Thomas Lynch is the man in charge of making sure everyone is safe at Durham College and he has lots of experience as a parent, as a son and as a police officer.
Lynch grew up in Markham, Ont. near Highway Seven. He attended Markham District High School with 2,000 other students. He then moved to Toronto after he was hired by the Toronto police. Lynch spent time as an undercover detective at the Toronto Police Service from 1981 to 2001. He had to wear plain clothes and pose as something he wasn’t.
Lynch went back to school at the University of Cincinnati to get a graduate degree in Justice Services. He graduated in 2010.
Lynch is the Director Of Campus Safety at both Durham College (DC) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Lynch has held that position since January of 2012.
Before he started his role as Director Of Campus Security, Lynch was a part-time professor at Durham College. He used his experience as a 30-year veteran with the Toronto Police Service to teach students at the college in Police Foundations from January 2011 to January 2012.
“I thought I had a fair bit to offer to a classroom in that I understood the theory behind policing and Justice Studies and I’d also walked in my older shoes as a police officer so I thought I could really combine those two aspects to provide a good curriculum and lesson plan to the students here at Durham College,” he said.
Outside of policing and campus safety, Lynch has done theatre performances at the Oshawa Little Theatre (OLT).
With Lynch being an undercover police officer, he felt like he was acting but in a real-life situation which meant he would pretend to be a gang member so his team could prevent a drug deal from happening. This, according to him, has allowed him to be able to be a natural actor and act in several different musicals and plays.
Lynch has been in plays such as Little Women with Kathryn Fraser, a graduate of the journalism program at Durham College, now the Social Media Coordinator at the Oshawa Little Theatre (OLT).
“His acting is so connective. He’s really able to cast into a role and engage with the character and he truly transforms,” said Fraser.
Lynch grew up in a musical family who sang Irish pub songs after they finished dinner. Lynch is also a guitar player and ‘the number one fan of the Arkells.
He jokingly admits that if the Arkells ever found out their number one fan is in his late 50s, they would most likely be disappointed.
Lynch’s childhood also played a role in his love for music. His father played the piano but not very well he would say, according to Lynch.
“I’d like to think we’re a musical family ourselves but lots of good times,” he said. He has two sons who, according to Lynch, have forced their father to put his guitar down and sing instead.
As to why Lynch put down the guitar, he says it was because he played for 30 years and his sons picked up the guitar and were able to play better than him in three weeks.
Lynch lost his father a few years ago. His father used to say, ‘I’m your father, not your friend.” When he buried his father he said, “I showed you in the end because we were the best of friends.”
Lynch has been keeping people safe on campus, as a police officer, and as a parent.
He feels policing helped prepare him for those roles.
“Policing prepared me to come here because I knew that I wasn’t going to be called for birthday parties. I was going to be called for people that were looking for our help.”
According to Lynch, being a police officers means you are only called for when something goes amiss. He feels being on campus reassured him he will only be helping when someone is in need of help. Not just when something has gone wrong.
Lynch has learned throughout his career everyone has a role to play, including, defense lawyers, protestors, and police officers.
“I think when I look back we can’t take a lot of things in life too seriously or personally. We really have to understand that everybody out there is out there for a reason and has a role. And the sooner you know and respect that, the better you’ll be off when it comes to having professional relationships.”