Father and Son Steve and Ryan Moore

Two generations of community service: Special Constable Ryan Moore joins father at U of T Campus Safety

Megan Easton

Ryan Moore’s path to becoming a Special Constable at U of T Mississauga wasn’t easy. To stay motivated as he gained the necessary skills and experience through security jobs, workouts and volunteering, he’d often visualize receiving the badge. When that moment finally came in February, he says it was even better than he imagined.  

“The swearing-in ceremony was extra special because my dad handed me the badge,” says Ryan. 

His father, Steve Moore, joined St. George Campus Safety as the Staff Sergeant about three years ago after retiring from a three-decade career with the Toronto Police Service. “It was a very proud moment for me, being there with Ryan,” he says. “I know this has been his goal for a long time.”  

Ryan’s big day came just a few weeks after a similar one for his brother, when he too received his Toronto Police Service badge from Steven. “We both grew up watching our dad’s career, and we always trained dogs in our home for the canine unit,” says Ryan. “We were raised with the values of community service and assisting people in need.” 

Steven wasn’t surprised that Ryan chose to work on campus rather than in traditional policing. “He’s well-suited to community policing because he’s a real people person,” he says, noting that the philosophy of U of T Campus Safety is to promote support over enforcement. “He likes to engage with individuals and isn’t afraid to help them in any way he can.” 

The ability to form strong connections within and around the UTM community holds strong appeal for Ryan. “Going from call to call as a city police officer makes it hard to build those relationships,” he says. “On campus, I can get to know students, faculty members, staff and even the occasional parent, usually when they get lost. If it’s not busy, I like to go on foot patrol and see what’s happening around campus, and maybe walk with people and have a chat.” 

In the short time since he started his position, Ryan has already gone above and beyond to support UTM community members. From clearing a snowy ramp for a wheelchair user to encouraging an anxious student to make a counselling appointment, his day-to-day tasks are rarely predictable.   

Special Constables have the authority of police officers on university property. They can handle various emergencies and criminal offences in fulfilling Campus Safety’s mandate of creating a safe, secure and equitable environment. Yet they’re also specially trained to deal with campus occurrences that require sensitivity and discretion, such as mental health concerns. “We’re often the first contact for people in distress,” says Ryan. “We know how to ask the right questions, listen and connect them to resources on campus or off.” 

Whenever their schedules allow it, the two Moores meet for lunch and share on-the-job stories. “We may be in different roles on different campuses, but we’re doing the same thing,” says Ryan. “It’s all about being there when people need us, and making everyone feel secure.”