Windsor’s first Black staff sergeant endorses a career in policing
Published Sunday, August 16, 2020 5:58PM EDT Last Updated Monday, August 17, 2020 11:12AM EDT
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor’s first Black staff sergeant hopes he is just the first of many.
Ed Armstrong was officially promoted to the position on Aug. 9, 2020. For the 22-year veteran of the Windsor Police Service, the ensuing media attention was something new.
“It’s an honour obviously to represent the Windsor Police Service with that title,” said Armstrong, in an interview with CTV News. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Armstrong doesn’t want to make a big fuss about his historic promotion — becoming the first Black Canadian to hold the position of staff sergeant in the service’s 153-year history.
The west Windsor native would rather focus on the job he loves and the work ahead; but, the occasion is not lost on the WPS, which recognized the moment in a news release and neither is it lost on Armstrong, who recognizes the service is changing for the better.
Armstrong’s promotion serves as another milestone in the service’s stated mission of becoming more diverse and inclusive.
“I hear from a lot of my friends that same notion, ‘Why did it take so long?’ But, if you look at our service now, the dynamics of our service are changing — we’re more diverse and inclusive,” said Armstrong.
It was Sept. 21, 1998 when Armstrong started his policing career as a special constable. He would work on the road, within the service’s tactical team, and as an expert instructor before being elevated to a team leader.
A career in policing is a route Armstrong feels more people should consider.
“This is something I learned in Community Services — we’ve got to reach out to our diverse community and if they can identify someone in their community that [would] be a good ambassador for them and work well with the Windsor Police Service, we encourage them to apply,” said Armstrong.
Growing up in Windsor, first on the west end where he attended General Brock Public School before moving to the east side, Armstrong flirted with the idea of following in the footsteps of his favourite football player, Jerry Rice; but, the ability to serve his community and the camaraderie a career in policing offered proved to be too enticing.
It’s those pillars of policing he feels make it worthwhile endeavour for more people to get involved in the profession.
While a recent report from the Ontario Civilian Policing Commission outlined 37 recommendations for the WPS to address its equity, racial diversity and transparency — Armstrong is confident the service is making the necessary changes.
Pam Mizuno has taken charge as the service’s first female chief and now Armstrong has shown what happens when hard work meets opportunity.
“I’m hoping kids see where I’m at right now and they’re like, ‘You know what? I want to be the next chief, I want to be the next deputy chief, I want to be the next inspector — I want something more than what I have,’” said Armstrong.