Toronto police held a recruiting session in the city’s gay village Saturday afternoon in an effort to diversify its ranks.

According to the Canadian Press, the city’s police service has made efforts to diversify by recruiting officers who reflect the variety of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds found across the city.

Constable Gail Steed of the police employment unit told CP that the information sessions for the gay community are a natural extension of that outreach.

“Our service wants to reflect our diverse communities in the city,” she said.

“We don’t ask anybody to tell us their sexual preference, we just strive to get an accurate representation of the city.”

Mike Schneider, 23, who arrived early for the closed session, told the Toronto Star that he heard about a few recruiting events being held at a community centre in recent weeks, but this was the first one he had attended himself.

“I think it’s great the police are coming to the gay community for these sessions,” said Schneider.

“This is very encouraging, and it shows the police support and welcome us.

“This is good way to reach some people in the community who may be afraid of coming out.”

But according to CP, others attending the session said they were concerned their sexuality would be more valued than their qualifications.

“I wanted to see if they was any difference applying as a heterosexual or applying as a gay person,” Chris, 30, from Aurora, told CP.

“Hopefully they aren’t using it as leverage.

“If I am going to get in, I want to get in because of my own ability and not because of my sexuality,” said Chris, who didn’t want to use her last name.

Staff Sargeant Don Cole of the Toronto police told the Star that he thinks the information sessions targeting specific communities are “ridiculous.”

“Anybody is free to join,” said Cole.

“We should be looking for the best people, not people who fit the quotas and are substandard. I don’t see where we are going with this.”

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