POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 25 PANS in the community Growing up in East Preston, Anthony Thomas dreamed of becoming a police officer just like his uncle. And Monday Thomas, now a New Glasgow police constable, was awarded a Police Long Service Award for his 27 years on the force — 26 of those years spent in New Glasgow. He was among 68 police officers from across the province who received long service awards from Justice Minister Diana Whalen in a ceremony at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax. Thomas made news in 2013 when he received a bravery award after saving a Westville man from the East River. Looking back on his nearly three decades in law enforcement, he says his dream started out just wanting to help people, and that’s always been the best part of his job. "You go to work and accomplish something or help someone. Although it might seem insignificant at the time, it’s rewarding to know that five or 10 years later they relay an incident and they say it made a difference in their life," says Thomas. He says years later people will pick him out of a crowd and thank him for doing his part as a police officer. It’s often people he came into contact with as children or teens, and they now have kids of their own. He says it doesn’t get any better than that. When Thomas first went to the police academy, he says he was doing it for himself, to fulfill a boyhood dream. He soon realized people in his home community of East Preston found it inspirational and he found himself a role model, something the softspoken officer didn’t take lightly. "That’s the biggest plus that being in uniform has done for me," he said. Thomas credits his mother, who still lives in the community, with providing the upbringing that made him who he is today. Thomas grew up with five siblings in a single-parent home and, looking back, he understands how tough that was for his mother. "She has always been an inspiration to me. She was Mom and Dad and she wore both hats well. As far as my hero or inspiration in life goes, she is that person." Thomas began his career in 1988 when he entered the police academy, then went straight to work as an officer in Louisbourg, where residents still remember him. "They still ask why I left, and I tell them: It’s not that I wanted to, but I had to expand my horizons. What would I learn about traffic in downtown Louisbourg?" he says with a chuckle. Since joining the force the biggest change in policing has been the advancement of technology, he says. "Me, being a dinosaur, I find it hard to keep up." He says although it’s hard for the police industry to keep up with everchanging technologies, there are benefits for the force, such as cameras in police cars and often in the public arena, where it helps with crime prevention and keeps people accountable. Thomas says he is grateful for having the opportunity to spend almost an entire career in New Glasgow, and his first year in Louisbourg. Although he plans to retire in five years, the boyhood dream that started his career so many years ago. As originally published on October 24, 2016, The Chronicle Herald Cop’s job a dream come true Constable Anthony Thomas among 68 officers to be honoured at ceremony THE CHRONICLE HERALD They still ask why I left, and I tell them: It’s not that I wanted to, but I had to expand my horizons. Const. Anthony Thomas has been a policeman since 1989 and has served with the New Glasgow Regional Police since 1990. “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ ” ” ” ” ” ” ” ” Anthony Thomas Police constable