Tom Coffin was born in Toronto on March 17, 1965, and got into police work by the time he was eighteen. He became an auxiliary member of the Alliston Police Force in 1983 and stayed until able to secure a constable's position with the Kirkland Lake Police in 1986. After five years, he made a move to be near the area he knew so well and joined the Penetanguishene Police in 1991.
Tom had always been in sportsman and athlete; while in high school he played hockey, football and wrestled. Wherever he lived after that the young police officer became involved in community sports. He was the head coach of the Penetanguishene Kings Junior C Hockey Club.
In March 1996, the Penetanguishene Police were disbanded and the OPP took over policing the area. Tom elected to stay in the same area and soon received very positive comments on his work.
On April 24, 1996, Constable Coffin was on duty when he observed a motorist he suspected to be under the influence of alcohol. Subsequently, the man was charged and found guilty of impaired driving. This man had been a former chair of the local Police Services Board and had made convincing threats that he would kill the officer for arresting and charging him.
A year later, on May 31, 1997, Tom Coffin and his friend had just finished their afternoon shift and gone for a drink at a local hotel in Penetanguishene. At about twelve-thirty a.m. they stood there talking when a man walked up through the throng of people and, without saying a word, shot Constable Coffin in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
The esteem and respect in which Tom was held was manifested in various ways. In Kirkland Lake, the OPP dedicated their Special Olympics Torch Run to his memory. In his hometown, there is a hockey cup named for him. The annual Tom Coffin Memorial Golf Tournament in aid of Big Brothers is a popular event. The Kings changed their sweater colours to reflect his suggestions and the first one was retired and raised at the arena in his memory. Children enjoy the playground dedicated to Tom Coffin and the bench with his name on it.
Tom is survived by his wife and three children.