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Builders of the GTA: Vanessa Leslie, a force to be credited

Jeffrey Halpenny, 680News

Last Updated Feb 12, 2021 at 11:33 am EST

Vanessa Leslie was the first black woman to rise to the rank of Inspector with the Ontario Provincial Police. Growing up in Scarborough she attended Francis Libermann Catholic High School. She later graduated with a degree in psychology from York University prior to joining the OPP in 1994.

Leslie began her career as a frontline officer, serving in a number of units such as alcohol and gaming, crime, professional standards, recruitment, and threat assessment. She was promoted to staff sergeant in 2015 and then to inspector in 2017.

She says she has learned over the years that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

In addition to policing, Leslie does a lot of volunteer work including fundraising for disaster relief, ‘Feed the Hungry’ in Durham, and the ‘CIBC Run for the Cure’. She has also worked on the OPP Toronto and Whitby detachments Christmas toy and food drive and with the OPP youth foundation. She says it is important to her to give back to those in need.

Leslie is now looking forward to the next chapter in her life – retirement.

She says she hopes that she has set an example of diversity in the OPP and that she has opened some doors for others to follow in her path.

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