Upcoming Transit Special Constables Women’s Symposium inspires next blue line of security experts

An annual gathering of top transit officials, including Metrolinx’s Transit Safety Officers, is an opportunity to learn from champions who patrol systems across Ontario. The one day event is enough to change lives – at least for Meaghan Benini, who attended last year’s event and is now a Special Constable.

Meaghan Benini had questions about questions.

With a background in security operations, including working as a transit enforcement officer for an Ontario municipality, Benini wanted to take the next step toward becoming a Transit Special Constable.

Her career sights were set on GO Transit.

So in August, 2018, she attended the first annual Transit Special Constables (TSC) Women’s Symposium – a conference of some of Ontario’s top investigators and officers, gathered to help guide the next line of female safety champions.

Meaghan Benini pictured with Transit Safety Director Bill Grodzinski at her graduation ceremony

Meaghan Benini attended last year’s event and she is now a GO Transit Safety Special Constable.

As the next symposium gets underway this Saturday (Nov. 23) at the Centennial College Event Centre, 937 Progress Avenue, in Scarborough, Benini – who is now a Special Constable – says that day helped to shape her future.

The symposium is a collaboration of Metrolinx, the Toronto Transit Commission, York Regional Transit and Ottawa Carleton Transportation, and includes talks on what it takes to become a TSC – such as learning effective skills for the interviewing process, and tips on needed requirements to apply. Transit Special Constables are employed by different agencies, and are appointed through the jurisdictional Police Services Board. They are peace officers who watch over transit riders, staff and property across countless routes.

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Benini wanted guidance from the gathering of influential law enforcement women on how the interviewing process would unfold – and how to put her best answers forward.

“Being able to sit down with a recruiter and really delve into what constitutes a good answer versus an excellent one are what helped me to succeed in the interview process,” she recalls. “When leaving the event, I felt well equipped to submit my application to become a Special Constable.”

When she got home – armed with new insights – she went through her resume with a fine tooth comb, ensuring it was updated to reflect all her accomplishments. She then took the next steps to make her goal a reality.

“The HR team and the sergeants were incredibly respectful and friendly throughout the process, which helped to subdue my nerves – allowing me to really shine,” Benini says of the process.

Recently married, she was born in Etobicoke and always aspired to work with the community – more specifically, front line in law enforcement.

Right now, she is a Special Constable, working out of Toronto’s Union Station.

Transit officer Tihana Karanovic smiles, as she stands, hands in warm pockets, in front of a GO train.

Transit safety officer Tihana Karanovic stands on guard, watching over a GO train that’s about to head out . (Photo by Thane Burnett)

Benini has her own advice for those women interested in a career in transit security, noting: “Never get set in your ways; the best and most successful officers I have met continue to educate themselves, are open to the opinions of others and are flexible in everything they do.”

The upcoming event is inclusive to anyone who identifies as female, transgender and non-binary gender. It’s an all-day event, and not intended for drop-ins.

Click here for more information and to book a free ticket.

Story by Amandine Viaud, Metrolinx bilingual communications coordinator.