Constable Connor Vaivods feels a deeply personal connection to his current role as the Guelph Police Service’s downtown community resource officer.

Vaivods was born in Guelph and grew up in the St. George’s Park neighbourhood just outside the downtown core. “Growing up I spent most of my time downtown,” he recalls. “I remember hanging out at St. George’s Square and drinking from the frog fountain.

“It would hurt me to see the downtown not succeed,” he continues. “I do hear people saying ‘I never go downtown’ and that causes me personal upset. I do feel I have a stake in the downtown and I’m glad to be in a position now where I can have a role in helping the downtown succeed.”

Vaivods attended Carleton University to study journalism, but after his first year found he wasn’t as interested in journalism as he was in the law course he took. He switched gears and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in law. He then took an advanced policing course at Conestoga College, which included a significant number of work placements with police services “and every day I realized more and more this is what I wanted to do.behind the badge constable vaivods

“I like being in a position to help people and in some small way make the world a better place. It’s a privilege.”

Vaivods worked for the Toronto Police Service for five years, and while he enjoyed it he also felt the pull of his hometown. “I bought a house here and quickly realized I didn’t want to commute to Toronto for another 25 years. The vibe and pace of Guelph fits me a lot better and I can even see the Church on the Hill when I’m out walking my dogs.”

An avid outdoorsman, Vaivods spends his downtime mountain-biking, kayaking, hiking or walking his two dogs with his long-time girlfriend.

Vaivods joined the Guelph Police Service a year ago and within a few months was the successful candidate for the downtown community resource position. Before that he was primarily assigned to downtown as part of a platoon. “If something happens downtown like a theft, a patrol officer will take the report and investigate the incident and then be gone. In this role I’m more of a long-term resource, so I can take the time to talk about ongoing issues and just generally provide a presence in the downtown.”

A survey by the Downtown Guelph Business Association identified greater police presence as a top desire among its more than 500 members. “Sometimes if I’m standing at the Square, there’s just one person after another coming up to me and speaking to me. People do seem genuinely appreciative of that presence.”

Vaivods is also a liaison between all downtown users -- which can include conflicting interests -- and the police service.

He laughs recalling one recent interaction with youths riding their bicycles on the top of a downtown parkade. “It was kind of a full-circle moment because I remember as a kid riding my bike up there and the police moving us along. Twenty years later the roles are reversed which is kind of funny.”


Behind the Badge is a monthly series of profiles of Guelph Police Service members

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