, and completed the Basic Reconnaissance Patrolman course. He’s obtained his bachelor of science in nursing, a Certificate in Primary Care Medicine, and an Advanced Certificate in Emergency Nursing. Dominic worked as a Registered Nurse and volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross. He is fluent in Cantonese.
CHIU-HO (WILLY) LIEN Willy was born in Taiwan, and immigrated to Canada 1999. His father was a police officer in the Taiwanese military, so he had a desire to become a police officer himself from an early age. During high school, Willy joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, rising to the rank of warrant officer second class. Willy attended Kwantlen Polytechnic University, graduating from the Criminology Program with distinction. During university, he spent three years working at the Vancouver airport as a student border service agent, gaining valuable law enforcement experience. Willy previously pursued marksmanship and rock climbing at a competitive level, and now in his spare time enjoys working out, camping, hiking, and spending time with his family. Willy is fluent in Mandarin.
JULIETTE LINK Juliette was born and raised in Minnesota, where she attended French immersion schools up until high school. Her post-secondary education brought her to Vancouver, where Juliette attended the University of British Columbia. During her third year at UBC she was fortunate enough to study abroad at the University of Nottingham in England. While attending UBC, Juliette received several scholarships and awards. In 2010, she earned her bachelor of arts degree in computer science, and in 2014, achieved her masters of science degree. Juliette is an active participant with the Vancouver Police Judo Club and is a volunteer in the community, through the Vancouver Volunteer Corps, Friends of the Vancouver Public Library, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Juliette is fluent in French.
HEATHER MCGUFFIE Heather was born and raised in North Vancouver. She attended Handsworth Secondary and graduated with honours before completing her criminology degree at SFU. Heather was heavily involved in sports, playing soccer, field hockey, and track-and-field. She worked in the service industry before joining the Vancouver Police Department as a Special Municipal Constable in April 2018. Heather has volunteered with Burnaby Youth Corrections, and was recently the team leader with Vancouver Police Citizens’ Crime Watch.
EMMANUEL PALOMARIA Emmanuel was born in the Netherlands and raised in Coquitlam. As a youth, he was active in wresting and karate, and won several national tournaments. Emmanuel attended Thomas Haney Secondary School and graduated with a computer service technician certificate from BCIT. He went on to study criminology at Douglas College before obtaining his Red Seal Certification as an electrician. He has worked as a lead hand electrician in the construction industry and volunteered as a childcare provider. He is fluent in Dutch and Indonesian.
KURTIS PEDERSON Kurtis was born and raised in Surrey. He attended Frank Hurt Secondary and was active in football. He received several awards for his outstanding play and obtained an athletic scholarship to an American university. Kurtis returned to Canada and completed a Diploma in Criminology at Douglas College. In 2014, he was hired as a correctional officer at North Fraser Pretrial and has been a member of their emergency response team for the past three years. Kurtis has volunteered as an assistant football coach.
MICHAEL RASERA Michael was born in Vancouver and raised in Coquitlam. Growing up, Michael developed a passion for physical fitness and was active in sports. He graduated from Dr. Charles Best Secondary and received a degree in business administration from SFU. Michael volunteered with the RCMP’s Citizen’s Crime Watch Program, in the Downtown Eastside, and with SFU’s Enactus Organization. Michael has worked in construction, the retail industry, and as a Special Municipal Constable with the Vancouver Police Department.
SOPHIE THOMPSON Sophie was born and raised in Surrey. She attended North Surrey Secondary and graduated with honours before completing her criminology diploma at Douglas College. Growing up, Sophie was involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities and developed a strong passion for horseback riding, winning multiple awards in various competitions. In March of 2017, Sophie was hired by the Vancouver Police Department as a Special Municipal Constable. For the past year-and-a-half, Sophie has worked full time as a Jail Guard.
ZOLTAN (DANIEL) UNGVARI Daniel was born in Romania and immigrated to Canada 1996 when he was nine years old. While completing high school at Burnaby Mountain Secondary, Daniel participated in the RCMP Youth Academy. This course was a turning point, as he discovered his passion for policing. Upon graduating from high school, Daniel enrolled in the Criminology Program at Douglas College, where he successfully completed his BA. Since 2017, Daniel has been a Vancouver Police Special Municipal Constable, during which time he has received a Deputy Chief Constable’s Commendation and an Inspector’s letter of recognition. Daniel is fluent in Romanian.
RILEY WIENS Riley was born and raised in Surrey, BC. He enjoyed playing competitive basketball as the team captain at Earl Marriott Secondary School. Upon graduation, he enrolled at the University of British Columbia. After majoring in kinesiology, he changed his focus and pursued his ambition to become a police officer. Riley was hired as a Vancouver Special Municipal Constable in 2017, and after working in all three roles, secured a full-time position in the VPD Jail. Riley has since graduated from UBC with a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in sociology. He is fluent in French.