THE 26 newest members of the Vancouver Police Department, Recruit Class 153, who were sworn in on Thursday, included four South Asians – three Punjabis and one Tamil: Gary Athwal, Mandy Grewal, Gurpal Mann, and Kevin Regie Gnanaseelan, who becomes the department’s only Sri Lankan-Tamil police officer.
GARY Atrhwal was born in Vancouver and raised in North Delta, B.C.. He attended Burnsview Secondary School and graduated with French and English diplomas. He has completed the Law Enforcement Studies Program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Gary is an active volunteer with the North Delta Community Police Station and has logged over 500 volunteer hours since his start in 2009. Gary was the first full-time community safety officer with the Vancouver Police Department. He is fluent in both French and Punjabi.
MANDY Grewal was born and raised in East Vancouver. She graduated in 2006 from Matthew McNair Secondary School and enrolled at Langara College in the Arts and Sciences Program. Mandy transferred to the University of British Columbia and completed her bachelor of arts degree in 2011 with a major in psychology. Mandy has worked with the Surrey Fire Department and as an administrative assistant with St. George’s School. She is fluent in Punjabi.
GURPAL Mann was born and raised in Surrey, British Columbia. He graduated from Queen Elizabeth Secondary in 2011 and received an athletic scholarship to Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Gurpal is working towards completing his degree in criminology, and is the co-captain of the men’s basketball team. He has worked in the private security industry and has volunteered as a youth basketball coach at Seaquam Secondary School. Gurpal is fluent in Punjabi.
KEVIN Regie Gnanaseelan was born in Romilly-sur-Seine, France, and raised in Vancouver. He graduated from Vancouver College with honours and participated in the Vancouver Police Department Student Challenge, an experience which solidified his desire to pursue policing. Kevin volunteered for the VPD Cadet Program and was hired as a civilian instructor. He has worked as a special municipal constable while pursuing his studies towards a bachelor’s of social work from Dalhousie University. Kevin is the VPD’s only current Sri-Lankan –Tamil police officer.
The others sworn in were: Matthew Allan, Anna Brancati, Frederike Buchmann, Eric Burrell, Nicole Catchpole, Christopher Chan, Michael Derry, Erin Everall, Alexander Frech, Nick Jardine, Evan Lane, Hailey MacDonald, Bradley Maiolo, Samantha Morgan, Cord Reisdorf, James Rodriguez, Patrick Speakman, Katelyn Star, Benjamin Tettamanti, Adrian Thompson, James Weston and Samantha Whiffen.