If policing is Sgt. Marcel Marcellin’s true love, then music is his mistress.
Marcellin, the diversity officer for the London police, spends his days doing community outreach, forging connections with new immigrants, speaking at schools and assisting with police recruiting. But when he’s not working to promote understanding and diversity, Marcellin is likely playing or listening to music, especially his favourite genre: jazz. A talented musician, he plays the bass guitar, piano, keyboard and saxophone. “I love music,” he said. “I play in a couple of different bands.” With few venues in London to satisfy Marcellin’s craving for live jazz, he regularly travels to Toronto with friends to get his music fix. He also has made pilgrimages to American jazz capitals Chicago and New Orleans.
While Marcellin developed a passion for music at a young age, it took him a little longer to discover what would become his career. “The reason I didn’t think about policing is, I didn’t see a whole lot of representation of me,” he said. “I never really saw any black police officers.” But after a friend suggested Marcellin was a perfect fit for policing, he enrolled at Fanshawe College to study police foundations. At 24, he joined the London police as a constable. Marcellin, who was promoted to sergeant last month, has held a number of roles with London police, but working as the diversity officer is “the perfect fit,” he said. “I think it was just calling me,” he said. “I’ve always had an affinity for working with the community.”
His parents, immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago, came to Canada in the 1970s, so he knows the challenges facing newcomers. “When (my parents) came to this country they were going through some of the things I’m helping new immigrants with,” said Marcellin, who does a lot of outreach with recent immigrants, many whom are distrustful of police. Teaching newcomers to trust and communicate with police is an important part of Marcellin’s job. He’s the third diversity officer since the position was introduced in 2006.
The role of diversity officer is two-pronged: Marcellin works to promote diversity in the community and within the police department. This year he marched in London’s 17th annual Pride parade, along with Chief Brad Duncan, a first for a London police chief. The police presence at the event was praised by London’s gay community and it showed the gay community that officers support them, Marcellin said.
Another milestone, he said, was achieved earlier this year when London police appointed two new chaplains representing the Jewish and Muslim faiths. Marcellin loves working as the diversity officer because it’s a relatively new position that’s still evolving. “It’s great to be in a job where you get to build it and define what the position is all about.”He’s a time-management master outside of work. Marcellin teaches a diversity course at Fanshawe’s police foundations program and he’s in the final leg of completing a degree at the University of Western Ontario.
A self-proclaimed health fanatic who was a vegan for six years, Marcellin manages to hit the gym as many as five times a week. Staying healthy is important for the father of three, who could easily pass for a decade younger than his 40 years. “Not many people know how old I am,” he said with a laugh.
Read the complete story: London Free Press
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