The first Asian police officer in the history of Quebec has died

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The first Asian policeman in the history of Quebec has died

At the age of 33, Quoc Tuan Trinh became the first policeman of Asian origin to wear the uniform in Quebec.

When he arrived as a police officer in June 1988 with the Montreal Urban Community Police Department (SPCUM, ancestor of the SPVM), Quoc Tuan Trinh broke a glass ceiling by becoming the very first Asian police officer to wear the; uniform in the metropolis and, more broadly, in Quebec.

Recently graduated from the National Police School of Quebec in Nicolet, the 33-year-old Vietnamese made his debut in district 22, located in Verdun.

Quoc Tuan Trinh was sworn in as the first Asian police officer in Montreal and Quebec by SPCUM director Roland Bourget, the June 6, 1988.

Being the first Asian in the police community, predominantly white and resistant to change, was difficult. The new recruit from visible minorities faced several prejudices among his colleagues.

I would say that the first five years were the most difficult, says Jean Trinh, his son.< /p>

When we see someone who is very different, who has a different accent and who does not have the same thing in their lunch box, we often wonder : is he one of us or not? adds Jean Trinh, about his father.

Quoc Tuan Trinh's family honors him. From left to right: Le Thi Thanh Loan (his wife), Jean Trinh (his son) and Linda Trinh (his daughter).

Having survived the great crossing of the boat people on the South China Sea, Quoc Tuan Trinh had the determination to persevere 28 years in a career as a police officer, according to his children.

And this determination, he managed to transmit it.

In 2012, I almost dropped out of my doctorate because of a personality conflict with someone in college. I remember he spoke to me looking me straight in the eye, says his daughter Linda with emotion.

He said to me: “Do you think that I have never experienced injustice? You think no one ever stood in the way of me to finish what I wanted to do? You're not going to give up because someone doesn't want you to succeed.

Fortunately for Quoc Tuan Trinh, the police officers who were around him ended up killing him. accept among them. Quickly, they affectionately nicknamed him Ti-Toine Tremblay, his children tell with a smile.

The hiring of Quoc Tuan Trinh to the Montreal police had made the headlines of all Montreal newspapers.

< p class="e-p">Discreet by nature, Quoc Tuan Trinh marked the history of the police in Quebec, but never sought the attention of the newspapers.

Already at the time, director Roland Bourget had said that 80% of the work of the police consisted in establishing a human relationship with the population.

The hiring of x27;an Asian person was for the Montreal police a gesture in order to get closer to cultural communities.

During his career, my husband was asked to ;go talk to young people in schools and CEGEPs. My husband loved this role of building relationships with young people from cultural communities. It valued him, says his wife Le Thi Thanh Loan.

At the age of 23, Quoc Tuan Trinh survived crossing the South China Sea before immigrating to Canada.

It must be said that the SPCUM had been severely blamed, a year before the hiring of Quoc Tuan Trinh, in the case of the death of Anthony Griffin, a young black man shot dead by the police. at the head.

At the time of the tragedy, in November 1987, the Montreal media had highlighted the fact that the Montreal police had only 3 black police officers among the 4,200 at the time.

The SPCUM had been forced to recruit people from visible minorities to rebuild bridges with the cultural communities of the metropolis.

More than 30 years later, the ratio of visible minority police officers is struggling to climb. In 2021, the SPVM reported in its activity report that only 8.7% of its 4,523 agents were from such communities.

When Quoc Tuan Trinh (right, behind director Roland Bourget) joined the Montreal police in 1988, there were only three black police officers among visible minorities.

By sharing the story of Quoc Tuan Trinh, his family wants future generations of police officers to be inspired by his determination to take their own careers as far as possible.

< p class="e-p">It's clear to me that this is our hero. He could do ordinary things, but in extraordinary ways, said his son, Jean Trinh.

Quoc Tuan Trinh died of cancer on January 26.

His former employer wanted to salute his dedication to the citizens of Montreal and to underline the importance of people from different minorities who, like Mr. Trinh, paved the way by being among the first members of visible minorities to be part of the SPVM.